by Sheila Julson
Thomas Edds, owner of Electric
Distribution & Design Systems, (EDDS Solar) has never been timid about
exploring and trying new things. As a youth, he was involved with a dance
troupe in Midland, Texas, that performed at the World Arts Festival, in
Ireland. Attendees included King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and future queen Silvia
Sommerlath, who enjoyed the dancers so much they invited the troupe to perform
at their royal wedding. As a teen, Edds’ parents paid for him to take bull-riding
lessons. “But they wouldn’t let me have a motorcycle,” he jokes. As a young
adult, Edds traveled throughout Europe.
Edds completed a four-year
electrical apprentice program in electrical/electronics equipment installation
and repair. He was a foreman and an estimator at Amber Electric, and he also
worked at Moore Electric Company as a project manager for 10 years. Quipping that
he “got tired of making everybody else rich” he founded his own business, Electric
Distribution & Design Systems, in 1982.
Today, with Electric
Distribution & Design, Edds still gets to travel throughout the U.S. and
abroad sustainably powering the world through electricity and alternative
energy services, including solar panel installation, solar photovoltaic (PV),
solar thermal and wind electric generation for residential and commercial
projects. His services include design, engineering, solar panel installation,
repairs and guidance with permitting and cost analysis. For the fifth year in a
row, Electrical Distribution & Design received Top 500 Solar Contractors
recognition from Solar Power World. Criteria
for this honor include professionalism, longevity and credibility.
Innovation in solar and wind
technology, along with consumer education and growing awareness of climate
change, has fueled consumer demand for alternative energy. Over the years, Edds
has observed more efficiency in solar PV systems, particularly in the racking
system in how solar units are grounded. He has also kept abreast of numerous changes
in local codes.
Edds corrects some myths about alternative
energy, particularly the “free solar panels” advertisements touting Texas’
lease and power purchase agreements. “That’s all salesman fluff—there is no
Texas program whatsoever, and no, it is not free,” he emphasizes. “But it will
not cost you any more out-of-pocket than what you will pay on your electric
bill. You can pay the electric company for the rest of your life, or you can
pay for solar over 12 years and not have an electrical bill after that.”
panels are durable and will also work on overcast days or on a full moon night.
“I’ve installed over 60,000 solar panels, and I’ve never replaced one from hail,” he notes. Edds adds people can further save by lowering
energy consumption as much as possible through LED lighting and energy
As people become more receptive
to sustainable energy sources, Edds predicts that it will soon become the norm,
even in an oil and gas state like Texas. Locally, his solar and wind projects
include the 62-story Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Dallas and IBM
facilities. He’s facilitated wind projects in Nicaragua, Belize, Argentina and
Guatemala, and a 100-wind turbine project in Bahrain.
Edds regularly attends trade shows to promote alternative
energy and lectures at college classes and solar installer training classes. To
give North Texans an opportunity to see demos of working residential solar
systems, solar on trucks, solar water heating and rainwater harvesting, Electric
Distribution & Design Systems is hosting a free open house from 8 a.m. to 5
p.m. on October 5 and 6.
In his spare time, Edds
volunteers with Kairos Prison Ministry. “We visit prisons on weekends and show
incarcerated persons what God’s love is all about. About 93 percent of guys who
are in prison and don’t go through some kind of faith-based program reoffend,”
he says. “Most of these guys don’t have a father figure in their lives. We’re
not trying to replace being a father, but instead showing them when they get
out there is a place for them in society, if they choose to be part of society.”
Electric Distribution & Design Systems is located at
3637 Marquis Dr., Ste. 106, in Garland. For more information, call 214-679-5458
or visit EDDSSolar.com.
Door prize drawings will be held each day.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributing writer
to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.