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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.

In 1998, After witnessing FAFCO’s success in solar pool heating, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory approached FAFCO with an exciting challenge: to jointly develop the world’s first lightweight, affordable solar heating system for household water. FAFCO accepted the challenge, and in 2007, introduced a solar hot water system capable of reducing water heating bills by up to 50%—even more in some applications.

In a history spanning over four decades, FAFCO has earned nearly 30 U.S. patents. FAFCO’s achievements in solar technology have been widely recognized with a variety of industry awards and even a feature in Newsweek magazine’s “History of Solar” in 2008. Today, FAFCO remains confident that with time and technology, it will achieve its ultimate goal of putting solar energy within reach of every household.