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From Rickshaws To A VW Bus, Ashland Inventor Taps Solar Power

Jamie Lusch/Medford Mail Tribune
Brett Belan says he can get around a 50-mile average on one charge from his converted solar power VW van.

A rickshaw motoring down a busy, bumpy street in Mumbai and an old VW van taking the hairpin turns around the Oregon Coast have something in common — an Ashland inventor.

Brett Belan is giving a new life to both rickshaw and van, cellphone and house lights through his discovery of improved components to outfit them with renewable energy.

“We’re making the components more efficient. After four years in a place we call ‘the dungeon’ under the Red Zone, we have six products we’re manufacturing now,” says Belan, looking part surfer, part off-grid wizard in his small space with five engineers creating new ways to bring solar power components to mostly Third World countries who need off-grid possibilities.

“We’re making a bigger difference in the world this way. We’re offering longer battery life for phones and lights to countries where people need this,” he says.

Read more at The Medford Mail Tribune.