Sioux Falls Businessman Wants To Bring Renewable Energy To Businesses


One business owner in Sioux Falls says businesses in the area can cut their energy usage and he can help… by using only the wind and the sun.

“I’ve always been interested in, you know, renewable energy but back in the 70s and 80s it never made sense; it never paid for itself so it wasn’t a good investment.”

That’s when business owner Mark Luke began his construction, real estate and development business. Serving around a 100 mile area around Sioux Falls, Mark Luke Companies helps construct small, commercial businesses to large, office suites.

While it wasn’t a good investment when Luke started his businesses… things have changed.

“On a business scale, when you’re talking to businesses that use quite a bit a power, so you’re making a bigger project for solar or wind… it does make sense for them.”

He’s trying to make it easier for businesses to harness the power of either wind or sun with the help of two products: PrismSolar Bifacial solar panels and an up and coming wind turbine called SheerWind Invelox.

The solar panels weight a little over 60 pounds, are 66.73in X 38.74in and have two sides made of glass.

“The sun shines into the panel and makes power… like any solar panel,” explained Mark Luke, owner of Mark Luke Companies.  “But they have glass on both sides so the sun shines through it and bounces off whatever is underneath it, bounces back up into the panel and makes power again.”

Meaning businesses will be making more power when the sun is shining.

“If there’s nothing special underneath it… concrete or cars, or whatever, it makes about 18% more power than a standard panel. They are a little bit more expensive but they make up for that.”

In a shorter amount of time… especially if the roof is painted white. Luke says that if the roof is painted white, since white reflects more light compared to darker colors, the panels will make upwards of 30% more power. And all that power that will be generated will cut back on the time it’ll take companies to pay off their investment.

“We did a proposal for a one megawatt system and it was just at a 3 year payback,” explained Luke, comparing that to the nearly 12 years it would take for residents to payback solar roof shingles.

As for wind? Mark Luke, owner of Mark Luke Companies, has been talking with a company called Sheerwind. Sheerwind is developing a wind turbine that doesn’t have blades and only has three moveable parts.

“So the wind comes in, and this is called an air foil design, it’s their newest design,” explained Luke. “And it comes in, from both top and bottom air foil… and as it comes down through the vortex tube it gets condensed and actually sped up.”

The design features a top that allows air from any direction to flow into the air foil and down the 30 foot tall vortex tube. There, as Luke explained, it is compressed and turns three turbines within a 50 foot long tube.

It may be smaller and only have three moving parts… but generates plenty of power, says Luke.

“We can start making power at a slower wind speed and we never have to actually stop making power.” Mark Luke, owner of Mark Luke Companies, went on to explain that the Invelox can generate power with wind speeds as low as 3 miles per hour. He explained that while there is nothing wrong with wind turbines that we are all familiar with, if the wind is too fast or not fast enough, they will either be shut down or require power to generate power.

While he may have only been interested in renewable energy when he started his career, he says he now has the means as well as the confidence to help businesses generate power.

“The numbers are really good. To me… that’s what’s important, it has to make sense to whatever business I’m selling to.”

Categories: Business, Community, Education