In Caleb Arthur’s mind, he’s donating to nonprofits and individuals-in-need every day the sun shines.
“If I’m gone and dead tomorrow, I’ll still be donating,” he says.
That’s because the CEO of Sun Solar LLC is giving more than money to charities and nonprofits. He’s also donating solar equipment, which he says is a way to give back to the community as a whole by reducing energy usage and teaching others about solar options.
Arthur says the company’s goal every year is to donate $200,000 in cash or solar equipment to charities. In total, Sun Solar has donated over $500,000 of solar panels to nonprofit organizations, such as the Drew Lewis Foundation and Eden Village.
“I think the biggest thing we do for our community is we teach businesses and homeowners how to go solar and save money by doing that, but also help reduce pollution and reduce carbon in our atmosphere,” Arthur says. “I’m not so concerned if people believe in climate change or not, as much as if we’re having a good push toward reducing our carbon footprint.”
His goal is to make solar energy affordable for everyone, which is why most of the solar panel systems are offered through monthly payment plans.
Sun Solar, which generated $19 million in 2018 revenue, has roughly 4,300 customers, and every year, he says the solar equipment saves about $3.5 million of energy usage. The warranty of the equipment is 25 years, which means over the warranty life of the panels, those 4,300 customers will save $87.5 million in energy usage. The company has installed almost 73,000 solar panels since its founding in 2012, according to its website.
Sun Solar recently opened it’s headquarters in Springfield at 2531 N. Patterson Ave. The company has extended into additional markets from its first location in Houston, Missouri, where it had just four employees. Sun Solar also operates in Joplin, Columbia and Olathe, Kansas. Arthur says the company is expanding to St. Louis and Bentonville, Arkansas, before the end of this year.
The company now employs over 100 people at the Springfield headquarters, 17% of whom are military veterans. Arthur says the company is focused on providing better opportunities for U.S. veterans, and he believes the move toward solar energy is one way to do that.
“A lot of our global wars that the United States military participate in are usually around oil and fossil fuels,” he says. “With renewable energy, you don’t need fossil fuels. ... It’s going to save veterans lives and bring our boys home.”
In 2018, Sun Solar also was named one of the few certified Tesla Powerwall installers in Missouri. The company has been selling the battery packs, which stores and runs a house or business on excess energy from solar panels.
Foundations and donor-advised funds are tools to meet charitable goals.