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The Many Faces of Norwich Technologies:

Norwich EV

Norwich EV charger installation at Orvis in Manchester, Vermont through the Green Mountain Power Workplace Charger Program. (Courtesy photo).

George Harvey

When Norwich Solar Technologies was founded, in 2011, it was already unique. The country is full of great solar designers and installers, people and companies that are truly impressive, but this company’s leadership always wanted to do more. Its founders, Dr. Troy McBride and Dr. Joel Stettenheim, were ready to do some serious research and development (R&D). The goals were not just installing new systems, but building new types of systems.

Not long ago, in an interview, the co-founders expressed their thoughts about this. Chief Technology Officer Troy McBride said, “Our mission is still to rapidly develop promising clean technology solutions, that was us and it still is who we are today.” Joel Stettenheim, the company’s President, added “From the beginning it’s really been about solving these problems but it’s also, on the flip side, about finding opportunities. The problems are opportunities in many cases, and throughout our years in business our work in R&D has definitely been at the center.”

It should be no surprise that Norwich Solar Technologies has been awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. Its leadership members have also been awarded numerous patents for their inventions in the field. Clearly, while it is a solar company, at its core, it is a technology company. It is about innovation as much as about solar energy.

As the company grew, different missions emerged that took on special focus. The core business, now called Norwich Technologies (NT), is still the parent, and it still puts energy into original R&D but there are three other divisions in the company.

The first of these is Norwich Solar (NS). This is the same company we have known all these years, though now it is officially a division of Norwich Technologies. It designs and installs solar systems for schools, municipalities, businesses, farms, affordable housing providers, community solar projects, and nonprofits throughout the Northeast. NS has all the experience and resources to develop, finance, and install the systems its customers need. (We might mention that NS does not do residential installations.) The NS website is norwichsolar.com.

The second division of NT is Norwich EV (NEV). This division came into existence because company leaders could see that the age of the electric vehicle (EV) is coming. There are many reasons for this, ranging from concerns about climate change to low cost and excellent safety of the vehicles.

One thing that could hold EVs back, however, is a lack of sites to charge them. While many EVs are charged using relatively low power systems at people’s homes, there is no denying that people want to be able to know that they can go to the limit of their range, charge the car, and return. To do that, charging stations have to be commonly available.

Here is a problem – there were not enough EV chargers around. And in this case, the problem offered an opportunity, just as Dr. Stettenheim suggested it might. The opportunity was to get EV chargers set up in places where they would be needed.

There are a lot of reasons to put chargers in specific places. Drivers of EVs really appreciate the businesses that make chargers available. According to Clean Technology Project Manager Berrett Walter, “NEV’s mission is to thoughtfully develop EV charging destinations in downtown locations that benefit both EV drivers and the host communities. By developing a strategic network of public charging stations, we hope to reduce range anxiety and encourage EV adoption!” There is a very big incentive for businesses to have them, and a very big opportunity.

Norwich offers more than just well-placed chargers. The quality of the chargers is important. Emerging Markets Engineer Jack Greene said, “NEV is bringing fast and convenient charging to New England to make EV ownership an easy choice.”

NEV has even more than that to offer, however. Some businesses have fleets of vehicles. Fleets of EVs will need chargers on a large scale, and that will require significant thought and design. For that reason, Norwich EV has put an emphasis on installations for fleets.

Just as other NT divisions, NEV has also dedicated some attention to project financing. The company’s experience makes it possible for NEV to offer tailored solutions. We might finally add that car ports and parking lot solar are perfect places to offer EV chargers. And Norwich knows how to do that, too.

The NEV website is norwichev.com.

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