Tony Boniface – Solar Visionary, IPS Founder & CEO
Tony Boniface is the owner and President of Independent Power Systems, a renewable energy design and installation company he founded in 1996. He holds a BSEE from the University of Massachusetts and is a licensed Professional Engineer and Master Electrician.
His fascination with photovoltaics (PV) began when he was studying opto-electronics in college and was furthered upon his first witnessing a working solar panel powering a water pump at a remote mountain hut. That was the moment of enlightenment that set him on a path to realizing this amazing and disruptive technology—one that delivers electrical power wherever the sun shines—with no moving parts, no pollution, and no dependence on anything else.
He got his professional start working as a reliability engineer for IBM where he learned and applied Six-Sigma quality control methodologies. That early and strict approach to design and manufacturing standards has been a key influence on his implementation of renewable energy systems.
His first introduction to the practical application of using PV technology to power homes came from attending the first solar school, Solar Energy International, in 1992. His start in the solar energy industry began in 1993 with his employment as a system design engineer for SunWize Energy Systems, one of the first major solar companies in the US. His responsibilities included designing and installing off-grid residential, hybrid power systems for the New York Power Authority to provide power where extending power lines was prohibitive.
In 1996 he started Independent Power Systems (IPS) in Bozeman, Montana to provide off-grid power solutions using solar, wind and propane generator power for homes, water pumping and other remote applications. He was instrumental in educating the state utility, the Montana Power Company, on the virtues of solar energy and was ultimately awarded installation of the first grid-connected solar systems in the state as well as the country.
Interested in playing a role in the up-and-coming larger solar markets, he expanded IPS operations to Boulder, Colorado in 2006 and then again to Boston, Massachusetts in 2010 concurrent with the launching of those states’ respective solar incentive programs.
To date IPS has installed well over a thousand grid-tie solar systems, hundreds of off-grid solar and wind systems, dozens of grid-tie wind systems, solar and battery backup systems, and generator backup systems. With a long-term goal of providing power for village electrification in the developing world, Tony has taken on a number of challenging international projects and has developed the Power Tower, a patented, guy-less, winch-operated tilt down tower that supports both a wind turbine and a solar array.
Tony believes that embracing renewable energy is more than a solution but rather is an imperative.
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The IPS Colorado crew