Interview with Kate Ivers – Solaris Renewables

Updated on August 25, 2023

In today’s interview we have Kate Ivers, Marketing Manager at Solaris Renewables.

| Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself?

<span style="color: #0d64ba;">| </span><b>Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself?</b>I’m Kate Ivers, the Marketing Manager at Solaris Renewables. I’ve been in the solar industry for almost seven years, and I’m really passionate about sustainability. With a background in environmental studies, I was drawn to Solaris because of its clean energy mission and sustainability focus.

| So, was this company your first job in the solar industry?

Yes, it actually was. I concentrated in renewable energy policy at my university. Solaris, formerly RevoluSun, was really interested in me as a candidate and hired me as their marketing assistant, and I’ve just grown into the role further from there.

| Can you talk about your job in the company? 

I manage the company’s social media channels, website, blog, and search engine optimization. I help plan for events and aid the sales team. I do a bit of graphic design. I’m the sole full-time marketer at the company, and we have a couple of part-time interns on a temporary basis. I wear a lot of hats, but it makes it fun, right?

| Yes, I can see there’s a lot going on, on the website. You have a vibrant blog section and a lot more content rich sections for your users. Do you manage everything?

Yes, I manage the website and its content. I get help from interns with drafts and blog post ideas, but overall, I handle most of it.

| How many people do you have at the company?

We have around 49 employees, including engineers, construction managers, installers, electricians, operational roles, sales, marketing, customer service specialists, and more. So we are a full-service solar company.

| Can you talk a bit about the company? Do you know anything about its early days, how it grew to where it is right now?

RevoluSun Massachusetts was mainly started by Matt Powers and Kip George in 2012, who were electricians with a knowledge of local electrical codes. They saw the potential in the growing solar industry in Massachusetts and decided to get involved.

Matt was inspired by RevoluSun Smart Home, a successful solar company in Hawaii, and became a local franchise of RevoluSun in Massachusetts. The goal was to create a premium solar company with aesthetically pleasing installations and high-quality products. In 2023, after a decade of operating under RevoluSun, the company decided to rebrand as Solaris Renewables while continuing its mission with the same team and offerings. The decision allowed us to establish our own unique identity and grow independently.

| Is it true that your company handles both residential and commercial projects?

Yes, though we primarily focus on residential solar projects, accounting for about 95 to 98% of our work. The remaining 2 to 5% involves small-scale commercial projects, such as doctor’s offices, schools, and churches, and more. While we have the capability to handle commercial installations, our expertise lies in providing premium products for residential customers. Premium solar panels uphold sound aesthetics and curb appeal, and are therefore often designed for residential customers.

| What about the products you offer on your website? Are these the products your customers can buy, or are those the one you use in your solar installations? How does that work?

Yes, we have established relationships with manufacturers like Tesla, Maxeon, and Solaria, which provide us with great warranties.  We focus on offering high-performing and aesthetically pleasing panels, avoiding those with visible wiring or bus bars and lower wattage options. We are a full service solar company, so we do not just sell the panels and materials we offer. We design, install, and service solar systems.

| Do you typically advise your clients to consider high-performing and aesthetically pleasing solar panels, like Solaria Solar Panels and Maxeon, even if they have their own vision of what they want to do for their solar project?

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When it comes to advising our customers on solar panel choices, we understand that not everyone cares about the aesthetics of their solar system. While the majority of homeowners do value curb appeal, there are some cases where the visibility of the panels might not be a priority. For instance, if the solar panels are installed on the back of a barn in a backyard where they won’t be seen, customers may not be concerned about the appearance and may prefer other panel options. So, we consider each customer’s specific needs and preferences before recommending solar panel choices.

| Do you carefully select the customers you offer your services to, even among those who approach you asking for the service?

Most of our customers who first approach us are attracted to the aesthetics and quality of our installations, featuring all black panels with no or minimal visible wiring. We take extra steps to ensure our projects look clean from the street, even if it requires more labor.

We believe in leading with premium products and providing exceptional service, which may come with a slightly higher cost than some larger companies. But, our focus on aesthetics and quality has resulted in a high number of referrals from satisfied customers. Our customers value curb appeal, understand the value of solar for their homes, and prioritize the best-looking, high-performing panels. Their friends who they refer typically also value curb appeal.

In appointments, we lead with what we believe is the best option for the homeowner, and let the homeowner decide if it’s really the best option for them. We prioritize high-quality products and go through a thorough vetting process before offering them to customers. Once potential customers see photos of our work and the benefits of choosing premium panels like Maxeon or Solaria, for instance, they are drawn to the idea of going solar with Solaris Renewables. Many of us at Solaris have been here since the beginning and have extensive knowledge and experience in the industry. We are committed to providing excellent customer service and fulfilling warranties, which has resulted in a lot of happy customers who refer their friends to us. We take pride in being a different kind of solar company.

| Do you think about the competition? I mean, you have your way of doing things, and I’m assuming that’s what attracts your customers, and makes them pick you over the competition?

In Massachusetts, there are many solar installers, both local and national, making it a competitive market. To stand out, we chose the premium route, offering five-star service as a local installer. Our products, like Maxeon solar panels, come with incredible warranties, lasting up to 40 years. Our installations prioritize aesthetics and durability, wrapping conduit internally for a clean look. We take the time to ensure the project is completed to the highest standard, just as we would want it for our own home.

When it comes to solar installations, we prioritize longevity and quality. This isn’t something you replace like a pair of pants; it’s meant to last at least 25 years. We use premium products, including hurricane-grade racking and railing technology with fewer roof penetrations. Additionally, we offer roof warranties to ensure our customers’ peace of mind. We take the time to educate our customers about their options, showing them detailed information and photos of our work. We want them to make an informed decision and see the value we provide.

We value our customer reviews, especially on platforms like Yelp, Google, and solarreviews.com. With a 4.8 to 4.9 star rating on Google and over 150 reviews, we have many satisfied customers. Reading the feedback, it’s evident that our customers are delighted with their decision to go solar. Many wish they had done it sooner, as they now enjoy significant savings and embrace eco-friendly options like ductless mini splits and electric vehicles.

| What about the future of your company? Do you have any plans? Are you thinking about it at the moment?

In the future, we plan to maintain our elite status as a top solar contractor and continue offering great products. We recently underwent a rebrand to Solaris Renewables from RevoluSun Massachusetts. However, it was more of a name change, and our procedures, products, and policies remain the same. We aim to expand our product line, especially in the smart home technology space, as the demand for these products is increasing. Currently, we offer smart electric panels, EV chargers, and battery storage. Our customers are often interested in preserving their homes’ integrity, saving money, and contributing to environmental sustainability. We see the growing interest in smart home technologies, and we plan to adapt to meet our customers’ needs in this area.

There’s a lot of potential for solar in Massachusetts. While the state is a solar leader with many installations, there are still so many homes that could benefit from solar power. We believe solar should be everywhere feasible and possible, and we’re passionate about solarizing our neighborhoods and communities.

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