E2 Solar: A Bright Future
E2 Solar (E2) has been in the solar energy systems installation business since 2005. Co-founders Mike and Kelli Hewitt started the company with another couple at the suggestion of many acquaintances. Each of the four had individual knowledge of solar energy systems, generally as a hobby. While two of the founders have since retired, Mike and Kelli have worked hard to build E2 to become what they had all envisioned.
“We had people tell us that we had so much knowledge about solar energy and energy efficiency,” says Mike. “People always asked why we hadn’t yet started a company.” After hearing it so many times, Mike says, “We figured, why not, you know?” The foursome each contributed personal funds to the startup, and soon enough E2 was born.
“At first we were just scraping it together to pay rent every month,” recalls Mike. “Eventually, though, we grew into a successful small business.” Mike has been installing solar energy systems for 11 years now. “I guess that makes me a real veteran,” he laughs. “This industry hasn’t been around in the U.S. for very long.”
E2 is without a doubt a custom mom-and-pop business, especially compared with the national companies that make up its competition. The company employs 11 people and doesn’t stray too far from its region. “We go about our business here locally,” say Mike. Over the years the company has worked throughout Oregon and occasionally develops projects in Washington.
Mike reports that E2’s business is about an even split between residential and commercial projects. “At first we were doing a lot more residential, but it looks like more and more businesses are seeing the financial benefits of a solar installation.” He then adds that marketing value is a big component for many companies who choose to go solar.
Between late 2011 and spring 2012, E2 had been awarded three projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mike recalls one project in particular that his team found extremely rewarding. E2 installed a fairly large solar energy system at a low-income apartment rental complex.
“No matter what your feelings are about these social programs, the fact is there are a lot of people in this country who are struggling to find work,” Mike says. “It’s a segment of our population that we have to deal with one way or another. The people who are benefiting from this installation are in an income bracket where they may never be able to afford a system like that, yet they are the recipients of the energy that is being saved. For us that was very gratifying.” The 270=kilowatt system truly exemplifies E2’s commitment to community and the environment.
In It to Win It
“This industry has its ups and downs,” Mike admits. “There are always challenges, whether that’s incentives, tax credits or public policy. Every day is a moving target.” For E2 the challenge is what makes this industry fun, and Mike reinforces, “You never know what the day is going to hold.”
National companies offering similar services are E2’s biggest competitors, and often boast bargains to attract homeowners and business owners. E2’s family business attitude and local operations give the company the needed edge to keep up, and offer more in-depth customization service than the big dogs.
In addition, E2 works closely with each customer every step of the way. Starting with design and implementation, E2 collaborates with clients to find a good fit before the installation. The company performs site analyses and explores achievable energy solutions for each unique project. The installation process is guaranteed to be safe, clean and efficient by E2’s team of well-trained and experienced professionals. At the end of the installation process the E2 team walks clients through the main components of the system to ensure proper maintenance and troubleshooting. Aside from an on-site training session, customers receive a printed owner operation and maintenance manual. When the project is finished the company’s staff assists clients in filing incentive and tax credit forms properly to maximize the benefits of an E2-installed solar system.
Solar is a technology that is expected to produce energy for decades, and E2 recognizes the importance of a well-designed and quality solar system. The company’s philosophy is simple: provide the highest quality components, install them to last and make the world a better place while doing it. E2 takes care of each client and their homes or businesses, and customers can expect to realize decades of free solar energy. E2 Solar reflects the core values of a committed team of individuals who strive to make the world a better place.