Small Business Spotlight: Soltech Solutions
Operating out of Bethlehem, Pa., Soltech Solutions develops green, energy efficient products that can enhance daily life. From planting newbies to green thumbs, Soltech’s Aspect LED grow light can turn anyone into a garden guru, providing plants with the required light to grow inside a home. A passionate team of three entrepreneurs’ designs and manufactures Soltech’s product lines with the mission of helping people live healthier and happier while adding comfort to homes and offices everywhere. For this spotlight, we spoke with Soltech co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Hodges.
What does your business specialize in and who are your clients?
In November 2016, we launched a Kickstarter campaign for the world’s first LED grow light made for interior design: the Aspect. We realized that there was an interest in a product that could grow plants indoors while being aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective. Our elegant design is what makes our product unique, offering museum-quality light, interchangeable lampshades, and 15 different cord colors to match with any interior design.
The Aspect blends in with décor and creates a showpiece — all while outshining its competitors. Our unique low wattage LED design saves money on electric costs and provides enough light to promote healthy plant growth. Not to mention our LEDs are built to last 100,000 hours, or 17 years.
Soltech’s consumers are typical homeowners looking to liven up their space, as well as eco-friendly city dwellers who want to grow a wide variety of unique plants throughout their apartment.
What does your company do differently that sets it apart?
As a startup, we’re constantly innovating to provide solutions that meet our customers’ needs. Currently, we are looking for ways to seamlessly and tastefully display the wire of the light to tie it into the décor, including new styles like lamps.
Our hybrid grow light/gallery LED provides a warm white light capable of sustaining green plant growth, offering a spectrum of specific wavelengths plants need to stay healthy. The height of the light can be adjusted to change the intensity and coverage area. With our unique light and design, homeowners looking to add life into their houses can grow everything from beans and eggplants to pineapple, coffee, and avocados.
Why are you proud to be a Pennsylvania small business owner?
When we looked for places to operate, we considered green cities like New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. During our research, we found a CNN Money article ranking Bethlehem, Pa., one of the 100 best places to live and launch a company, and we were surprised by the city’s affordability, central location to large metro areas, and the opportunity available through the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ).
After selecting Bethlehem as our home, we received a $15,000 grant from the Keystone Innovation Zone, allowing us to instantly purchase equipment and speed up our operations while the demand and interest around the Aspect was growing. We’ve also formed strong partnerships with local colleges and universities, working with local students from Moravian College’s MBA program and Lehigh University’s Technical Entrepreneurship program to develop our products and customer acquisition strategies.
I find living and working in the same community has really helped to enhance both my business and social experiences.
You know your neighbors, you know the business leaders, and the community is very accepting and will work to refer you. Its great referrals from great people — all of whom want nothing more than to serve their community of Bethlehem, making it a great place to both work and call home.
It’s a true sense of community, and at the rate we are growing, there’s no reason to leave.
The Small Business Spotlight is a monthly series posted on the second Saturday of the month which highlights businesses and their owners who are positively impacting their local community.
Paul Hodges is the co-founder of Soltech Solutions and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Temple University, where he focused on economic and societal analysis. He also co-founded the nonprofit organization Solar for Academics Inc. and serves on the board of the nonprofit organization Humanitarian Social Innovations as Vice President and Governing Committee member.