Pure Power Contractors

Solar energy electrical contracting in North Carolina
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Ian Nichols

Justin Taylor has been in the solar business for over eight years. He launched his career in solar working for a solar company that needed a licensed electrician. Within four years, he was established as his former employer’s director of solar operations, directing a team of between 60 and 200 professionals through complex solar projects in the Southeast United States.

In 2012, Taylor struck out on his own, establishing Pure Power Contractors (Pure Power), a growing photovoltaic system contracting firm based in Waxhaw, North Carolina.

Pure Power employs a full time staff of five, as well as up to 80 seasonal laborers. The business provides system design, installation and maintenance services for solar projects throughout the region. Taylor and his crew provide these services for both commercial and residential customers and offer a variety of contracts to clients. Turnkey projects are a key component of the operation, although the crew regularly serves as a subcontractor on solar projects with larger firms.

A growing portfolio

Pure Power’s recent work includes a range of projects, from small residential projects to contributions to large solar farms. With each project, Taylor’s crew stands out with experience and resources that are hard to match. Whether private homeowners or major general contractors, clients have come to count on the team’s dedication to quality, efficiency and safety. One of the company’s largest jobs has been the electrical portion of a major solar farm install.

 “Last year we worked on a 6.7 megawatt solar farm,” Taylor details. “This was an expansive facility with over 20,000 solar panels.” Pure Power is expecting to be a part of several more utility scale projects similar to this in 2015.

One of Taylor’s personal favorites has been a project for Highland Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. “We installed a 300 kilowatt system on the roof there, which we completed toward the end of 2014,” he explains. “There was nothing particularly unusual about the project from a contractor standpoint. We just do not get to install many solar panels on top of breweries. Now, the owners are looking to install a rooftop bar where people will be able to enjoy the beer overlooking the solar panels we installed.”

Another standout project for the team has been work on a private residence. Taylor’s crew performed the electrical work to attach the client’s solar energy harvesting system to a 30-kilowatt-hour battery backup system. With an existing 12 kW grid-tied system on the residence, the customer wanted to build a backup system for his electric car and other loads in his house.

“We were able to do that for him,” Taylor explains. “He now has solar energy charging these batteries that feed to the grid on a net metered system. If the homeowner were to lose power due to a hurricane or other natural disaster, he would still have fuel for his vehicle in a limitless supply.”

Looking ahead

Taylor says the business is growing fast. Pure Power quadrupled revenue in 2014 and the crew is hoping to double that figure in 2015. “Our continued growth depends on a few factors,” he explains. “The biggest is that the State of North Carolina tax credits are expiring at the end of the year and they may or not be extended. No one knows yet. This has created a flurry of business and we may be booked through the end of the year as soon as next week. It has been a major challenge just getting all the right people in the right places quickly. This is going to be a wild year with so many people trying to get these projects in. We will be doing a lot of work with other contractors, helping each other balance the workload.”

While the loss of state funding may create a dip in business for the company, Taylor is confident that solar is the way of the future. Pure Power has teamed up with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association to build lobbying power and pressure the state government to re-examine the benefits of the tax incentive program.

“We are at a point where solar is almost able to stand on its own, but not quite,” he elaborates. “On a utility scale, with the tax credits rolled back on those, won’t be affected as much. I think the market will slow down a bit to a more sustainable pace, but prices have come down enough so it can self-sustain. We can compete with coal at that scale. On the residential side, affordability is still a bit further off.”

Despite the outcome of the tax credit renewal proposed, Taylor and his team plan to stay busy over the coming years. As solar power becomes more favorable in public opinion, the crew has faith that businesses will continue to invest. With the right tools and the right team, Pure Power Contractors will continue to provide integrated solar power solutions to commercial and residential customers in North Carolina.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
City Electric Supply