3D Printing Helps Solar Upstart Deliver Energy Everywhere

Sometimes a new path becomes clear when you see the pitfalls of the old one. Brian Gramm was researching large-scale renewable energy, such as wind farms, when a totally new approach dawned on him. Rather than trying to make green energy look like the old, big-plant electrical grid, why not generate power right where it’s used, and let consumers have their own miniature power plants that can go anywhere?

“There are situations where large-scale solar is right, like office buildings. But the things that most of us use daily, most often, really don’t require much power,” said Gramm. He co-founded Peppermint Energy, a South Dakota company that makes a portable, plug-and-play solar generator called the FORTY2. Like a solar plant in a suitcase, the FORTY2 draws enough juice from the sun to power lights, laptops — even a dorm fridge. A battery stashes power and delivers it after sundown.


The solar generator can power several devices at once, and even delivers enough juice for a small refrigerator. Its battery provides power after sunset.

“It’s only when you see it in physical form that you realize the form and function should be the same.”

Brian Gramm, Peppermint Energy