Mike Sadler, a Laguna native who grew up surfing the Thalia reef, recalls one of the only unpleasantries of spending so much time outdoors as a kid: the pollution.
"I often got smog so deeply imbedded in my lungs, that I had to lie down because it burned so badly," he said. "I don't want that for my children."
Still a resident, and the father of three, Sadler has grown increasingly interested in "green" living and reducing the use of fossil fuels, which he believes will benefit future generations.
As part of that interest, he recently teamed with his brother-in-law, Quentin Keith, who established the seventh franchise of Lighthouse Solar, a Boulder, Colo.-based company that provides solar electric and thermal solutions for residential and commercial customers, such as water and space heating, cooling and industrial process heat.
"Our mission is to facilitate the use of clean, free and renewable solar energy," Sadler said. "We specialize in architecturally sensitive design which is imperative for Laguna Beach and the other coastal communities that rely heavily on their view orientations and design aesthetics.
"We feel the area was underserved and we wanted to bring a level of education in understanding of solar and renewable energy."
Sadler is now making it his priority — and job — to educate the community about the benefits of solar energy.
In the U.S., emissions from electricity generation are the largest contributor to global warming, and are also toxic to health and the environment, he said. By converting energy from the sun, these emissions are eliminated entirely, and relying on a source that is infinitely available allows homeowners to be "energy independent."
Based in Laguna, his team offers energy consultation, design, installation and financing.
Using Lightgage software, they can monitor the solar arrays in production as well as energy demand for the individual property.
"This helps people understand in real time wheat is going on in their world and enables them to curtail some possible energy waste," he said.
The solar technologies used are photovoltaics, or the various concentrating thermal technologies — solar troughs, solar dishes and engines, and solar power towers — which convert the sun's rays into usable energy within the home or business.
"We are committed to long-term growth in the solar and renewable energy sector," Sadler said. "Since we design and build systems to withstand the test of time for decades, we view and treat our customers as long term partners in our company's future and our region's energy future."
Lighthouse Solar was founded in 2005 by Scott Franklin, a professional rock climber who was drawn to the industry from his intense passion for the environment.
He has built a team of committed solar energy professionals to expand the "Lighthouse" way of solar energy installation to the country.
For more information, visit http://www.lighthousesolar.com.