ASHLAND, Ore. — Ten years ago, Brett Belan constructed a golf cart for his family to use. However, he wanted to make the cart eco-friendly, so he made it completely solar powered.
From a young age Belan was always fascinated with solar technology. Originally from California, he moved to Ashland six years ago to work for a company where he went on to invent a new kind of electric motor and a new way of converting power. However, Brett’s passion for working with solar was something that was getting harder to ignore.
He eventually parted ways with his old company and started Solarrolla, a shop where he works on everything from solar powered vehicles to lawnmowers. “Solarrolla was kind of always with me, solar electric vehicles were something that I always did on my own so that’s kind of how it happened and eventually it just became strong enough inside me to really realize I needed to start this company,” says Belan.
His shop is located near the heart of Ashland on Main street. As you drive by you’ll see Belan’s blue Volkswagen bus with a giant solar panel on the top and other solar powered toys powering up by soaking up the sunshine.
Community members often stop in to ask about his work and want to see what he’s working on. “Not everyone understands how viable solar vehicles are, but the Ashland community is very supportive of me,” says Belan.
Along with solar powered vehicles, Belan and his team are now working on solar powered cell phone chargers and scooters. He believes these items are perfect to share with the people in his community, and are much more affordable for those who are curious about solar technology.
Belan would eventually like to educate others about solar technology by going around to local schools and even offering seminars, but the dream doesn’t stop there. He hopes to one day to help bring his inventions and knowledge to third world countries.