Founded in 2003 as Seahorse Power Company, the Newton MA-based company’s original mission was to reduce fossil fuel consumption through innovative new approaches to old problems. Today, BigBelly Solar provides sustainable waste collection solutions in the U.S. and 30 other countries. The company targets benefits to customers in two key areas – cost efficient waste collection services as well as the development of more environmentally sustainable practices.
With a slogan of “Eliminating the Waste in Waste Collection,” BigBelly creates cost efficiencies by eliminating wasted effort in the collection process. For example, solar powered on site trash compaction dramatically reduces required pickups. Wireless monitoring of the fullness and collection status of trash bins allows for better planning, route optimization and asset management. This allows collection providers to deliver comparable service levels at a much lower cost.
Now with 10,000 units deployed worldwide, and counting, BigBelly Solar is making a significant contribution to reducing unneeded consumption of fossil fuels, and in the process saving its customers hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel annually, translating into millions of dollars in annual budget savings that can be redirected to other priorities.
How Big Belly Solar Began
In the company’s infancy, founder Jim Poss pursued new approaches to geothermal power plants and offshore wind energy—thereby explaining the original company name (horsepower from the sea). Then while observing a trash vehicle in action on day in Boston, Poss was caught be the inefficiencies of the operation, including idling at the pickup pint, blocking traffic, and smoke billowing out of the exhaust pipe. He believed that there had to be a better approach.In the course of his research, Poss discovered that garbage trucks consume over 1 billion gallons of diesel each year in the U.S. Averaging only 2.8 mpg, they are among the most expensive vehicles to operate. Drawing upon his experience in electric vehicle engineering and enthusiasm for environmental solutions, Poss formed a new company which was to develop the world’s first solar-powered compactor.
With several generations of product development now behind it, the solar compactor has been engineered to be extremely energy efficient and reliable, even in harsh environmental climates and latitudes. Customer reaction to the BigBelly solar compactor was so positive that the company changed its name to BigBelly Solar. It repositioned the company around the business proposition that saving fuel is environmentally and fiscally sound. Customers include such major U.S. cities as Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver and Boston. In the first year after purchasing 500 units in 2005, Philadelphia reportedly saved $900,000 according to BigBelly Solar
The Big Belly System Maintains Service Levels While Providing Cost Reductions
Big Belly Solar says that its system bridges the challenge of maintaining high service levels while simultaneously reducing cost. The system consists of: