By San Francisco Business Times

Zep Solar said Tuesday that five global solar manufacturers have licensed its racking technology to use with compatible solar modules.

Zep, based in San Rafael, makes a patented solar panel frame with a special groove that allows for easy installation â¿¿ parts literally snap into the frame of a panel, instead of needing to be screwed in. The Zep groove eliminates the need for rails that traditionally adhered solar panels to roofs but were hard to transport and needed to be screwed into roofs at many entry points.

⿿We see rail as an antiquated approach,⿝ said Mike Miskovsky, CEO of Zep Solar, during the Solar Power International conference in Dallas. ⿿It⿿s resource-intensive and hard to transport. Every solar module comes off the line with durable aluminum frame on all four sides. We find that⿿s an effective but underutilized resource.⿝

But Zep needed panel manufacturers to make solar panels that worked with Zepâ¿¿s frame and mounting systems. It says Sharp Solar and Hanwha SolarOne are now licensing Zepâ¿¿s technology in addition to already announced partners Yingli Green Energy, Canadian Solar, Centro Solar, UpSolar and Trina Solar among others. The company also announced that Petaluma-based microinverter company Enphase Energy is also a partner.

Sharp is now selling a solar kit that includes a Sharp Solar panel, a Zep frame and an Enphase microinverter.

Miskovsky said business grew 100 percent each year over the last two years. And the company now has 50 employees since its founding in 2009. Jack West, Zepâ¿¿s founder is the chairman And chief technology officer. Miskovsky said the business continues to grow its team which includes manufacturing and engineering positions.

Miskovsky his upcoming challenge is to shift focus to manufacturing â¿¿ helping customers deliver and integrate the Zep product with customersâ¿¿ panels and get them to market.

⿿Now that we⿿ve done a lot to gain acceptance for the IP, now our challenge is we⿿re going to need to deliver a lot of product that fits modules that have the Zep groove,⿝ he said.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010