GreenLife Technologies Ideas Follow The Sun
By CASEY MURPHY
Dale Beggs has been interested in solar energy for decades and recalls writing a paper about it in high school.
Now after two lengthy careers in engineering and home building, he has switched gears, installing solar power to homes and businesses with his company GreenLife Technologies, Inc., in Lindale.
Beggs, 49, was born in Tyler, attended high school in Hawkins and graduated from Texas A&M University. In 1981, he began his career as an engineer, working for several companies in the aerospace, oil field and consulting industries. About 20 years ago, he started a residential construction business, building houses in Tyler.
But throughout his careers, Beggs continued to watch for solar energy and when would be a good time to invest in it, he said.
About four years ago, a 30 percent tax credit given to those who get solar energy started making it affordable, he said. Since then, the price of installing the green technology has been reduced by about half, he added.
In 2008, he started GreenLife Technologies, which designs, engineers, installs and services solar energy systems.
There are three basic types of solar energy systems for homes and businesses -- grid-tie systems, grid-tie with backup systems, and off-grid systems. All of these use Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels, which are typically installed on the south facing roof of a house or office building and produce electricity when the sun is available, according to Begg's website www.greenlifetechinc.com
. During sunny periods, excess energy is generated by the panels and passes through the electric meter and to the electrical grid. In most cases, consumers get full or partial credit for the excess electricity on their electric bill. When the sun is not shining, electricity from the electric utility grid is used as it would without a solar system.
Beggs installs solar for residential and businesses -- from large off-grid and battery operated solar projects in the deserts of West Texas to a small residential project to operate a refrigerator while someone is on vacation, he said.
On Tuesday, Beggs installed a solar energy system in Richardson at a research facility for Chint Power Systems America, which Beggs said is like the General Electric of China. He's also installed systems for small businesses, such as Village Cleaners in Lindale, and at Alba City Hall after the city receiving grant funding, he said
He has also done a lot of residential jobs around Tyler and throughout Texas -- from Texarkana to Terlingua, and services customers in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Beggs said a lot of his business is made up of installing off-grid systems in places such as Terelingua and other desert areas that otherwise would not have access to electricity. He said people who need electricity are the biggest part of GreenLife Technologies' customer base.
The solar energy business is "slow and steady," but he sees it as a growing industry.
GreenLife Technologies has three full-time employees and Beggs continues to use subcontractors, such as electricians, he knows from his 20 years in construction.
Beggs still builds houses periodically but, he said, his focus is on solar energy.
He said he didn't mind changing careers.
"I think especially if you're in the construction-type business, you have to adapt," Beggs said.
With the downed economy and a few bad years in construction, he saw it as an opportunity to learn more about solar and get into something he had always been interested in. "It has a lot more business going on than construction," he said.
GreenLife Technologies is certified by the National Association of Board Certified Energy Practitioners and Beggs said he receives continuing education to hold the certification. He believes there are not too many businesses in the area that are certified.
GreenLife Technologies could one day become a family business. Beggs and his wife Letetia have three sons. One is studying engineering in college while the other two are attending high school in Lindale. He said the boys help him out some with the business.
Beggs said the family sometimes takes vacation while installing off-grid solar energy systems in deserts. Last Christmas, he took the crew near the Texas/Mexico border to install a system and spent the rest of the time touring around in the desert with his family.
"We had fun," he said.