George and Yuri sit down to discuss their inspiration in forming Sol Systems, their motivation for working in solar energy, and their goals for the company and its customers.
1. What inspired you to begin Sol Systems?
George: I was always interested in companies that combined capitalism with a social and environmental benefit. I had done some ventures in microfinance so when Yuri approached me with this idea I thought it was great. I thought it was a great way to create a solar credit market, and also a way of benefiting the environment, which is something I hold dear to my heart.
Yuri: My inspiration is a deep passion to make a positive difference in the world. Specifically, to start slowing some of the damage we have done on this earth. Before starting Sol Systems, I was working in the renewable energy field as an attorney. During that time, I saw a discrepancy in the level of sophistication between markets and commercial entities and that for smaller businesses and homeowners. I also saw some significant gaps within the renewable energy space in regards to the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) legislation that existed.
2. How did you create the idea behind Sol Systems?
Yuri: We actually started with a simpler idea, in which we would have more directly financed and leased distributed PV systems. However, other companies were already working in this space. But, during this time, I had researched extensively on RPS policies and various market incentives for solar PV energy. With this in mind, George and I sat down and began developing the initial phases of the business together.
3. What motivates you on a day-to-day basis to work within solar energy?
George: There are several things that motivate me. One of the first things would be the expansion of solar energy that we have been able to support. I firmly believe at this point there are homeowners who have signed up for solar energy systems in part because of the financial incentives we have been able to monetize for them. Also, being able to offer solutions to mid-size and smaller developers has been very exciting as well. The second thing is definitely our customers. Continuing to support the promises we made, continuing to deliver excellent customer service, and making sure we protect their SRECs in the future. And, the last thing I would say is starting our own business is incredibly rewarding.
Yuri: For me, it is that when I walk to work every day down 13th St. and look at the Capitol, I am reminded that I moved to DC to work towards a significant positive change in the world. I think George and I, and the team, are doing that. The second thing is, as George mentioned, it is great running a company side by side with a friend I have known for over a decade. Third, over the years I have developed very good relationships with our customers and our installer partners, and I value working with them every day.
4. What are your goals for Sol Systems over the coming years?
George: My goal for Sol Systems is to grow the company, to offer more and more what the solar energy sector needs for distributed solar, particularly within the financial realm. And, to expand horizontally to cover more ground within consulting and policy work as well. And lastly, to continue to take care of our customers and employees. I would like us to have an excellent track record, and to be a Better Business Bureau company, and be a well-respected entity.
Yuri: I would like to see Sol Systems become the single largest conduit of solar energy finance for distributed solar energy. Period.
5. How do you see the future of solar energy?
George: It is a very exciting time. The next couple of years we will see incredible growth in solar capacity. My hope is that the industry puts in policy and safeguards to protect distributed solar. We are already seeing strengthening of RPS policies and alternative compliance payments. I hope the industry takes care of its investors and customers and continues to do that.
Yuri: Down the road, I see PV technology as the largest segment of the solar energy market. Concentrated solar power and solar thermal will have some small niches of the overall market. But, in terms of wide-scale deployment, I see solar PV becoming integrated into roofs, walls, windows, cars, etc…blended seamlessly into our built environment. In thirty years, ‘solar installers’ and ‘solar installation’ will encompass a much broader and larger array of people and activities.