How a dog and a dream turned into a leading Arizona solar company
“I love the name Sunny Energy!” – We hear that a lot. We do too. And just about everyone rightfully assumes Sunny is a nod to the sun. It’s actually a beloved dog, with a whole lot of energy.
Sunny was a rescue dog my wife and I adopted in 2002. She was there for the birth of our daughter who she would become best friends with. In my early solar years, 2008 to 2013, she sat under my desk, waiting patiently for me to take her on walks with her unbounded energy. During those walks, I would think a lot about a problem I saw the in the market that I couldn’t shake.
In early 2008, the solar industry started taking off. The promise of affordable, clean energy along with government incentives created a big wave of residential solar. It was clear homeowners wanted clean energy, on their terms. They wanted to break free from utility hikes and get smarter about their energy use. It caused the launch of hundreds of solar companies all trying to capture a new market. Many grew too fast and started going out of business so fast homeowners had nowhere to turn for the warranties they were guaranteed. It didn’t take long for the solar industry to get a bad reputation.
I had been in the industry for 5 years when I decided to do something about it. And Sunny came along for the ride, pushing me with her energy.
I reached out to three others who were in the solar industry and who were also disappointed to see homeowners in our own community let down by companies out to make their own quick fortune instead of serving the homeowners.
Jake, Terry, Joe and I decided to start our own solar business. Joe and I had been in the business for many years so we understood the technology and the business side and Terry and Jake were master electricians and construction experts and were exceptional at installing solar. Together, we believed we could do right by our friends, family and neighbors right here in the Valley.
The idea was simple. We didn’t want to be the biggest solar in Arizona, we wanted to be the best by offering fair pricing, systems designed to maximize the homeowner’s savings, no-corner-cutting installations, and a sustainable business that would be around for decades to come to support our customers and back the promises and guarantees we made.
We needed a name. That part was easy – it had to be Sunny. And, as a nod to both her boundless energy and the powerful impact of solar, we became: Sunny Energy.
We started building a world-class team. We hired locally and offered competitive salaries and bonuses, substantial benefits and 401k with profit sharing. We wanted to take care of our team so they could take care of our customers.
Arizona is our home so we’ve been actively working to educate consumers through educational programs, industry leadership, and involvement in the graduate program at ASU. We also support organizations in our neighborhood and those that are important to our team like Mom’s Pantry, St. Jude’s and the Give Power Foundation.
We believe in solar. We believe in the ability to protect your family, save money, and break free from utility monopolies. We believe homeowners have a better option now thanks to our amazing team.
Today, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners go solar in Arizona. We’ve educated even more. We’ve been honest about when it works for a homeowner and candid when it doesn’t. While Sunny the dog is no longer here, her energy is and our company is thriving.
To this day, our name and her memory still make me smile.