Solar Technology, Inc., also known as SolarTech, manufactures solar-powered traffic control equipment for road construction and maintenance sites. After close to 30 years, this company is still pointing the world’s drivers in the right direction with ever-evolving technology.
Byron & Diane Zerphy established the company in 1991. The original idea that would become the backbone of SolarTech was sparked in 1990 when Byron’s electrical engineering expertise and his passion for computer science combined in the realization that he could bring an end to the days of old-fashioned traffic arrow boards. These warning systems were driven by internal combustion engines that glugged fossil fuel and were more trouble to run than was necessary. His idea: build the world’s first entirely solar-driven arrow boards – boards which are not only cheaper and easier to run, but also environmentally friendly.
SolarTech’s wide range of products was developed at its in-house manufacturing, research, and development facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
To ensure that it stays ahead of customer expectations, the company is committed to ongoing development and advancement of its product lines, and the level of manufacturing that sets it apart. It fabricates everything from traffic safety equipment, including radar speed signs, vehicle-mounted arrow boards, and speed limit trailers, to software packages based on the National Transportation Communications for Intelligent Transportation System Protocol (NTCIP). SolarTech also created its proprietary Smart Zone software, a work zone product for use in intelligent transportation systems (ITS).
Smart Zone provides project managers with real-time information on traffic conditions in and around construction zones. This real-time information can then be used to redirect traffic, inform motorists of road conditions, and improve access to and around construction zones. The technology also allows for detailed record keeping, tracking the time and date of message displays, and is user-programmable.
One of SolarTech’s biggest claims to fame is being the country’s oldest fabricator of portable, solar-powered flashing arrow panels. Apart from holding five patents in the United States for design enhancements, SolarTech was also the first manufacturer of its kind to back up the quality of its boards, signs, and towers with a five-year warranty.
The company made another huge industry breakthrough when it engineered remote access to its digital road signs. The remote technology means arrow patterns can be changed, and the battery status can be followed via a smartphone. These systems come with built-in modems, a global positioning system (GPS), and free cellular service as a standard. Another standard feature is battery theft protection, introduced in July 2016. Through this tracking innovation, users can trace the location of boards with the help of microchips running GPS, as well as relocation notifications that are sent via email.
The company also developed an asset tracker, aptly named SolarTrak. This rental and construction fleet management tool uses GPS technology to keep tabs on the location of equipment in the field. It offers geofencing, reports on engine hours, and will send alerts to fleet managers regarding battery voltage, power interruption and asset movement, as well as maintenance reminders. With Solar Trak, companies can track, locate, and maintain their fleets from their smartphone or PC.
All of SolarTech’s products demonstrate reliability and quality, and the company is no stranger to receiving notes of thanks from happy clients reporting much-improved business operations after investing in its devices. While this level of reliability has been a part of the company from the very start, SolarTech continues to ensure that its services and products are both relevant and of an internationally high standard.
To further cement this commitment, SolarTech is certified with the International Standards Organization as an ISO 9001:2015 fabricator of high-tech equipment, a certification that is renewed every three years. SolarTech also holds several domestic, European, and Canadian certifications.
Innovation is not the only thing that stands out about this firm. It is also known for its friendly, hardworking employees. “The culture of the company leads to employee retention, longevity, and satisfaction,” says John Hayes, Vice President of Sales.
Thanks to the company culture, staff members display a high level of satisfaction, and most prefer to stay with the company for as long as they can. This atmosphere also extends to the company’s support of many good causes and organizations that take care of those in its community who are socially and economically vulnerable. Eric Zerphy, Chief Executive Officer, also offers mentorship for several up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are new to the world of business.
As the need for infrastructure upgrades to bridges, roads and highways increases across the United States and further afield, so will the need for more sophisticated traffic control and road construction management. And SolarTech is at the ready with technological solutions that meet market demands head-on.
“Our goal is to have the absolute best products on the market… and the happiest customers,” said Eric Zerphy in a message on the company’s website.