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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Energy Firm Launches Do-it-Yourself Solar Structure

Envision Solar International Inc. launched a do-it-yourself photovoltaic solar structure, the San Diego-based company announced Feb. 20.

The 10-foot-by-12-foot LifePod will be available for homeowners and small-business owners at a cost of $13,000 apiece.

Incentives drop the price by about $4,000 and estimated monthly savings using the product are listed at $40 to $50, according to Mark Colby, president of Envision’s life systems group.

The LifePod is a smaller version of the company’s flagship product, LifePort, which was introduced in December. The 23-foot-by-23-foot LifePort is about the size of a two-car garage and costs $53,000 , incentives can bring the price down by $12,000 and there is an average monthly savings of $175, Colby said.

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(The LifePod does not require a structural building permit that is necessary with the LifePort.)

The LifePod can provide up to 25 percent of the energy needed for a home in San Diego County and can be disguised as a pool house, storage facility, cabana or outside office, according to Colby.

Assembly takes about four hours and each piece weighs 75 pounds. The process is somewhat lengthy with the team at Envision conducting a feasibility study to ensure that solar panels will be a benefit before installation. The fee for the study is then transferred to the structure’s deposit.

Envision was founded in 2006 and has 12 full-time employees. Although the private company does not disclose financial information, Colby said it expects to be profitable within the next year and a half.

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Poway Firm Wins Contract To Convert MTS Fleet:

A Poway-based company secured its first local contract and will provide gasoline-hybrid drive systems to a fleet of buses for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

ISE Corp., which supplies hybrid systems for heavy-duty vehicles such as buses, trucks, trams and military vehicles, made the announcement in late January.

It will provide New Flyer Industries Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses, with 12 drive systems by the third quarter of this year.

The financial terms of the deal between ISE and New Flyer Industries were not disclosed, according to Gary Willms, vice president of business development at ISE.

New Flyer Industries, which has been contracted by MTS, plans to allocate 350 40-foot buses during a five-year span under the terms of the contract.

MTS manages the city’s light rail, bus and freight systems for the 86 million passengers it serves each year.

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Miami Vehicles Clean Up With Locally Produced Fuel Additive:

Another San Diego company announced a transportation contract with the city of North Miami to provide all city vehicles with Ethos Environmental Inc.’s fuel reformulating products.

Ethos Environmental manufactures a product called Ethos FR that is added to fuel to help make it burn more efficiently. It can increase fuel mileage by 12 percent, reduce emissions by 30 percent and keep maintenance costs lower, according to the company Web site.

North Miami’s vehicles use 300,000 gallons of fuel each year. Using Ethos FR, the company estimates that the city can reduce emissions by 500 tons each year.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The announcement was made Feb. 14. Ethos has 25 employees and reported $10 million in revenue for 2007.

Send energy news to Jaimy Lee at



Editor’s Note: The previous version of this story gave inaccurate dimensions and inaccurate power production statistics for the Envision LifePod solar structure. This version has been corrected. The Business Journal regrets the errors.


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