Running on Sunshine
Paradise Energy Solutions
Energy makes our world go round, and joining the new wave of cost- and environmentally-conscious consumers who are investing in solar power could be just what your budget needs. After all, as Leonard Cohen reminds us, the sun does pour down like honey, and the benefits of incorporating solar energy into your power supply chain could prove a much sweeter deal than expected.
For farmers, all types of businesses, and homeowners in need of turnkey grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) solar installations, Paradise Energy Solutions is the answer. This team has more than one thousand installations of all sizes on its books and specializes in grid-tied solar panel systems that come with substantial guarantees.
The company’s abundance of knowledge and expertise is also shared as the team takes every project from consultation to installation, handover and beyond. The company takes its mission of helping people so seriously that its core solar energy offering is secondary to being a partner of substance and assisting clients in making the best choices for their own prosperity. Chief Executive Officer Dale Good confirms that committing to this legacy of stewardship is imperative. To achieve these ideals, the renewable energy leader holds itself to high standards and is acutely aware of how its work affects others.
Client feedback is regularly analyzed so that the company can adapt to its clients’ needs. It runs lean operations and advocates cost-containment strategies that keep costs low without the risk of damaging future growth. “We prefer to ‘wow’ customers with a project that over-performs than over-promise and have a disappointed client,” Dale says.
Company headquarters are in Pennsylvania with branches in New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio. It also works in New Jersey and Delaware. Each branch is staffed with solar consultants, project managers, and installation crews whereas estimating and design functions are centralized. This operation structure allows every team member easy access to the company’s subject matter experts. In addition, every project the team sells comes with their industry leading Triple Ten Guarantee. This includes ten years of guaranteed production, a workmanship warranty, and system monitoring. The team also takes care of all grant applications, permitting, and other paperwork required during the installation process.
“We have more highly trained technicians and staff now than ever before, and it remains our focus to have a continuous learning environment. There are best practices that we have developed and implemented across all of our branches, and we encourage innovation within the parameters of our expectations,” says Dale. The company offers a lot of training to ensure that all its staff stay on par with industry standards.
From when it was founded in 2009, the business grew from the four Beiler brothers to around seventy employees, and while it has seen a lot of refinement of its methods during its nearly ten years of operation, its emphasis on quality and exceptional service are the same as when it started.
There is certainly nothing average about this company, including its history. After working in construction and starting a stone masonry business, one of the four Beiler brothers, Marcus, had the idea to start the business. Shortly after, he decided to go on a two-year mission to Romania. He left his three brothers, Tim, Matthew, and Jason to run the start-up. They still tease Marcus for giving them the idea and then leaving them to do the hard work of building the company.
“The brothers’ first solar panels were fitted on their chicken house. In this way, they started building the business in the farming community,” says Director of Estimating Larry Beiler. Larry is also chair of the research and development committee and was one of the company’s first employees when it worked from a little room in the family’s farmhouse. “It was hard in the beginning, but in the end, it was worth it,” Larry adds.
The youngest brother and chairman of the board, Tim, met his future wife in Romania while visiting Marcus and his family. Marcus later headed the company’s sales department before joining a non-profit organization that supports troubled teenagers. The company’s generosity of spirit also extends to its greater community and ten percent of its income is donated to non-profit organizations and faith-based charities.
Paradise Energy Solutions (PES) makes no secret of the fact that its core values are rooted in its faith and apart from integrity, innovation, and teamwork it also holds stewardship in very high regard throughout its branches. “Some fear touching on these values, but to us, they are vital and really enable everything else to work well and flourish. These values require us to love and care about people and serve each other. Often people seem to think they can segregate life into segments, but we really don’t think that works well. We bring our whole self to work every day, our skills, our joys, our problems, our flaws, our faith. So our culture is pretty unique, and we don’t shy away from that fact. Instead, we embrace it,” says Dale.
