Westbrook maker of residential wind turbines moves from basement to manufacturing facility

Ben Polito, co-founder and CEO of Pika Energy in Gorham, moved back to Maine to start his wind energy company, and says the state's &quotentrepreneurial ecosystem" has already helped him in that endeavor.
Ben Polito, co-founder and CEO of Pika Energy in Gorham, moved back to Maine to start his wind energy company, and says the state's "entrepreneurial ecosystem" has already helped him in that endeavor. Buy Photo
Posted June 06, 2013, at 6:26 p.m.
Last modified June 07, 2013, at 9:11 a.m.

WESTBROOK, Maine — Pika Energy, the startup focused on manufacturing residential-scale wind turbines, recently reached a milestone, moving out of the basement in Gorham where the company was founded and into its own manufacturing facility in Westbrook.

Pika Energy on Thursday announced that the company has moved into a 4,300-square-foot manufacturing facility at 35 Bradley Dr. in Westbrook.

In addition, the company has hired Bill Hetzel, longtime plant manager for Tom’s of Maine, as its director of operations.

Hetzel is currently building out the manufacturing space in preparation for the production of the company’s T701 Wind Turbine and related electronic components.

The company expects to bring its wind and wind-solar hybrid systems to market later this year, according to a news release from the company.

“Pika is in a great position right now,” Andrew Hickok, the company’s director of business development, wrote in an email to the Bangor Daily News. “Our leading edge technology is defined, we have demonstration units in the field, and we’re ready to commercialize. Bill’s experience in operations strategy and lean manufacturing takes us to that stage.”

The company currently has eight employees, and expects to hire technicians, engineers and business employees as it scales its manufacturing operation.

Over the course of the last two years, Pika has attracted nearly $1.1 million in grants, loans, angel investments and venture capital.

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