By John Lynch – Dec. 26, 2022
In 1975, Cal Poly graduate Mike Emrich founded a green energy company in San Luis Obispo County after the 1973 oil embargo began to strain the energy industry. That company became Solarponics, which, according to its website, was one of the first to begin installing solar power systems in SLO County.
Some 47 years later, Kristian Emrich — Mike’s son and current president of the company — oversaw the installation of Solarponics’ 20,000th solar power system in the county. TOP ARTICLES Emrich said the milestone is a “validation” of his father’s vision for sustainable energy on the Central Coast, which started with the installation of solar water heaters, some of which are still in use today. “(Solarponics has existed) a lot longer than I think (Mike) ever anticipated, and maybe it’s even exceeded his expectations in some ways,” Emrich said. “I think he’s sitting there in retirement, enjoying the direction that the world’s going at this time.”