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Bentonville solar firm enters Springfield market

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A 1-year-old Bentonville, Arkansas, solar company chose Springfield for its first satellite office.

Since opening its office at 3042 E. Elm St. on April 17, Shine Solar LLC has performed 15 installation jobs, bringing its workload in southwest Missouri to 20-25, said spokeswoman Jen Johnmeyer.

“They were already getting a lot of calls from this area,” Johnmeyer said of company founders and brothers Caleb and Nick Gorden. “They decided they would just have a staff here.”

Shine Solar employs 10 locally covering all of southwest Missouri. Johnmeyer said local work has all been residential so far, but the company is starting to pursue commercial work.

In the Springfield area, Shine Solar competes with the likes of Sun Solar LLC, Skywire Electrical Systems LLC and newly formed company Simple Solar LLC. Sun Solar and Simple Solar are separately owned by two brothers. Luke Arthur left his brother Caleb’s company in April to create Simple Solar focusing primarily on residential work in the Springfield area. Sun Solar recently topped Springfield Business Journal’s fast-growth Dynamic Dozen awards with 2016 revenue of $23.8 million, an 888 percent increase over $2.4 million in 2014. Skywire Electrical Systems’ projects include Chateau Pensmore.

After posting $980,000 in revenue during 2016, Shine Solar hit $930,000 in sales in January and cleared the $1 million mark in March, said Caleb Gorden. The company now has posted $4.5 million in sales in the 16 months it’s been open.

“It’s really just an untapped market for solar,” he said. “Based on solar prices having dropped and utility prices steadily increasing, we’ve hit the magic spot in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri.

“There’s a hungry audience.”

For Johnmeyer, the position covering public relations work for Shine Solar comes after she was employed for over a year in a similar role at Sun Solar. In October, Johnmeyer, who spoke on behalf of Sun Solar for SBJ’s CEO Roundtable on fast-growth firms, said Shine Solar appealed to her for its turnaround time as quick as a couple weeks, compared with two or three months at other solar firms.

“Sun Solar is a great company, but they were looking to be a huge company,” she said. “I feel like people get lost in the shuffle. I just know how I would be as a customer. I would be worried. I would have concerns.

“This company, they really do talk the talk and walk the walk.”

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