Editor’s note: The Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta each month puts out a newsletter recounting its activities across the region and informing its compatriots about vital information from the foreign ministry. Follow the consulate on Facebook.
As with each edition, this month’s included a spotlight on Belgian living and working in the consulate’s jurisdiction. Known as “The Belgian in the Picture,” the series aims to show just how deeply impactful the country’s economic and cultural engagement with the South is, despite its small size. The below Q&A is reprinted with permission and has been lightly edited for clarity and style.
Belgian Consulate: Paul De Sloover, a veteran Belgian entrepreneur in the U.S., is being spotlighted in this month’s newsletter — appropriated given that his latest venture provides an innovative way to generate power from the sun. Mr. De Sloover, can you tell us more about the solar roof tiles made by Desol Power Tiles?
Mr. de Sloover: Solar roof tiles are roof tiles with integrated solar panels. Instead of installing unsightly solar panels on top of an existing roof, with DeSol Power Tiles it is your roof itself that captures the sunlight. The tiles themselves look like regular classic Nordic style roof tiles, and when installed as instructed they form a completely sealed, walkable and hurricane-resistant roof.
Belgian Consulate: What are other reasons more people are choosing solar roof tiles rather than solar panels?
Mr. de Sloover: An issue a lot of people run into when they consider turning to solar energy, is that most home owners’ associations don’t accept the looks of large solar panels. Because our solar roof tiles don’t affect the aesthetic or architectural appeal of the roof, it removes that hurdle entirely.
Belgian Consulate: With 31 years of experience as an entrepreneur in the U.S., what is your favorite aspect of doing business here?
Mr. de Sloover: I would have to say the easy access to people and institutions, and the willingness of people to inform and help you in what you want to realize. And, of course, the advantages of the sheer size of the market and having unified regulations in that one big market. That is a definite advantage compared to Europe where every country has different regulations regarding solar roof tiles.
Belgian Consulate: What would you tell a budding Belgian entrepreneur dreaming of taking his chances in the U.S.?
Mr. de Sloover: Don’t dream, act. America, the United States, is a very open country. Spend time going to business fairs and talking to professional people. Do not assume that what works in Belgium will work in the States. Do your research.
Belgian Consulate: How do you see the future of eco-friendly energy in the US?
Mr. de Sloover: At this point there are two different schools of thought. Part of the people want to keep everything the way it is, and the other group of people wants renewable energy. Recent polls show that 73 percent of the American population believes in renewable energy. It will take time to get there, because this country, the United States, has an abundance of fossil fuels in its soil. But it also has an abundance of sunshine. So I would say, the future is bright.
DeSol Power Tiles is located in Buford, Ga. Find out more below:
DeSol Power Tiles
1856 Buford Highway Bldg #101
Atlanta, GA 30097