While economy and jobs were the main focus of Barack Obama's second State of the Union address, the President did not forgo the chance to make a special mention of one of his favorite sectors of green energy. Sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama were two American entrepreneurs, who besides receiving an invite also had to honor of getting a special mention in the President's annual speech for using a defunct factory and a government grant to manufacture solar shingles.
Dubbing it our generation's Sputnik moment, Obama stressed on the need for research and development in clean energy sphere to a level that the United States has not seen since the height of the Space Race.
The President then put the spotlight on Gary and Robert Allen, the CEO and the president of Luma Resources in Rochester Hills.
Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.
Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, We reinvented ourselves, the President remarked in a bid to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers. [Read Full Text of Obama's Speech]
The mention of the entrepreneurs has not only put the green energy focus of the President back in the news but has also raised curiosity on solar shingles.
Solar Shingles are solar cells and are also referred to photovoltaic shingles. They are designed to look like convention asphalt shingles.
Solar Shingles were first made available in 2005. In 2009, this solar energy apparatus gained media attention when the Dow Chemical Company estimated that their entry into the solar shingle market would generate $5 billion in revenue by 2015 and $10 billion by 2020.
Solar Shingles are hailed as a better option among the other clean energy alternatives as they are cheaper than solar panels and are easier to install.
Luma Resources highlights this factor on its website stating, A beautiful roof, a simple solution! Solar just got easier.
The Allen Brothers were on the guest list for the First Lady's Box at the State of the Union Address. A brief about Gary and Robert in the statement from the Office of the Press Secretary, the White House reads, With the help of $500,000 from the Recovery Act, the Allen brothers were able to retool half of their manufacturing facility in order to manufacture solar shingles and launch a whole new business, Luma Resources.