inSOLAR System™

solar-powered-designThe inSOLAR name is from the word in·so·late -lat·ed, -lat·ing. to expose to the sun’s rays; treat by exposure to the sun’s rays.

[Origin: 1615–25; < L insolatus ptp. of insolare to place in the sun.] Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

In our case, the word insolar is used as an adjective to describe a system of architectural elements that create our inSOLAR System ™. Our system collects the sun’s energy to:

  • Heat a structure
  • Cool a structure
  • Generate electricity for a structure
  • Gather daylight for a structure


“Insolar” was originally coined in the late 1970’s by Ken Kessel, Cooper’s father, to describe his special design of solar homes. He branded these homes “Kessel Insolar Designs”.

The Insolar Designs were based on the concept of using in-ground water storage to add thermal mass to control the indoor climate. This was usually done using indoor swimming pools for the thermal mass and site orientation to passively solar heat water. Active thermal solar collectors were also used to augment the design. Typically, structures were of wood frame with a crawlspace.

The Insolar IV Design also incorporated an all-weather wood foundation and was developed as an affordable housing concept and constructed as a demonstration home for the California Energy Commission in 1980.

In 1972, Cooper Kessel joined his father’s company and began his own experimentation with solar design. He obtained his General Contractor’s license in 1977 and his Architect’s License in 1984, and although he designed and built structures for multiple clientele, his passion remained energy efficient, environmentally responsible sustainable design. Throughout the years, Cooper, being a design engineer at heart, developed and refined systems and products to fulfill his passion, and took Solar Design and Earth-Coupling to a new level. The system he developed is what we call the inSOLAR System™.

Our inSOLAR System™

Alternative Energy Designs, Inc. has taken the term “Insolar” a step further by including four distinct areas that make up the whole inSOLAR System™. We work with each individual client to design into their project the appropriate features of our inSOLAR System™ that will best provide the most energy efficient, environmentally responsible, sustainably designed structure that has been properly oriented on the site to maximize the solar gain for heating, yet ensuring there is sufficient earth-coupling for summer cooling.

More Than Solar Panels

  • Site Orientation
  • Solar Thermal Heating
    • Stove Tanks
    • Drainback Tanks
    • Solar Collectors
    • Radiant Flooring
  • Earth-Coupled Cooling – Cool your home with the Earth
  • Solar Electricity – Generate your own electricity with photovoltaic cells, and get paid by the electric company!
  • Sustainable Design
    • Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) blocks
    • Natural Lighting
    • LEED Certification