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August – GreenSpark Solar, 318 Timothy Lane, Ontario, NY 14519

l to r:  Ryan Loysen, Thomas Hessney, Jamaal Cain, Jake Lynch, Danny Resch, Mary Nichols & Millie (dog)

l to r: Ryan Loysen, Thomas Hessney, Jamaal Cain, Jake Lynch, Danny Resch, Mary Nichols & Millie (dog)

Best friends and college roommates Kevin Schulte (CEO), George McConochie(COO), and Ernie Pritchard (Director of Customer Service) founded GreenSpark Solar in 2002 as Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc. (SED). By 2015 they grew the company to the 11th fastest growing company in Rochester and earned #1 on the Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s Fastest Growing Companies list in 2017 growing over 600% the previous three years. GreenSpark also received first place honors on the Rochester’s Top Workplaces list in 2018 in the small business category, while Kevin Schulte was honored with the top Leadership award.

As stated by CEO Kevin Schulte, “We set out to create a workplace where people want to come to work each day and combat climate change. We believe that if you like what you do and who you do it with, you’re going to want to come to work every day and you’re going to work harder. Climate change is a real problem that we are facing, at GreenSpark we are working to fight that global battle locally, and the community has jumped on board.”

Meagan Schulte (Director of Marketing & Public Relations) and Mary Nicholas (Manager of Community Organizing) are part of GreenSpark’s incredible team. Their obvious enthusiasm, dedication and customer loyalty encapsulate this company’s commitment to our community and the planet. As M. Schulte stated, “All of our customers are part of our growing solar family.”

As a successful company in business for 16 years, GreenSpark embodies environmental stewardship. They have installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at their offices for both the work fleet and for employees’ personal use. This commitment earned GreenSpark honors from the Rochester Electric Vehicle Accelerator (REVA) in recognition of their commitment to cleaner transportation and advancing the market for electric vehicles. Their vehicle fleet comprises only fuel efficient, electric, and hybrid models. They compost, use recycled office furniture and have nearly achieved a zero-paper work environment.  In addition, as celebrated by Nicholas and Schulte, “we have an open environment and work with people we call friends and family, and really practice what we preach, as over 90% of the GreenSpark team, who can go solar, have made the decision to do so.”

If you can afford to pay your electric bill, you can afford solar.  The return on your investment varies with how you use electricity in your home or business along with the cost per kWh, but on average a 6 to 8 year pay back is typical for a home and under five years for a business. There are also tax credits, statewide grants, and a combination of federal, regional, and local incentives that are available for households and certain businesses.  A GreenSpark system is warrantied for 25 years, and the life span of the system is expected to be much greater. Over a 25-year period a residential solar owner can expect to save an average of 30K.

GreenSpark Solar offerings consist of:

Residential Solar: Installing a solar array at your home allows you to take control of your electric usage, removes the volatility of local utilities, and lowers your carbon footprint. You own the system and take advantage of high economic gain, tax incentives and grants.

Community Solar: Sign up is free and saves the customer a percentage on monthly bills. Achieving the solar benefits without having equipment at your residence. Provides accessible solar to groups that are unable to purchase systems, (Non- home owners).

Solar for Business:  There are several ways a business can Go Solar, owning the system out right, through a Power Purchase Agreement, through leasing, etc.  Similar to residential solar, the business owner will see savings in their electric bills while lowering the carbon footprint. In addition, an increase in businesses is generally seen when you are able to say you are a solar powered business.

Solar for Institutions:  Colleges and Universities, as well as elementary and high schools, achieve similar cost savings as businesses, while providing an educational tool for students.

Solar energy is a win-win: in addition to its significant financial benefits, going solar is also great for the environment. When your solar panels generate electricity, they produce zero emissions, which means they don’t contribute to climate change or health issues like more traditional sources of energy.  In closing, M. Schulte sums it up with a superlative statement “Your fuel is the sun.”

 

Interviewed by:  Joellen Simone, Nature’s Way Florist

Photo Courtesy of JennifferMerida-Nudd, PhotoChicaPhotography

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