Infinity Energy might be only two years old, but the residential contractor has expanded at a rapid pace. The company has opened five additional offices beyond its Rocklin, California, headquarters and now employs 150 people and even more contracted salespeople. Infinity Energy was listed at No. 212 on the Solar Power World 2016 Top Solar Contractors list, installing 2.54 MW in 2015.
This quick success hasn’t been met without a few setbacks, said CEO Mark Stacy.
“We were at one point a 100% SunEdison dealer,” he said. “Dealing with the rise and crash of SunEdison was a struggle for us. We came close to really not making it. We were lucky that our volume was large enough and our sales reps were resilient enough. We were able to get a few other supply contracts in place. We diversified quickly to Sunnova, Sunrun and SunPower. We went from one supplier to three.”
Having the support of established suppliers gives Infinity Energy credibility, Stacy said.
“Solar is a difficult process and it changes depending on the city or the county,” he said. “You have to do a good job of setting expectations with the homeowner and then try to hit the curveballs of what they throw. Having someone at Sunrun to talk to that says how they’re being successful, or SunPower says they’ll give us equipment and it won’t go against our credit limit—that’s been good. Sunnova has been helpful by paying us quickly. That has helped us be successful.”
Stacy and some of the Infinity team were first involved in the security business, selling home alarm systems. After losing sales reps to the solar industry, Stacy decided to jump ship as well.
“Solar is a lot different than security,” he said. “In security, if you went to talk to a competitor about what they’re doing to be successful, they wouldn’t tell you. But solar is a different family. In solar, everyone shares best practices and we try to all win together. It’s been a different business environment for us, and we’ve really thrived in it.”
The solar industry has become something Stacy has grown to love.
“I love competing against utilities. Utilities have customers over a barrel, so to speak,” he said. “It’s really fun in my eyes to go in and help somebody become energy independent.”
He recalled one situation where an older woman living in a retirement community would leave her home during peak demand hours, turn off her air conditioning and retreat to the public library to save money. Now that she has a solar system, she’s able to stay in her home throughout the day and afford the electricity.
“To see things like that, it’s really rewarding for me,” Stacy said. “That’s why I get up and go to work every day.”
Although Infinity Energy has overcome a lot since forming in 2014, Stacy said the industry still has to work out a few things—namely incorporating storage and grid stabilization.
“It’s definitely a solarcoaster,” he said of the industry. “I see it continuing to move forward. Our electricity needs are going to continue to go up, especially with electrical vehicles becoming more prevalent. When you look at the number of rooftops across the country, there are a lot more without solar. The future is bright.”