Hyperion is committed to bringing the highest quality agrivoltaic systems to farmers in order to diversify their operation and assist them in becoming a more resilient organization. Hyperion believes in the concept of food first and energy second, which is to say, the land below the arrays must remain in production.
Hyperion founder, J. David Marley, began developing solar projects in 2008 after he installed an 88 kW rooftop solar array at his construction company’s new headquarters in Amherst, MA. Dave’s quest for answers as to how he could generate more power than his rooftop system led him to look downward, off the roof, for more square footage. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Dave knew that there was no scrub or unused land in New England as is the case in other parts of the United States. Any large scale solar production in the northeast would have to either take the land out of production, which can be very expensive or, better yet, co-exist with productive land.
So in 2009 Dave began working with experts at University of Massachusetts Amherst to conduct research and test the theory that solar arrays can be installed over farmland while allowing the crops below to grow unaffected. Once this theory was proven, the next big hurdle was to devise a system that allowed construction without disrupting fertile land. Tradition holds that structures are anchored in the earth using concrete. Put very simply, concrete and farm land don’t mix well. Dave had to devise a system that anchored the load without concrete. The system also had to account for farmers occasionally changing or rotating crops, and it had to be inexpensive to install and maintain. Dave and his team set out to engineer and test such a design.
Hyperion’s system strikes a perfect balance of all these factors and allows for the dual use of land.This first installation was at the University of Massachusetts Crop Animal Research and Education Center in South Deerfield, MA in 2010. The system has generated significant interest from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Hyperion is currently managed by Dave's son, Jake. During his upbringing, Jake spent each school break working for the family's general contracting company, Diversified Construction Services. He has been a part of installing dual-use systems since Hyperion's experimental pilot project in the summer 2010. Jake has been involved in project develop, management, and implementation all his life. Jake holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Bryant University with a concentration in Finance and minors in Environmental Studies and Spanish.
Dr. Michael Lehan is the Principal Investigator for Hyperion’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) past and current projects examining co-location of solar energy on farmland in MA. Michael has worked with Hyperion since the company’s foundation and, in addition to his NREL tasks, he has written grants, assisted with developing projects, marketing materials and government relations. Michael also teaches strategic planning and financial analysis in the graduate programs at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Michael has extensive experience in both public and private sector entities. Michael is a principal in the Berkshire Management Group and holds a B.A. from the University of Norte Dame, an M.P.A. in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and a Ed.D. in Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.