The folks at Sun Solar are busy. Multiple projects have led to record growth in the last few months for the solar energy company that has been headquartered in Springfield since 2015.
In-house lending program
“I kept hearing that so many commercial and residential clients just couldn’t qualify for that federal tax credit which made it hard for them to justify the cost of adding solar,” said founder and CEO Caleb Arthur. “It just made sense to fold our leasing program into this program with a bank we know and trust who we knew would support our current and future growth.”
To that end, the company raised more than $20 million in partnership with Old Missouri Bank to start an in-house financing arm to help people who want to take advantage of solar energy but can’t necessarily afford it or don’t qualify for the tax credits. While the company has had a leasing program for the last four years, having the ability to fund loans in-house makes them unique in the Midwest. Arthur underscored the importance of this partnership and the program. “It’s twofold really,” he said. “The bank is supporting us in being able to finance our own commercial and residential customers, but they’re also supporting the growth of our business at the same time. It made me realize that they really see the value in our company and in our industry, and that really makes me happy.”
Donation to STEM school
After officials at the John Thomas School of Discovery, a STEM focused school in Nixa, expressed an interest in acquiring solar panels for the school but wondered if it was cost prohibitive, Caleb Arthur went to work looking for a donation partner. Arthur approached Charlie O’Reilly, former president and CEO of O’Reilly Automotive, and together they donated a solar panel installation to the school. The panels are integrated into the curriculum at the school, with an app that allows students to monitor the energy produced by the panels.
Sun Solar also donated to Eden Village, a tiny house community that serves the unsheltered community in Springfield, in order to help with the project’s goal of complete sustainability.
Exponential corporate growth
Sun Solar added 60 employees in just the past three months and is on track to keep that number rising. The company recently branched out and opened offices in Kansas City and St. Louis and also launched its first operation out of the state of Missouri with the opening of Illinois offices. Turnover at the company has virtually stopped as well. Arthur said all this is a culmination of a larger effort to step back and reassess what the company’s mission and motive really was and to set the company on a winning trajectory.
In its short five years, Sun Solar has completed more than 7,000 commercial and residential solar installations and Arthur sees no signs of a slowdown. “We really got realigned and our sales quadrupled, our turnover rates plummeted,” he said. “Our recruitment also skyrocketed because employees started recruiting others because they just love working for us. It’s just a good feeling to know we can do good for our community and our employees.”
Sun Solar was ranked the #1 residential solar installer in Missouri by Solar Power World Magazine from 2014 through 2020. Arthur is a member of the EIERA which is an appointment position by the Governor and is on his 2nd year term.
Steve Childers to lead city’s key growth initiatives, including Forward SGF.