Corporations can control the oil fields, coal mines, and nuclear reactors, but they cannot control access to solar energy. Despite considerable pushback from Big Oil and many other corporations against green, renewable energy sources, solar energy is here to stay. PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart has made it his mission to deliver energy savings to communities all across the country. Read below to learn how.
Renewable energy options such as solar and photovoltaic energy systems are typically accessible only to the rich and affluent. Only those who can afford the considerable installation and maintenance costs of most renewable energy-based systems can enjoy their long-term benefits. The cost-savings of energy-efficient homes are well established, but across the vast majority of communities in the United States, only the wealthy have enjoyed these savings. PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart is on a mission to democratize access to clean, green solar energy for everyone. In the process, by making it easier for marginalized communities to invest in and participate in the business of energy, Mr. Neyhart is transforming communities as well, one locality at a time.
How PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart Founded the Company
Hurricane Katrina was a large, Category-5 Atlantic hurricane that struck the south-eastern United States in 2005. It caused approximately $125 billion of damages ad is tied with Hurricane Harvey as the costliest Atlantic hurricane of all time. Katrina was particularly hard on low-income communities living throughout New Orleans, 80% of which was flooded during the storm.
As the city rebuilt, local residents had the perfect opportunity to construct homes that were better, more efficient, and more affordable. Unfortunately, most of the dozen or so programs launched to aid the rebuilding effort were only accessible to wealthy locals. Low-to-moderate income families, unable to afford home upgrades, were left to fend for themselves.
PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart saw the opportunity to help these disadvantaged families rebuild their homes and get their lives back on track, and that is how PosiGen was born.
Nurturing Inclusion and Access at PosiGen and Beyond
To bring about meaningful, long-lasting change, however, the new PosiGen CEO had to do things a little differently. Adopting existing solar energy models that were aimed at wealthier target markets would simply worsen the problem. To bring solar and energy efficiency to lower-income communities, it had to be sold to them in a fundamentally different way. The only business model that made sense was to base sales on savings. Only if a customer will save money by going solar paired with energy efficiency upgrades will they install a solar system.
By focusing on the customer’s savings, not the company’s profits, PosiGen quickly gained traction. People are less reluctant to take the plunge with a new system or a new way of doing things if they know it will make their lives better. With this value proposition in place, PosiGen quickly grew, and the company now installs thousands of solar systems every year, pairing each of those systems with energy efficiency upgrades, which results in considerable savings to families who most need it all across the country.
With PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart’s vision of solar power and energy efficiency for all, the company strives to make solar and energy efficiency affordable and easy to access, particularly to low-to-moderate income communities and communities of color. What makes PosiGen’s approach different, however, is how it democratizes inclusion and access.
Improving inclusion and access is part of how everything works at PosiGen. This applies not just to selecting target markets but hiring, training, and giving back to the community as well.
For example, the company’s solar leasing program makes it possible for families in disadvantaged communities to invest in their homes and save on their energy expenses. Home modification plans are also customized to help PosiGen’s customers live in better, safer, and cleaner homes. Finally, inclusion and access play big roles in how diversity and the strengths of different communities are nurtured and given room and the opportunity to grow within the company. Over 65% of PosiGen’s employees are women or people of color. By helping high-need communities save money, these customers and team workers can put their savings right back into their local economy, supporting local businesses and initiatives.
PosiGen’s Results Over the Long-Haul
PosiGen’s results speak for themselves. The company has installed over 18,000 solar systems all across the country. By using creative, user-focused programs and solutions, PosiGen and CEO Thomas Neyhart are delivering real savings to their customers.
Onboarding with PosiGen is simple. PosiGen’s engineering and sales teams handle everything from design, permits, approvals, installation, and inspection so that the client’s brand-new solar system can be activated as quickly and easily as possible.
Also, by installing a two-directional meter – one that can handle electrical intake from the grid and solar energy produced at home – customer homes always use solar energy when it is available. Only if the power generated does not meet the client’s energy demand will additional energy be delivered from the grid. On days when the installed panels produce more energy than needed by the home, excess energy is directly delivered to the grid in return for credits. These credits can be used to pay for electricity from the grid to meet future energy demands.
Over the long run, the compounded savings of this model are significant. PosiGen’s customers have used their savings for everything from opening new businesses to sending their kids to school to going on vacation and having more to spend while shopping. All of these are local savings and benefits that are not only good for communities but the planet as well.
A simple reorientation of focus from company profits to the well-being of users and customers has helped PosiGen CEO Thomas Neyhart make a real impact on the lives of tens of thousands of customers. As the company forges ahead, Thomas Neyhart will continue to improve inclusion and access and deliver cost savings to customers across the country via better, simpler, and more equitable access to solar energy for all.
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