Superior Solar Systems’ start in 1984 makes it one of Florida’s oldest solar companies still operating. Through the years, the company’s focus has shifted from installing solar thermal and pool heating to photovoltaics.
Superior Solar (No. 222 on the 2016 Top Solar Contractors list) has seen it all in the last three decades, but Remo Eyal, CEO of TEVA Alternative Energy (Superior Solar’s parent company), said customers of today are much more knowledgeable about the costs and expectations of solar PV systems.
“Everybody does their research, especially when you’re talking about financial purchases that are comparable to buying a car for most people,” he said. “They will do their research online, which we’re happy about. We encourage it. We have a good position there and good reviews, so we want them to go online.”
Much of Superior Solar’s business comes via referrals, something Eyal said is because of the company’s long, successful history.
“Having this history since 1984 with over 20,000 clients, we want to make sure we never do anything to jeopardize that. We go above and beyond, and we always make sure we make things right and help the client,” Eyal said. “I think that comes through. A good portion of our new business is based on old business where someone referred a friend or family member or colleague to us.”
During 30 years, Superior Solar has expanded its offerings, including financing and other services more relevant to solar’s modern age. The company has also chosen a more “techy” path.
“We have an in-house tech manager who is well-versed on things like metering and monitoring and electronic communication,” Eyal said. “We have really automated a lot of our systems and processes to reduce our costs and increase efficiency and reliability. If something is wrong with a solar system we try to find it before the client does, so we can preemptively call them and let them know we’re noticing a concern and can take care of it. Or if they can fix it directly, we try to walk them through the process so it’s taken care of immediately.”
While business is going well in Central Florida, Eyal said the unstable political climate does lead him to worry about the local solar market’s future. A proposed amendment set to be on this year’s ballot would allow Florida utilities to put fees on net metering, not unlike measures in other states like Nevada that have really hurt solar progress.
“We could certainly hit some big hurdles if this amendment goes through and if the utilities allow some of these potential extra fees and hurdles be set in front of us,” he said. “That could really make the bottom fall out of the industry here in Florida. It really highly depends if we’re successful in our efforts to just keep it fair. The gas industries and oil industries have had lots of subsidies over the years and lots of tax breaks they still get, so [I hope we can] give solar the chance it deserves.”
Even through the uncertainty, Eyal said each day brings Superior Solar the chance to limit global warming and help people live better lives.
“We have a fair amount of older population here in Florida, and a lot of them are living on a fixed income. They’re scared about the potential rise in electricity, and justifiably so,” he said. “We had one of our utilities recently announce they’d like to see a 25% hike in electricity rates. For us to be able to eliminate or mitigate that risk by giving them power, and they know exactly the payment and it’s not going to increase month-over-month, it feels good. You know you’re helping people who really need the help.”