When Tennessee Solar Solutions formed nine years ago, there wasn’t a lot of competition out there.
“In 2007, in our area, solar wasn’t big,” said Anthony Roden, president. “I was one of the first solar contractors in Tennessee. The fact that I feel like I’m making a difference, I find a lot of enjoyment in that.”
There has been a big upswing in solar in the state in the last decade, and business has boomed for the company. Tennessee Solar Solutions does do more residential projects, but a recent uptick in agriculture business has shifted the company’s breakdown to 60% residential and 40% commercial.
“We’ve seen a lot of large growth,” Roden said. “Everyone seems to be very interested in renewables, specifically solar. That’s a good thing. When I first started in 2007, it was just myself and I did a lot of subbing out of the work. Now we have about 24 employees, so we’ve seen a lot of growth.”
Tennessee Solar Solutions gives back by participating in local solar associations. Roden is on the board of directors for Tennessee Solar Energy Association (TSEA), and Ginny Kincer, Tennessee Solar Solutions’ COO, is part of the board of directors for Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA).
“We want to continue to help the industry grow as much as we can,” Roden said. “We feel those two outlets are ways that allow us to do that and help give back.”
One thing Roden hopes to resolve is permitting. Still one of the more common complaints from contractors across the country, easing permitting frustration could be something local solar chapters help with.
“It should be a simple process; however, a lot of your smaller rural areas, your co-ops aren’t really familiar with the product and what it takes,” he said. “We see a lot of issues there. It’s not really that big of a deal to make all this work together. Streamlining of the permitting would be one of our largest obstacles. I would definitely love to see that change.”
In the meantime, Tennessee Solar Solutions keeps plugging away, doing the best job possible. One way the company stands out from the crowd, Roden said, is because of its certification and training.
“In today’s market, it seems like everyone advertises they install solar. You’ve got roofing contractors, mechanical contractors, electrical contractors, everyone does solar evidently,” he said. “We find ourselves at Tennessee Solar Solutions having to go and fix the work of these companies that do solar on the side. NABCEP is a way for us to stand apart and it shows we are open to getting that extra level of certification even though we carry a general contractors license and an electrical contractors license in-house. Sometimes that just isn’t enough. You need to be certified in solar.”
Also, practicing what they preach is something everyone at Tennessee Solar Solution takes to heart.
“The majority of the employees that work [here] have solar on our homes,” Roden said. “I think that’s important to be able to utilize what you’re trying to sell. To me, if someone is trying to sell me a product as specific as solar, if that person doesn’t have it on their home, that would make me less interested. It’s very important to be able to practice what we preach.”