The Future of Clean Energy
Renogy was launched in 2010 by then student, Yi Li. In the short time since its inception, this very consumer-friendly company has grown dramatically, and prides itself on providing new and innovative solar products to the market while taking the time to educate the public on the many benefits of using solar energy.
Renogy’s dedication to its customers and to education is nothing short of impressive. The company would like everyone to know independence through the use of solar energy; that is what motivates this company to continue finding new affordable easy-to-use solar solutions to meet every day needs. Through education, affordability and reliability, Renogy’s goal is to make clean energy a lifestyle for everyone.
“When you hear the term ‘solar company’ the first thing that comes to mind is solar for your home. Renogy’s major difference as a solar company is the unique off-grid solar kits we offer and DIY solar kits that allow anyone to literally create and install a solar system without professional help,” explains Yi Li, Founder and CEO of Renogy.
What first started as a small student-run business has now expanded to include two offices, 32 employees in the US, and 12 employees in China. Even in tough economic times, the company’s revenue has increased approximately 85 percent from 2014 to 2015. And in 2015, Renogy was able to increase building size from an 11,000 square foot building to over 50,000 square feet, with its retail customer size growing to 30,000.
The idea for the company was planted when an unplanned online sale endeavor produced an unexpected interest in solar panels. “While attending Louisiana State University, I was working with a solar company that did solely B2B business. When a custom order for a mass amount of 30W panel was cancelled, I decided to sell the stock on eBay and was surprised at the amount of buyers I received. I then realized there was a consumer market for off-grid solar,” says Li.
Renogy’s dedication to creating innovative solar systems that fill a void in the solar needs of consumers is what sets the firm apart. Given how approximately 50 percent of Renogy’s business is conducted online, the team has amassed a large database of information that paints a good picture of what consumers need and want when it comes to solar. With this information, Renogy has worked hard at developing systems that meet those needs. This is definitely one of Renogy’s greatest strengths.
“Online business helps us from all kinds of aspects, but especially via feedback. We’re able to closely interact with customers and engage their opinions – we use live online chats, forums, blogs and social media in order to understand their needs. In a way, they are not just customers; they are more like partners of Renogy,” Li explains. “They help with our marketing, product improvement and quality control.”
Along with its databases, Renogy uses its extensive pool of knowledge on solar solutions to create solar kits that are not only efficient, but optimized for best value. In the process, the company has created a calculator that enables it to develop multiple-level components that people can put together themselves. This unique concept helps make solar systems accessible to everyone.
“Renogy designs a solar system like Lego components; any complicated systems are actually made of a linear combination of the components. Renogy offers a different and more flexible way to utilize what everyone in the world uses – energy,” explains Li, adding, “I do believe that we are one of the very few companies that develop plug-and-play solar systems.”
A “plug-and-play” system is one that requires little to no tools to operate; it is a system that comes ready to use – all you have to do is plug it in.
Renogy’s most popular products are off-grid kits, ranging from 50 watts to 800 watts, which have less power than a residential system but more power than a standard off-grid solar item. But Renogy has supplied panels to be installed all around the world. Some of its most significant works include 4.6MW in Madrid, Spain; 6MW in Albacete, Spain; 6MW in Amareleja, Portugal; 600KW in Milano, Italy; 2.18MW in Nishiki, Japan and 1.2MW in Saga, Japan. “Our largest current upcoming project is in Southern California for 750KW roof-mounted [panels]on a private high school,” adds Li.
There are, of course, always new upcoming products to look forward to, with the latest including the firm’s element series which contains three products: Lycan Powerbox, Phoenix Generator and Nix Speaker, which are both large and small plug-and-play solar generators and a solar speaker for outdoor entertainment.
What truly makes Renogy a special company is the emphasis the company puts into education. In fact, educating consumers is an important factor in Renogy’s approach. Renogy even goes that extra mile by working with schools, educating youngsters about the benefits of renewable energy.
Recently, Renogy has developed a new website boasting many new educational features to give customers an understanding of how solar works, since there are so many misconceptions in the solar industry. The content is divided into different sections covering popular topics in the solar industry such as solar panels, energy and power, and system sizing, to name a few. FAQs are also offered, as well as downloadable guides and video tips showing hands-on work with Renogy products.
Regardless of what new innovative products Renogy has to offer, the team plans to continue making itself available to educate and guide new-to-solar customers by providing extensive, easy to follow instructions on its website and YouTube channel.
Dedicated to its customers, Renogy also sees the importance in training its service departments to ensure that they are able to answer any question customers may have. “Feel free to call our service departments at any time and they will make sure all your questions are answered. They won’t end the call until you are completely satisfied with the products and service you are receiving,” says Li.
The most challenging aspect to the solar energy market is convincing people that it’s a lot easier than they think it is. “People still have the mindset that solar is very daunting and expensive or very high-tech, and that it requires a lot of professional help. But it’s not that difficult. It is affordable, and very easy to understand,” says Li.
What some people may not realize is that solar systems are not limited to sunny locations; solar systems can also be very effective in seasonal winter climates. Weather does plays an important role in the performance of a solar system, especially when the solar system is set up on the roof of a house at a fixed angle. Overall, however, even though different regions have varying radiation, most areas see an average of around five hours of peak sunshine every day; even if there is less solar power generated in winter months (at least 30 percent less), the solar generated in summer months will compensate, making the installation of a solar energy system a sound choice.
Certainly, there continues to be a growing demand for off-grid solar systems. More and more people are realizing their worth, as a long-term cost-cutting measure for their power bill, as an earth-friendly alternative, and/or as a back-up in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes. “When disaster or anything unexpected hits, solar offers a solution that can support our daily life,” adds Li.
Because Renogy’s off-grid kits are specially designed for certain applications – and are customizable – they give consumers the freedom to do just about anything with their solar kits. This gives Renogy a competitive edge in the consumer market. “I believe consumers really like to be in control of their power; it gives them a lot of freedom to go anywhere and do anything,” explains Li.
At Renogy, the team believes in the future of clean energy. “I currently have Renogy solar panels installed on my home, not because I am the CEO of the company, but because I truly believe in the quality of our products and the service we provide to our customers,” explains Li. “Renogy does not sell products unless the entire company is comfortable with using them on a daily basis.”
The future is looking bright for Renogy, with continued plans to expand its off-grid solar products by moving into the consumer electronics market and providing clean energy as a plug-and-play solution. And there’s no ruling out the possibility of Renogy expanding into the on-grid markets as well. As Li explains, “Even in on-grid markets, we can see that there are many consumer needs that aren’t being met by what is presently available.”