“I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and--I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.” Lorraine Hansberry, To Be Young, Gifted and Black
Another member of the Hansberry clan, Carl Hansberry, has taken the hope for generational well-being in a different direction. While Lorraine Hansberry, Carl’s aunt in her 1950 work, “A Raisin in the Sun” dealt with an African American family’s struggle to own a piece of the white American dream, a home in a community of their choosing, Carl Hansberry is working to combat some of the issues created by years of suburban sprawl partially generated by white flight to the suburbs as black families moved into previously restricted communities. Carl Hansberry is the founder of Off Grid Technologies (OGT). His company figures out how to save clients’ money on their electricity bills. It may start by changing out light bulbs and move to designing hybrid renewable energy systems (mostly wind and solar).
I interviewed Carl Hansberry at the Solar International Convention held at McCormick Place. It was our first meeting in spite of several telephone conversations about his six year business in energy reduction and renewable energy technology. Carl describes an interview with him as a “trip down the rabbit hole”. He wasn’t kidding. His knowledge of alternative energy systems and his ideas on how to maximize efficiency by combining technologies is mind boggling. He even has a finger on the pulse of technologies that are in the pre-patent and patent pending process. I asked how he got started in the energy business.
Carl explained that during his five years as a FEMA contractor he had seen firsthand the impact human behavior was having on climate. He related a story about a roofing job in Florida in the aftermath of hurricane Charley. Electricity to dozens of high end homes was out. One home had electricity from solar panels. Neighbors were lining up to plug in their refrigerators in attempts to keep food. That and many other incidences made climate change a reality for Carl and planted the seed for the birth of Off Grid Technologies.
Carl Hansberry has a lot of know how and a passion for protecting the earth. This month Off Grid Technologies is involved in the Mission Main Street grant program through Chase Bank. The project is designed to help small businesses of less than 100 employees to vie for $250,000. I asked Carl what his company would do with the grant. He didn’t hesitate. There is a cutting edge product that can produce heating and cooling using solar. He wants to apply the funds to securing the patent and from there find funds for beta testing. It’s all part of a plan he has been working through these years to put renewable energy in reach for low and moderate income families. “Even for families that can’t afford our equipment,” he explains, “we can install the renewable energy systems and provide the family with free electricity.”
"There are geniuses running around out there, and America can get off this dependence on fossil fuels sooner than we think," said Hansberry. "This is our home - the whole planet is our home."
To help OFF GRID TECHNOLOGIES vote for them before November 11th at Mission Main Street Grants. Click “vote” Type in Off Grid Technologies.
Thanks for helping the generations to follow.