- people on the move
POWERHOME Solar launches commercial division
North Carolina-based solar panel company expanded to West Michigan last summer.
A national solar panel company is making waves in West Michigan after moving to Grand Rapids last summer and is hoping to expand its commercial client portfolio in the area.
POWERHOME Solar, a Mooresville, North Carolina-based company specializing in residential solar, recently announced the launch of its new commercial division. Since inception, the company’s primary focus has been on residential solar panel installation in the six states it currently serves, including Michigan. The new commercial division will address the needs of larger, more diverse customers.
While POWERHOME Solar has serviced commercial clients in the past, the launch of a dedicated commercial advertising division will position the company to better reach and expand its business portfolio, according to CEO Jayson Waller.
“The goal is really to emphasize and get some of these commercial businesses on board with the benefit of growing green and going solar,” he said. “With utilities always changing their rates, we feel like we’ll be successful with that.”
Starting in Michigan, with plans to expand into its other markets, POWERHOME Solar aims to work with companies both small and large that have expansive roof space for solar panels and a desire to use renewable energy and lower their electric bills.
The firm also plans to work with developer-owned office buildings, where it can help developers power the common areas of their buildings and outdoor lights by installing canopy solar carports. The parking lots of such buildings are often expansive and offer a great sun-drenched location to install solar.
POWERHOME argues business and residential customers significantly can reduce their power bills and carbon footprints, own their power and benefit from the 30 percent federal tax incentive on newly installed solar systems.
Currently, the firm does not have any open contracts with West Michigan businesses, but Waller said the company is in discussion with a handful of unnamed local companies.
“We’re looking at some of the schools who have inquired about going green and going solar,” he added.
POWERHOME has outfitted almost 5,000 single-family homes in Michigan, about 300 of which are in West Michigan. Waller said the west side of the state is a new market, as the company established a location six months ago at 4652 Danvers Drive SE, Grand Rapids. The company currently employs over 300 workers in Michigan and continues to grow, Waller said.
He added Michigan is the firm's largest market out of the six states it operates in. Despite the weather in Michigan not always lending itself well to solar usage, Waller said the cost of power in Michigan is so high compared to other states that the cost savings for solar users end up greater than in states that harness more solar power.
The company's made-in-the-U.S. solar panels also are a big selling point for Michigan consumers, Waller said.
Considering North Carolina, where POWERHOME is headquartered, the cost of electricity per watt can be as much as 60 percent lower than in Michigan, Waller said.
Part of the company’s work involves educating consumers on the use and benefits of solar. Waller said solar panels still could absorb energy via their photovoltaic, or PV system, even when there is no direct sunlight.
“People think, ‘Oh it’s snowing, so it doesn’t work,” Waller said. “As long as the PV rays are going through, it will power the panel.”
Waller also said a solar panel in a sunnier state like North Carolina may absorb 15 percent more PV than a solar panel in Michigan; the higher cost of electrical utilities in Michigan, once again, makes solar more cost-effective for the consumer.
POWERHOME also rolled out battery storage in January, and Waller said it already has been popular with Michigan customers. The battery stores overcharge from solar energy in the event of an emergency.
“It works like a generator,” Waller said. “If the power goes out, it can do the heat pump, Wi-Fi, refrigerators. ... If you produce, if you use it first, then it goes to the battery and charges it, any extra goes out to the grid.”
The company's average 20-panel home setup produces about 6 kilowatts of electricity, equating to an annual average 60 to 80 percent power savings, depending on the direction the home faces.
While installation payments differ based on client needs, POWERHOME offers the option of financing with zero down payment. Waller said customers are able to quickly pay the system off with what they save on their energy bills.
POWERHOME Solar was founded in 2015 and currently is active in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.