Renu Energy Solutions
Taking care of people and the environment one panel at a time
Renu Energy Solutions (RENU) has been meeting the demand for solar in the southeast for the past twelve years. They were started in 2010 by Jay Radcliffe , President of Renu Energy Solutions. They live in the areas they work, giving them vital insight into what the community wants and needs out of a solar company. Unlike national solar installers, their solar technicians are employees, helping them to guarantee the highest quality installation and support for their clients. Renu is not just a solar sales organization; they are committed to their customers from the initial install, through inspection, and for years to come. “The Southeast market is prime for the next generation of solar consumers and will leapfrog standalone solar and go straight to solar plus energy storage in a virtual power plant compatible format,” Radcliffe states.
“Our focus is on three primary products,” explains John Sheldon, Director of New Business Capabilities “We prioritize solar systems, backup battery systems, and electric vehicle chargers for residential homes and commercial businesses.” From Charleston along the coastline to Columbia, to Asheville in the mountains, and then up towards Winston Salem, Greensboro, and Raleigh, we have a large footprint here in the Carolinas. We are one of the top five installers in North and South Carolina with over 4,500 installations and counting – and that’s a mix of around 80% residential and 20% commercial.”
Renu focuses on doing right by the industry as well as by the customer. They place their customers at the top point of their golden triangle and then they have the industry and their company at the bottom two points. “We strive to keep things equal,” explains Sheldon, “ That way everybody wins. We can see a win-win situation for most of our customers, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s always in a win-win situation. In those situations, we are transparent to let people know if solar is not financially to their advantage or if it’s not going to meet their goals and objectives.”
Sheldon shares that sometimes customers want a number of things powered beyond what is feasible with the battery system. “Being a good steward in the industry means making sure our customers are properly educated and also making sure that we are aware of the products available and that we know how they work together so that when we install a system, it’s going to be reliable.”
Renu knows their customers need their systems to work for a long period of time. “Oftentimes they’re warranteed for 25 years,” Sheldon continues. “We have a labor warranty of 10 years. So it’s not just set it and forget it. It is essential for us to make sure the parts and the pieces are put together the right way so that they are able to stand the test of time.”
While solar is incredibly reliable, Sheldon says it does require maintenance sometimes. “When you combine the harsh environment on your roof and electricity, things can certainly go wrong. Many customers don’t remember the name of their installer or the names of the products that they’ve purchased. They just call it solar and bundle everything into that name solar,” Sheldon describes.
“The truth is, not all products are the same. Not all installers are the same. So as the industry matures, we hope to raise the education level of the public so that it’s not just one size fits all solar. It really does matter who you choose to be your installer and what products you choose to have installed that makes all the difference,” he adds.
While it is relatively easy for Renu to service the installations they have completed, it is a lot more complicated when dealing with installs that they didn’t complete. Renu started a service business a couple of years ago called Sun Service Specialists because they saw a need from homeowners who installed a system with an installer that is no longer in business.
Before forming Sun Service Specialists, Renu wasn’t able to take on those projects because it was essentially working on somebody else’s installation. That wasn’t in Renu’s best interest because they didn’t know the quality of the work. However, as Sun Service is now its own entity they are designed specifically to take on projects for people who don’t have any other resources available to service their systems. “We’ve partnered with some of the major manufacturers like SolarEdge and Enphase,” states Sheldon, “and several other panel manufacturers like REC and QCell.”
Over the past four years, Renu has grown from 35 employees to 135 employees. “We’ve seen tremendous growth,” Sheldon proudly states. “It is exciting because we control our own destiny. We do our own marketing, our own inside sales, outside sales, our own operations team with project coordinators who support the customer every step of the way.”
While they are able to do a lot in house, they also have a number of key partners that help them thrive. “When it comes to panels, we’re looking at Tesla and their solar roof product, GAF and their Timberline solar shingle, REC and the REC group that has their own solar panels, Hanwha Q Cells,” Sheldon lists. “Those are all different panel manufacturers. We’ve also worked with Sun Power in the past. There are some panels that we feel are more reliable than others, so we prefer to provide those as a leading option to a homeowner. We don’t install the least expensive panels on the market usually, but we do install the most reliable and those with the best value.”
When it comes to other products that complete the system, they use inverters from SolarEdge and Enphase as they are two of the most reputable inverters available. They have racks and rails through Iron Ridge, Quick Mount, and Snap and Rack. Those are very important because they are the connection points to the roof. They collaborate with Greentech Renewables who helps with the warehousing and sourcing of materials. They have ground mounted systems called IronRidge XR and Osprey Powerflatform that don’t require cement blocks to be put into the ground.
The company has quality battery systems from Tesla, Enphase, LG and Generac as well. Moving forward, they are looking into deepening their relationship with a company called SPAN. They offer a smart circuit panel in your garage or on the outside of your house where all the connections are made with all the circuits. Homeowners are able to monitor all the individual loads within the house. It makes things much more efficient.
Sheldon shared that they also have a number of loan providers they work with including Dividend, GreenSky, Mosaic, and Sunlight Financial. A lot of homeowners can use the same as cash loans with 12 or 18 months of no payments and no interest. Customers are able to get the same price point as if it was cash. It’s very attractive for people who have the money, but want the flexibility of time.
Looking ahead, RENU plans to take on more commercial projects that are similar to their installations at New Belgium Brewing, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and CIty of Charlotte. They do a lot of work throughout the Carolinas and they want to continue to deepen their relationships with current partners. “We have some excellent partners and we want those relationships to continue to help us out as we serve our mission of being good stewards of the industry. We are a company that cares and we value having customers who want to advocate for us,” explains Sheldon.
“People want to make sure they’re not making a mistake and feeling reluctant. So in the next three years, we’re going to continue expanding our footprint here in the Carolinas, deepening our footprint in neighborhoods. So you don’t just see one Renu system, you see several Renu systems. And really working to develop our brand as the obvious choice,” he elaborates. “We will do that by making the process simple for people. We are working to grow our commercial work. We plan to continue deepening our current partnerships and bringing on new technology where it’s applicable. That being said, the products we are installing today can work for years to come so that’s already a great choice for our customers.”
RES have a handful of partners working together to share resources in their alliance. They share a desire to accelerate the adoption of solar energy, to expand the industry, and to continue building the reputation of solar – making it not just a mystical thing for the general public.
Renu sees major benefits for consumers through the Inflation Reduction Act. The Federal government has raised the tax credit for installing solar systems from 22% back to 30% – which is where it was for about 10 years in the early two thousands. With that increased tax credit written into law, monthly payments on these solar loans are even lower.
“We strive to be a provider of information from a reputable, trusted resource,” implores Sheldon. “We’re not pushy sales people. We’re consultants. We educate people on their options and then let the homeowner decide for themselves. It works for us – taking care of people and the environment one panel at a time.”
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AT A GLANCE
Renu Energy Solutions
What: A provider of Solar and energy storage technology to a wide client base
Where: Charlotte, North Carolina
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