When it comes to choosing equipment, discernment is its weapon of choice. “We are selective with vendors because we want the most reliable products for our clients, plus solid, stable companies that can back up their often long product warranties,” adds Dale. Dale Good was previously a representative of a mining and manufacturing client of Paradise Energy Solutions. He joined the team four years later in 2015.
“It was a great experience. In fact, there are a few of us here who worked for that company, including two other members of our leadership team,” he says. “It is so enjoyable to get out and talk to our clients. I recall staffing our exhibit at a trade show where a client and his spouse thanked me for their experience. They mentioned a Christmas gift they had received from us two years after we had installed their system. They said they had never worked with any company like PES in their entire lives,” Dale says. “That is just very gratifying.”
Since its inception, the business has weathered many storms, but has grown significantly despite the challenges and a twenty to twenty-five percent growth rate is projected for 2019. “While it is still a small part of our business, we want to quadruple our revenue from our operations and maintenance department in the next year,” says Dale.
His advice for young start-ups is to find a purpose beyond profit and be clear about what profit is to them. He also recommends being very discerning in choosing teammates and recommends hiring for attitude and culture fit rather than just for skills. Dale also warns not sacrificing long-term success for short-term gains.
“Our company is still small, but going from four employees to seventy had some speed bumps. So stay humble, build a great team, and be willing to laugh at yourself,” he says. Moreover, Dale suggests getting a professional business coach early on as this can save you a lot of time and money by avoiding mistakes.
The solar market is known in-house as the ‘solar-coaster’ for its mercurial trends. However, the company is committed to installing sixty megawatts (MW) of solar power systems by 2020. “The solar market is a wild ride. It is heavily impacted by incentives, government policies, grant programs, and normal things like interest rates and supply and demand. We think the future of solar is very bright, no pun intended,” Dale says.
With wild rides can come wild success, and the company has been recognized by Solar Power World Magazine as one of the USA’s top five hundred installers of solar systems for several years. It has also won one of Pennsylvania’s ‘best places to work’ awards two years running and was noted as one of the state’s fifty fastest-growing companies in 2016. Both awards are from the Central Penn Business Journal.
Despite all the accolades, being in the limelight is not what drives this team. “We are much more comfortable with the concept of gratitude. But some of these award processes provided great feedback, so we went ahead with them. We want future employees, vendors, and clients to know a little bit about who we are so they can determine if they want to be part of the PES story,” says Dale.
And there have been incredible achievements over the years, including a unique installation it did for Cope Company Salt in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on a slightly arched, rubber shingle roof. Its largest project of 2017 was a 629.97-kilowatt installation for nuCamp RV in Ohio. Another exceptional project was the two installations it did for Raytec LLC, Pennsylvania. The first of which was a 273.42-kilowatt system that it put in in 2016, and the second in May 2018, which was also its one-thousandth installation, was a 150.48-kilowatt system.
It looks like solar energy could power our futures, and with the price of energy storage and photovoltaic panels slowly falling, the company predicts that distributed power networks may eventually become the most economical option. These networks consist of individual solar systems that can be linked but also include self-contained systems that come complete with energy storage.
Paradise Energy Solutions is a big advocate of free market trade, and for this reason, recommends the independence that distributed energy generation offers. For the same reason, Charles Fox, vice president of sales, suggests the company’s services over those of subcontractors. According to him, project owners can save much more money over the lifespan of a system by not opting for subcontractor installations. While subcontractors may save costs early on, the long-term benefits of employing Paradise Energy Solutions far outweigh short-term savings.
“Due to solar’s technical nature, the same company that sells the project should install, operate, and maintain it. This provides the greatest experience and value over time. The finger can squarely be pointed at us if the solar project does not perform as expected, and we have the opportunity to get better in every phase of the process,” says Charles.
For this company, winning is not about the money, but rather about having as many raving fans of its work and solar power as possible. One thing is certain, this team is going to let its light shine.