Solar energy is rapidly becoming a mature, viable means of providing clean, green power for household, large and small business, government, commercial and even agricultural applications. There have been rapid advances in solar technology, and prices of products such as rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar systems continue to drop…
Across the U.S., states including California, Texas, Hawaii and Minnesota have seen solar energy become economically competitive with conventional sources of energy.
Across the United States, solar energy is gaining in popularity and for very good reasons. In just the past eight years alone, installations in the U.S. have jumped from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) to an incredible 20 GW. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, this increase is enough to power the equivalent of an astonishing four million average American homes.
All Energy Solar has headquarters in historic St. Paul, Minnesota and is proud to provide quality turnkey solar systems to clients in its home state and from its offices in Iowa, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. All Energy Solar President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Allen says that Massachusetts was a natural fit for the company.
“Massachusetts is a very solar-friendly state,” he says, noting that more states are adopting solar technologies and initiatives, some faster than others. “At the time we got into solar in Iowa, it was not a solar-friendly state, but we had seen a pent-up demand from customers, and there really weren’t any good solar providers in that state for them.”
All Energy believes in solar to such a degree that it partners with its competition across the United States in a truly innovative business model. “If we are unable to help, we can certainly supply you with another integrator that can,” states the company.” We strive to provide the best possible customer service, even if that means suggesting another provider.”
It has over sixty trained and dedicated staff including administrative workers, salespeople, designers, project managers, operational technicians, site design technicians and installers. The company has a reputation for standing far above the competition, particularly when it comes to the depth of expertise and qualifications.
Unlike solar companies that contract out much of the work – such as electrical – to others, All Energy Solar takes charge of every aspect, from initial design and system installation to ongoing monitoring and maintenance. The company is a licensed building contractor and an electrical contractor.
“In general, the majority of solar companies are subcontracting their installations to electricians or to building contractors,” says Allen. “Most of the solar companies you see out there are just a guy who tells you what size solar system you need. Or, they are a consulting company who turns around and passes that project off to somebody else who then does building or design of the project; another company may do the paneling, and still another comes in and does electrical work. So there is a big difference between most of the solar companies and All Energy Solar being an electrical and building contractor and essentially doing everything in-house.”
Performing all its work makes a tremendous difference for clients. As well as the assurance that one company is taking charge of all design, construction, installation and electrical work, customers have a single point of contact from the beginning to the end, including post-construction maintenance. This way – instead of not knowing which of the numerous subcontractors to call if there is a service issue – clients only work with one trusted source.
In addition, All Energy Solar is certified by the North American Board of Certified Electrical Practitioners (NABCEP). The non-profit 501 (c)(6) corporation has a mission ‘to support, and work with, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, professionals, and stakeholders to develop and implement quality credentialing and certification programs for practitioners.’ It remains the highest technical certification for both solar photovoltaic installers and engineers, and NABCEP certification and licenses enable All Energy to provide proven turnkey solar solutions to its many clients.
Michael Allen developed a passion for renewable energy in college and this continued after he graduated from UW Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in economics and business management. Soon, he dedicated himself to learning more about green energy sources such as solar and wind in Europe and became a consultant, designing solar systems for clients in Northern California.
Although he wrote a business plan for his company in 2002, Allen worked as a NABCEP-certified photovoltaic installer for another company in 2008. This saw him installing numerous solar systems in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He assembled a reliable and enthusiastic team and launched All Energy Solar in 2009.
“They (economics and solar) actually went hand-in-hand,” he says. “I had an interest in solar prior to going to college, so when I was in school, I had a pretty good understanding of what I wanted to get into. So in order to do that, I had to be in the economics/business management scene, the best degree to get into the solar industry.”
Today, All Energy regularly takes on projects for residential, commercial and government clients, and all sectors are growing. All Energy Solar has earned the business and respect of hundreds of customers through its years of cumulative industry experience and the strength to take on a complete project.
‘We handle everything. You just pay a lower utility bill,’ and when All Energy Solar says this, it is serious. The full-service partner assists clients across Minnesota, Iowa, Massachusetts and Wisconsin with tax credits, rebates and other financial incentives to maximize returns on investment.
The team determines the most suitable type of installation, which varies depending on roof type and covering. It will then design and assemble an appropriate system to achieve solid results. Through ongoing system monitoring, the company will track systems to ensure that anticipated energy production values are met.
Solar systems depend on the individual homeowner and expected energy use. A small project may produce two kilowatts, and systems have a lifespan of twenty-five to forty years.
Every system is customized to a degree. Some homes could have six occupants while others have just one, making the demand for power vary significantly. Every project is essentially a custom project and requires an individual assessment conducted by an initial sales consultant. From there, a trained designer (many of whom have worked on hundreds of systems) is sent out to determine exact needs, and engineers evaluate data of every element from electrical to structural.
“Every roof is slightly different, and you might have to attach product differently from one roof to another, because one is using two by four rafters, and the other is using two by six rafters,” says Allen. “The big change comes by gathering the data out in the field and designing that system, which is done by us internally here in the office. Our designers, in many cases, have designed well over one thousand solar systems and are fully capable and aware of the majority of all situations.”
All Energy anticipates a bright future in the growing solar industry across the United States. While the company regularly keeps up-to-date with new and emerging technologies through training, the manufacturers and third-parties, Allen says it is also crucial to remain realistic about systems that look good on paper but cannot deliver technology in real-world applications or are prohibitively costly.
“A big part of the industry is waiting for the sexy technology and understanding the real, viable technology that can realistically be installed in service for the long-term,” states Allen. “Building a solar system, in many people’s eyes, is a big deal. It is a significant investment, and the experience that you have when working with a company that does that should be top-of-the-line. We are a family-owned business that takes customer expectations seriously, and not just meets them, but exceeds those expectations.”