Solar is bright spot during pandemic

One company is on an early season hiring binge.
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POWERHOME Solar
Rooftop solar panels ensure homeowners have access to power under any circumstances. POWERHOME Solar

As the COVID-19 spread continues to put a stranglehold on businesses, solar installation still is shining through.

POWERHOME Solar, a North Carolina-based residential solar installer with offices in Michigan, has reported new hires in all nine of its coverage areas are up significantly over the past 30 days.

Per Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, which ordered the closing of “nonessential” businesses, solar installation is designated as a utility, and therefore is an essential service.

Ben Brookhart, chief sales officer for POWERHOME, said the spike in hiring is especially surprising considering that late winter/early spring typically is the slowest hiring time of the year for the company.

“It’s crazy how many people are responding to our ads,” Brookhart said. “A lot of people have been let go or are deciding to stay home. They may be potentially looking for a new career in times like these — something with more stability.”

Additionally, uncertainty over the growth of the COVID-19 crisis is leading residents to consider long-term energy sustainability, Brookhart said, which makes an industry like solar survivable even in an economic crisis.

“With our business, we’re offering energy independence,” he said. “In tougher times, people are thinking you have to have power in your home. That’s the thing customers want to make sure they have. When you have solar panels on your roof you are in control of your power.”

POWERHOME still is answering calls from residents to come to their homes and discuss options for solar installations, all while maintaining CDC guidelines for social distancing, Brookhart said.

Brookhart added POWERHOME is practicing social distancing for all of its employees, and all work and training is done remotely. Additionally, the company is breaking up shifts to avoid having too many workers in one place and to prevent the spread of the virus.

POWERHOME currently is hiring for 15 energy consultants and 10 installers for its Grand Rapids office. Job listings are available at https://www.powerhome.com/solar-jobs/.

POWERHOME has more than 50,000 customers through its nine-state footprint, and Michigan is home to its largest customer base, Brookhart said.

“Michiganders absolutely have been open to solar energy for their home,” he said.

POWERHOME recently started offering battery storage through a partnership with Generac Power Systems. The utility soon will offer Generac generators as part of the installation package if the customer chooses.

POWERHOME Solar opened its Grand Rapids office, the first location in West Michigan, in 2018, and in 2019 opened a dedicated commercial division to better serve business clients.

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