Our Roots

Hyperion founder, Dave Marley, began developing solar projects in 2008 after he installed an 88 kW rooftop solar array at his construction company’s 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.

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 clear-cut forest, take productive farmland out of production or, better yet, co-exist within that arable land.

Agrivoltaics Peppers Broccoli InSPIRE3

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 crops below to grow. To prove this theory, Dave and the team had to devise a system that allowed solar construction without disrupting fertile land. At the time, traditional solar construction practices required extensive grading and removal of soils for concrete foundations.

Put very simply, concrete and farmland don’t mix well. Dave had to devise a system that anchored the racking for its wind and snow loads without using concrete to do so. The system also had to account for farmers occasionally changing or rotating crops, and it had to be financially comparable to traditional installation methods. Dave and his team set out to engineer and test such a design.

Hyperion’s original system struck a balance of all these factors and allowed for true dual use of the 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.