Ron Swenson

P O Box 7080
Santa Cruz, CA 95061-7080
Phone: +1.831.425.8523

Ron Swenson develops and markets methodologies, technologies, and products that advance sustainability based on solar (renewable) energy and conservation of natural resources.
What: More solar. "Nonrenewable resources should be exploited, but at a rate equal to the creation of renewable substitutes." (Herman Daly)
How: More with less. "I seek through comprehensive anticipatory design science and its reductions to physical practices to reform the environment instead of trying to reform humans, being intent thereby to accomplish prototyped capabilities of doing more with less." (Bucky Fuller)
Why: The coming global oil crisis. "So long as oil is used as a source of energy, when the energy cost of recovering a barrel of oil becomes greater than the energy content of the oil, production will cease no matter what the monetary price may be." (M. King Hubbert)

Career Summary

Commercial Solar Energy Development

Swenson Solar: Since 2003, Swenson Solar has developed and installed over 1.5 megawatts of commercial solar electric systems. Energy monitoring for these solar systems is provided by rMeter - the Energy Awareness Engine™. Additional commercial solar projects are under development.

Sustainable Transportation

Encitra: In 2008 Ron co-founded Encitra™ (Energy, City, Transport). Built upon OpenSimulator, Encitra tools are used to create a virtual collaborative environment where design professionals and stakeholders can quickly visualize potential changes in urban form, e.g., Podcars / Personal Rapid Transit. Podcars represent a potential SolarEVolution™ leading to 100% solar-powered mobility in a world beyond oil.

Solar and Electric Vehicles: After rebuilding an electric car in 1979, Ron prototyped a solar powered electric vehicle (1981), produced exhibits of solar race cars (1991), co-founded Tonatiuh solar race car team in Mexico (1992-1996), prototyped several electric bikes (1997-2000) and developed a Utility Solar Vehicle Education Program (2001-2005).

KiteShip: In 1996, he co-founded KiteShip, which established the Guinness world record in 2004 for "the largest kite ever used to pull a vehicle of any kind." As of 2014, ten years on, that record still holds.

Solar Education

INIST: In 2010, Ron co-founded INIST, The International Institute of Sustainable Transportation. Under the auspices of INIST, in cooperation with Professor Burford Furman at San Jose State University, Ron is building the Solar Skyways Network, an international educational program and curriculum for developing elevated solar powered transportation systems.

Galapagosolar: In 2010 and 2011 Ron directed Galapagosolar, providing opportunities for secondary school students to study and implement energy conservation in the Galapagos."

From 1998 to 2009 Ron Swenson directed SolarQuest®, whose mission was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through project-based experiential learning and green jobs. SolarQuest participated in a 3-year NSF grant to develop a curriculum for energy awareness in US middle schools, Middle Schoolers Out to Save the World ("M-SOS-W"), based on the productivity-centered service-learning methodology implemented in a human capacity-building program in the Galapagos Islands utilizing the virtual Schoolhouse distance learning technology and rMeter - the Energy Awareness Engine™.

Solar and Energy Conservation in Real Estate Development

From 1969 to 1970, Ron was Director of Research, Carl N. Swenson Co., Inc., including construction of a prototype dwelling for Stanford Research Institute. In 1971 EcoSystems, Inc. designed and built a fiberglas/urethane foam home in the Santa Cruz mountains and subsequently developed 14 student-built fiberglas/foam homes at UC Davis. In 1973 through 1977, EcoSystems developed panelized housing systems. Then EcoSystems managed construction of numerous commercial roofing / insulation projects with Central Coating Company. In 1981 EcoSystems installed a wind energy system for the State of California and retrofitted solar systems in a low-cost mobile home. In 2006-2007, Ron co-developed a complex of solar powered and energy efficient apartments and he is now developing an "EcoVillage" project in Santa Cruz, California, as a model solar-powered housing development.

Nurture Capital

Ron has co-founded and developed several high technology ventures in the realms of information technology and energy. From 1982 to 1986 he was President of Aha, Inc., project management systems specialists. From 1991 to 1996, he was Chairman of the Board of Enigma Logic, Inc., a leading firm in computer security which merged with Secure Computing, now part of McAfee. In 1994 Ron co-founded the TPTS Development Company to develop a two phase thermosyphon ("TPTS") water heater technology to produce gas-fired domestic hot water (DHW) heaters with a long life and very high efficiency.


From 1965 to 1968, Ron was Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, San Jose State University, conducting courses in Design, Computer Programming, and Cybernetic Systems (a program dealing with technology and society).

Publications and Public Speaking
Ron has written numerous articles and peer-reviewed papers, primarily in the field of renewable energy and published in the proceedings of the American Solar Energy Society. In addition, he frequently gives presentations about Renewable Energy and Peak Oil.

Web Publishing
Ron publishes •

Professional Societies
Ron serves on the Board of Directors of ASPO-USA, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.
He is active in the American Solar Energy Society, and was on the Board of Directors, 1999-2001.

Civic Affairs
From 1988 to 1991 Ron Swenson served as a member of the City of Santa Cruz Traffic Commission. From 1971 to 1974 he was a member of the California State Commission of Housing and Community Development, active in the adoption of state energy regulations for housing ("Title 24"). From 1970 to 1973 he served as a member of the California Joint Legislative Committee on Seismic Safety (Post-Earthquake Recovery).

B.S. Engineering Science, Stanford University, 1964
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 1968

A vision without a task is a dream; a task without a vision is drudgery; a vision with a task is the hope of the world.

updated 2015