LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4)– It’s said that Colorado sees 300 days of sunshine a year, so a couple of friends decided to use that abundance of sun to fuel their business. Enter SOL Coffee.

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“We really wanted to use a solar system to make it so we didn’t have to run a generator,” Andrew Michler explained.

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Michler is the co-founder of SOL Coffee – a solar-powered coffee bar built in the back of a 1979 Toyota Dolphin that Michler bought for $300.

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“I design buildings and write a lot about architecture, so it was a great opportunity to try something that is so novel,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.

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Michler came up with the idea with this friend and coffee connoisseur Darren Warzburg. The two stripped, gutted and added solar panels to the old truck, and together designed a unique coffee bar on wheels that goes beyond a typical food truck experience.

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“I’m actually standing inside the truck right now,” Michler said, showing how the truck floor was low to the ground, “but usually, if you look at a food truck, you’d be standing two feet or more above the person. You don’t really have that relationship between the patron and the maker of the food or drinks.”

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Not only is the coffee-on-the-go concept energy efficient, Michler said the solar powered equipment – combined with the locally roasted coffee – makes a better cup of joe.

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“It saves us energy, but it also allows us to make a more refined espresso and gives us more control of the quality of the drink itself,” he explained.

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And the mobile coffee bar is gaining national attention.

“We won an award from an architect’s newspaper for Best Small Spaces,” Michler said.

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With hundreds of sunny days in Colorado every year, SOL Coffee has no shortage of power.

“We can serve maybe 50 to 60 people an hour,” Michler said.

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And Michler expects to keep brewing the solar powered java for years to come.

“If it’s sunny like this, we’ll do great,” he said.

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SOL Coffee is based in Longmont, but they’re happy to serve up fresh coffee all along the Front Range.

LINK: SOL Coffee

Kelly Werthmann

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