GreenSpark Solar, local green energy company, competes in national competition

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They're competing for $10,000. bragging rights, and putting Rochester on the solar map.

GreenSpark in national competition

GreenSpark is competing for $10,000. bragging rights, and putting Rochester on the solar map.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — GreenSpark Solar, a Rochester-based and Western New York solar energy company, is one of a less than a dozen green energy companies across the nation to compete in the Intersolar North America and Energy Storage North America 2022 Solar Games.

On the line is a $10,000 cash prize, along with bragging rights, of course. Their veteran solar installers Brad McKean, Matt Peown, Zak Richards, and Tony Gabel, will be competing in a series of installation challenges that are graded based on time, quality, and how energy efficient the installation is. January 14 is the last day of the competition.

But GreenSpark Solar is no stranger to challenges, or an uphill climb. Kevin Schulte, CEO of GreenSpark Solar, says that since the company was started back in 2002, it’s faced challenges and multiple stages of reinvention. They actually started as a wind power company.

“Halfway through our lifetime, we watched the price curves from wind and solar,” Schulte said. “(To) where solar became the more cost effective technology.” That transition began in 2011, and now they are a totally solar company.

Schulte believes in his team for many reasons — chiefly from his own confidence, saying “we’re not looking for the sportsmanship award, I told them to win — but also because of their business model.

They work on everything from residential, commercial, and other projects. GreenSpark counts RIT, UR, RRH, and even Heritage Christian Services as clients. Their volume is impressive, as they installed 125,000 panels last year. Schulte also says that the company’s dedication to a green and healthy planet extends to care to its employees.

Schulte says that GreenSpark is a “benefit corporation,” and says that they pay above the market average, and have great benefits. He says this allows him and the company to keep people for a long time, leading to happier and more experienced workforce. That is certainly true for the team of installers: Brad McKean, Matt Peown, Zak Richards, and Tony Gabel.

“My people are everything to what I do,” said Schulte. The GreenSpark team says they will continue to update their social media with progress throughout the competition.

Schulte also says that not only will the prize money be helpful, and a feather in the company’s hat, but it will put Rochester on the map as a leader in solar energy adoption and tech.

“We have a far sunnier climate than we wanna give ourselves credit for,” Schulte said, pointing out that Rochester nearly has the same latitude as Germany, a country that gets 50% of its power from the sun.

What the competition looks like:

The install teams, from across the U.S., will go head-to-head building grid-tied and off-grid residential solar and storage systems. Installer teams will be objectively and rigorously judged on safety, technical accuracy and speed in the installation of grid-tied and off-grid project scenarios. There will be six matchups in the tournament. Each matchup is expected to last 75-90 minutes. The first round will be a grid-tied installation.

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