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About Us

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About Backwoods Solar

Steve and Elizabeth Willey started BACKWOODS SOLAR ELECTRIC SYSTEMS as a home-based business in 1978, after successfully pioneering the use of photovoltaics for their own mountain home, two miles from utility lines. They happily helped their neighbors get solar panels for homes that needed off-grid power and wanted to help others too.

Both home and business were 100% powered by the time tested equipment described in the catalog: 85% by the sun, with wind and a back-up generator covering the balance in snowy winter months.

Backwoods Solar Now

In 2004, Steve and Elizabeth retired, and David Katz and Scott Gentleman took over the company. They moved the business out of the home to a facility just a couple of miles down the road. To this day, we continue to operate and maintain the Backwoods Solar that our customers know and love!

For the last 6 years, David Katz has continued to own the company along with Sequoya Cross, who runs the day-to-day operations as CEO.

What Sets Us Apart From Others

For over 37 years, we specialize in helping our customers create custom solar panel solutions for their homes using off-grid power or as a grid-tied home. We offer personalized attention for people who design and construct their own homes with power systems. We also work with smaller installers and large scale integrators across the world to help their customers succeed.

Over the years, we expanded our focus to offer remote power for telecom systems, water pumping, and rural villages around the world. Renewable energy is moving towards using more clean power and the incorporation of back-up power sources. We continue to help people learn and create a more sustainable off-grid way of living.

How We Live the Lifestyle

Many of our technical salespeople live in homes that get their power from the sun, water, or wind using the products we sell in our catalog so they personally understand the ins and outs of using off-grid power and grid-tied power systems.

Tracey’s post and beam home is powered by a Harris micro-hydro system with Xantrex and Morningstar products.

Shawn uses a Bergey wind turbine and Kyocera modules as well as Outback and Schneider XW power components.

Tom uses SolarWorld solar panels and an Outback power system with additional Outback components. 

Alan is in the process of building his new remote homestead and will be utilizing an array of REC modules with utility power as a back-up source. He currently provides backup power to a grid-connected deep well pump with a Xantrex inverter and transformer.

Sequoya is in the process of installing an AC Coupled SMA & Magnum system with Q-Cell 275W solar modules & Silicon Salt batteries.

Brian utilizes solar panels and a custom micro-hydro system along with a Magnum MiniPanel system for his family home.

Erika has both an off-grid system at her remote cabin along with a grid-tied system at her main home in Oregon using micro-inverters and SolarWorld modules.

David Katz has more configurations of off-grid and grid-tied systems than we can illustrate in this space.

Personal & Knowledgeable

Backwoods Solar is a major catalog sales source specifically dedicated to serving homes & businesses so remote that access to utility lines is not practical. We are an intentionally small business of twelve solar electric specialists offering personal attention to self-reliant home owners, installers, and businesses who choose to install their own power systems. Backwoods also offers a wholesale division to serve small- to mid-sized installers, larger integrators, and assistance with large scale projects and international non-profit organizations. Our wholesale pricing is competitive and the set-up process is simple and quick.

Alan, John, Brian, Tracey, Shawn, Tom, Erika or Sequoya personally answer all letters, email, and calls during business hours to help with your questions and equipment needs. Your questions will get answered and your needs will be met. It is our earnest goal to leave you completely satisfied.

Call us at 208-263-4290 to get started on personalizing solar panels for your home, setting up a wind turbine, or designing a micro-hydro power system today. If you are interested in working with Backwoods as a wholesaler, please contact us and we will happily send information to you about our accounts.