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Duke Solar begins New Venture

by Christina Dyrness, Staff Writer
News Observer, March 18, 2003

Project to involve water purification

RALEIGH -- Duke Solar will collaborate with a Japanese company to produce and sell water purification systems that use solar technology.

It's the latest project in the works by Duke Solar, which cut ties with its former half-owner last year. Launched in 1998 as a joint venture by Solar Roof International of Sanford and the Duke Engineering & Services division of Duke Power, Duke Solar's investors bought out the Duke side of the equation after Duke sold its engineering division to Framatome ANP, a French company, last year.

Duke Solar, now fully owned by Solar Roof, develops technology and products to convert the sun's light into thermal heat, which is used for water purification, space heating, electricity, air conditioning, hot water and other applications.

With TopEcology, based in Kyoto, Japan, Duke Solar will develop water purification systems to be used in home or commercial settings. The systems could, for example, treat ocean water and make it suitable for drinking.

"Water reclamation is a big issue for us," said Gilbert Cohen, vice president of engineering and operations at Raleigh-based Duke Solar. "We're trying to work on saving the earth."

Cohen said water purification is one of several projects in the works at Duke Solar. The 25-employee company, which manufactures solar collectors at a plant in Chicago, will start also work later this year on a solar power plant in Nevada, and it has several building contracts to apply solar technology to commercial developments.

Jeffrey Myles, Duke Solar's legal counsel, said the investors behind Solar Roof International bought back the other half of Duke Solar last year for an undisclosed amount. Those investors continue to put money into the company as needed. Myles is the brother of Duke Solar's chief executive John F. Myles

Cohen said Duke Solar plans to change its name to reflect the break in its ties with Duke Power. "We have a big list of names we have to choose from."

Christina Dyrness, Staff Writer
Duke Solar begins New Venture
News Observer, March 18, 2003

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