News Column

Solar Company in San Diego Plans To Hire 100 in 2012

Feb. 23, 2012

Eric Wolff

A La Jolla solar company will hire 100 sales, training, and technical staff in the next 12 months, the company said Wednesday at an event in Rancho Penasquitos.

OneRoof Energy will quadruple its staff of 31 as it makes a move into a burgeoning solar lease market, and it's adding employees quickly to meet demand.

In November, leasing, which allows homeowners to go solar with no money down, surpassed purchases as the most popular way to install solar in San Diego County, according to data from the California Solar Initiative.

The new company hopes to leverage its access to "solar shingles" that integrate directly into the roof, to lever itself into the increasingly competitive field.

On Wednesday, the company flipped the switch on a Rancho Penasquitos home featuring its first financed "solar shingle" customer at an event with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and CleanTECH San Diego executive vice president Holly Smithson.

"We expect to hit 1,000 sales by mid-summer," said David Field, OneRoof's president and CEO.

The company is trying to make its mark by using solar shingles built directly into the roof. The shingles are 3 percent less efficient than traditional solar panels, but they reduce the visual impact.

Solar leasing functions as a business model, thanks to a 30 percent federal tax credit for installing renewable generation and the ability to depreciate the equipment quickly on tax forms.

Individual residential customers often can't tap both of those benefits fully (depending on their income). But companies like OneRoof or industry leader SunRun, which is based in San Francisco, work with investors and banks who can take advantage of those benefits. OneRoof raised $50 million to finance leasing from U.S. Bank, Black Coral Capital, and Hanwha International.

OneRoof's specialty is in training roofers to do the solar installations, and then maintaining the systems themselves.

"We take the money out over 20 years," Field said. "So we have to maintain and keep the systems up over that time."

This story has been changed from it's original posting. OneRoof Energy has 31 employees. The original story said 21. We apologize.

Call staff writer Eric Wolff at 760-303-1927, follow him on Twitter at ericwolff or find him on Facebook at facebook.com/NCTHousing.



Source: (c) 2012 the North County Times (Escondido, Calif.)