This was Phoenix Energy Products' Showroom in 1979 when times were simpler. Bonnie, the founder of Phoenix Energy Products (dba PEP Solar) was very innovative by bringing the PEP Showroom to the people of the Navajo Nation.
In 1981, Senator Barry Goldwater (an advocate for the Indian Nations) approached Phoenix Energy Products to meet with the chairman of the Navajos seeking solutions to their community dying due to asphyxiation from burning kerosene lamps inside their hogans. So, PEP began its journey and sought out a translator as a liaison to help study their daily lives. PEP by observing the daily activities of the Navajo chapter people, identified women making their rugs and kids studying using the kerosene lamps. The women and children would stay up late sometimes falling asleep but some would die from exposure to carbon monoxide from their lamps. PEP created a movie to take to Washington, and with Senator Barry Goldwater's assistance $5 Million ($55 million today) was appropriated from the Navajo Code Talker fund to help install remote solar electric off-grid systems, comprehensive solar education.
PEP then through a friend of ours, met with Shell Oil who owned Solavolt (a division purchased by Solar World in 2003). One of our family members who worked at Motorola introduced us to Motorola managers then co-produced solar electric modules under OEM for Phoenix Energy Products. Motorola Solar and Solavolt created solar panels for PEP in 1980 which they were installed on the Navajo Nation. The selected Navajo families were provided with solar lighting, small tv's, refrigerators for medication, water pumping systems, and battery systems. By 1982, PEP Solar had installed over 191 solar electric PV systems.
PEP also built energy efficient expanded styrene Hogan homes and trained the Navajos how to build them in 1982. At the time Phoenix Energy Products was the largest residential solar electric installer company in the United States. As Bonnie the founder and owner of the company would walk up to the women and children they knew they had been selected to a receive solar electric system. They touch her shoulder calling her "Shudeen...Light Giver". It never got old to Bonnie as she gave to her community.
PEP's Founder Bonnie Installing Solar in 1981
The photo left is our install crew loading up the panels for the next home on the Navajo reservation. Great care was taken as individual modules at the time were 3 times more than the average person made a month. Yep, that's Bonnie making sure the work is being completed on time.
On the left just below, it's the solar panels Motorola made for PEP. The Motorola modules were 40 watts each model MSP43A40 and as you can see $21 a dc watt wholesale not including the install!