Four years after its inception, Sol Systems is proud to call itself the oldest and largest SREC aggregator in the country, with approximately 3,000 customers and 350 installer partners across 13 states. In addition to our reputation in the SREC space, Sol Systems recently launched SolMarket, an innovative financing platform designed to catalyze investment in the solar industry. We sat down with the Sol co-founders, Yuri Horwitz and George Ashton, to reflect on this important milestone and vision for the future.
Q: How has the market for solar energy changed over the last four years?
George: We have seen a general maturation of the solar industry, especially a shift in focus from the price of components and cost of installations to a focus on optimizing financing solutions, to the point where we can compare to retail prices. We have also witnessed a consolidation on the developers’ side in regards to the number of companies that are both surviving and profitable. In addition, more general construction and financing organizations are involved in the solar industry.
Yuri: In addition to what George mentioned, the solar industry is taken a lot more seriously. In the wake of incidents such as Solyndra, both policy makers and the public have become much more aware of the scale of the industry.
Q: What are some of the biggest milestones for the company?
Yuri: One of the biggest milestones for our company was when we both left our jobs full time to begin Sol Systems. It was both an exciting and scary time for both of us. Other milestones included our first offtake agreement, our hiring of full time employees, and the expansion of our office.
George: Another major milestone for our company was the beginning of installer partnerships. Rather than spend time handling every individual case over the phone, we created the partner program to easily connect customers and installers.
Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles you have encountered?
Yuri: One of the biggest obstacles is the market itself. We don’t have any control over the SREC market or the solar market. The solar market is extremely competitive, and it has its ups and downs. Whether it is our SolMarket platform or SREC aggregating, the changing market always has an impact on our company.
George: I think one interesting obstacle that has risen over the last year or so is deciding which projects to adopt into our business. This includes an analysis into the market demand for certain products and services, as well as the bottom line profitability of the initiative.
Q: What is your goal for the next year?
George: One of my biggest goals is to establish presence for the company within the market, where individuals choose our services over others because of their value. When it comes to SREC financing and project financing, I want people to see our name, understand what we do, and respect the value that we can bring to the solar industry.
Yuri: I think we are focusing on becoming a user friendly and intuitive company for solar financing. A lot of this growth, and of what George was saying, ties into our progress with SolMarket. I would like to see SolMarket develop a large portfolio of successful projects under its belt. Like any startup, there is a lot of experimentation, and that’s what we are seeing with SolMarket.
Q: Where do you see the solar market heading over the next couple of years?
George: I think we can see solar energy becoming more of a standardized commodity. For example, installing solar panels on an apartment building or a home could eventually be a foregone conclusion in the construction process. We might also see more traditional financing options. Standardization of solar energy is also correlated to the use and necessity of government subsidies.
Yuri: You will also see a solar integrated infrastructure, where everything we build or use will be interconnected somehow with solar energy.