In 1969, there were no successful solar businesses, and FAFCO® founders Freeman A. Ford and Richard O. Rhodes sought to change that. The standard they set back then remains the same today: any new FAFCO® product must be practical, efficient, and above all, make economic sense.
In the beginning, the few existing solar water heating system used heavy, expensive “copper glass” collectors. FAFCO®’s first breakthrough was developing a proprietary copolymer blend material that was inexpensive, easy to install, and could withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight, heat and pressure. The second breakthrough was the collector panel design, featuring many small, closely spaced tubes that efficiently transferred thermal energy into water. Within a matter of years, FAFCO® was the largest purveyor of solar pool heating systems in the United States.
FAFCO®, a leading Solar Manufacturing Company located in Chico, California, spent over ten years with help from the US Navy and the National Renewable Energy Lab developing a new hybrid solar system that can generate electricity and heat water using the same solar panel.