Adam Rossi, president of Adam Solar Resources, on electric bikes, solar in the cold, and Dr. Seuss

Adam Rossi, president of Adam Solar Resources in Bridgeville, is a full-time solar installer who’s adding electric bike salesman to his resume later this month.

Adam Solar Rides is scheduled to open March 20, although electric bikes are still stuck in regulatory limbo in Pennsylvania. He answered questions via email.

Q: Is it true that solar panels actually perform better in the cold?

A: Yes! The coefficient of performance decreases as the cells get hotter. Our peak production days are actually on cooler sunny days in spring, not hot summer days. And yes, solar panels still work and produce electricity even on cloudy days in Pittsburgh!

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: “The Lorax,” “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” “Hop on Pop.” Now that I’m a dad, it’s mostly Dr. Seuss. “Off The Grid” by Nick Rosen was the last book I read by myself.

Q: Describe a time when you successfully advocated for something you believed in?

A: I’ve been lobbying for electric bike clarification to Pennsylvania’s vehicle code for several years and I’m proud to say Senate Bill 997 just unanimously passed the Senate Transportation Committee hearing last month. It’s almost a law.

The federal law clearly defines low-speed electric bicycles as bicycles, and I believe we should have that same clarification in Pennsylvania’s vehicle code: under 750 watts/ 1 horsepower, maximum 20 miles per hour top motor speed, and functional pedals.

With all the new technologies coming out and evolving it is important to have an exact definition so other similar but powerful vehicles are properly regulated, possibly as mopeds, electric motorcycles, etc…, and that low-speed electric bikes are treated as bicycles.

The Pennsylvania Senate bill also takes the clarification a step farther, requiring riders to be at least 16 years of age and bikes to weigh under 100 pounds.

Q: What discipline have you had to learn to do your job that you didn’t anticipate?

A: Logistics management — making sure you have every part for each job coming from several distributors at the right time sounds easy but can often take a lot of planning.

Q: Who’s the first person you tell when you get a good idea?

A: I have a pretty vast network of experts in many fields, so it depends on the nature of the idea. Sometimes, if I know I’m not going to pursue it I just blurt it out on the Internet and hope it helps someone else.

Q: What question do you have a really good answer to that no one ever asks?

A: I don’t know what right the question to ask for it is, but the answer is one solar panel in one day in Pittsburgh can harvest enough energy to power an electric bike for over 100 miles!

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