By Connor Buestad (Freelance Media Specialist)
During Day 2 of Intersolar, we showed appreciation for some of our most valued customers and partners, and also actively communicated with new sales prospects how Stion delivers “Simply Better” products and services.
The morning began early with a 7:30 AM executive breakfast at The Cavalier in downtown San Francisco, a James Beard award winning restaurant which is part of the new wave of modern British cuisine sweeping through major U.S. cities. Customers from across the country joined us to reflect on some of our recently completed projects, and the event also sparked ideas about what sort of opportunities are on the horizon. The event was a great opportunity for Stion VP of Sales Jim McGrath and his team to introduce customers from different market segments and regions to each other, and share best practices and experiences from the field.
In the evening, we responded to the groundswell of interest in Stion products and services by staging a “Simply Better” beer tasting and pub food dinner at the iconic 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. Stion strives to be “Simply Better” in all aspects of its business, and we felt the Bay Area’s top-rated independent brewery was a great partner to help display the company’s dynamic, up-and-coming culture, and our unwavering commitment to customer service and quality.
One of our longest tenured and most loyal customers we were able to catch up with on Day 2 of Intersolar was HNU Energy based out of Kahului, Hawaii on the island of Maui. One of the largest and most established installers in all of Hawaii, HNU is unique in that it is a complete energy solution provider and engineering firm. Their distinguished team of engineers specialize in renewable energy generation, energy storage, and high-efficiency lighting products for all types of residential and commercial projects.
HNU’s president, Michael Reiley, flew in from the islands to check in on Intersolar and stay up to date on where the solar industry is moving. For Reiley, Intersolar also serves as a means to confirm that his team is using the best materials for the most effective return on projects. He has used Stion thin-film modules for various projects in Hawaii, and we are happy to report he plans to continue to do so.
It is well documented that Stion’s thin-film module outperforms other modules in extreme heat, and that is exactly what Reiley is faced with when building solar projects in island climates. Founded by Ph.D. scientists from the optical industry, HNU also has a passion for new materials technologies and realizes how thin film can help them achieve their ultimate vision of lowest installed cost. “I love working with Stion products,” explained Reiley. “HNU is very focused on progressing the industry and trying out new and improved technology and that has led us to using Stion. Their products results speak for themselves, so it just makes sense to keep working with them, especially in a warm climate.”
On Maui, Stion and HNU have had particular success with carports and commercial rooftops which highlight Stion’s combination of aesthetics and performance. In the upcoming weeks you’ll be seeing more announcements on some of the major projects we have closed recently. One project in particular that Reiley and HNU are particularly proud of is at the (sort of) nearby island of Guam, at the University of Guam. The solar project included various types of solar modules, including Stion’s thin-film. According to Reiley, researchers at the University found that Stion’s panels outperformed the competition. “It was no surprise to me,” Reiley said when asked about the results. “I work with Stion thin-film for a reason and that is because I believe in it.”
Looking ahead, we are excited to continue working with HNU and the full-service installation capabilities that they offer. We also love how they are pushing the trend of battery storage forward. If we have learned anything from the buzz around Tesla’s Powerwall at Intersolar, it is that storing excess power for re-distribution is paramount to the future of Solar. It is nice to know our partner HNU is also a leader in this movement.
Another partner that Stion was able to touch base with on Day 2 of Intersolar was, Civic Solar, the premier online distributor in the solar industry. With offices in Boston and San Francisco, Civic Solar offers a comprehensive selection of solar modules and balance-of-systems from the industries leading manufacturers. They serve a wide range of small and medium installers as well as the DIY market using a grass roots sales and marketing approach and a unique Internet-only purchasing platform. Despite the broad range of choices available, installers are increasingly asking for Stion thin-film.
“When I’m discussing potential projects with installers, they often ask me for a sleek looking, American made product that gets great ROI,” explained Emmett Miranker, an account manager. “My answer is usually, ‘Stion.’”
Civic Solar is known for coupling our frameless modules with top-of-the-line mounting systems that secure Stion products in all environments. Thus, this has been a great partnership for us, as Civic is able to fulfill the increasing demand of American made thin-film among industry installers.
At the end of the evening, Stion’s VP of Business Development & Marketing, Frank Yang, addressed the packed house at 21st Amendment and provided a couple of exciting updates, including further expansion of the factory to meet demand via an equipment financing transaction with AVACO in Korea, as well as some new multi-megawatt projects on the horizon.
“Intersolar has been a great opportunity to highlight the broad acceptance of Stion technology across different applications and markets, and today’s events were a great way to thank all the different customers and partners who help make us “Simply Better”,” said Yang. “We take very seriously our commitments to and relationships with all of our key stakeholders, and amidst the current economic chaos in China, customers should feel like they can still look to a stable and trustworthy U.S. alternative here at Stion, as well as the best looking and best performing modules in the industry.”