Who We Are
One of the area’s most reputable renewable energy companies.
Sugar Hollow Solar has earned a reputation for consistently providing clients with high quality renewable energy systems.
We’ve earned this reputation by following a philosophy that simply won’t let us cut corners.
Our team has over 75 years of combined experience helping residences, businesses, and government go solar.
Our office and shop is located just outside of Asheville in Fairview, NC.
Graham Horne: Project Manager / Solar Craftsman
Charlie Nimitz: Crew Leader / Solar Craftsman
Chad Colwell: Project Manager / Solar Craftsman
Chavo Krenek: Operations Manager / Solar Craftsman
Lora Paine: Solar Specialist
Cameron Donnell: Utility Relationship Manager / Permit Manager / System Designer
Phelps Clarke: Managing Partner / Sales Manager / Solar Craftsman
Susan Holland: Solar Specialist
Arthur Dougherty: Service Manager, Solar Craftsman
Gracia O’Neill: Energy Efficiency Manager
Ben Yoke: Sales & Design
Douglas Ager: Managing Partner / Business Development
Kevin Foy: Project Manager / Solar Craftsman
Shayne Peninger: Shop and Fleet Manager / Solar Craftsman
NC Electrical License #31324-I
NC General Contractor License #74015
SC Electrical License #M113905
SC General Contractor License #G119816
Mechanical Contractor License #30384
NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional #101913-002550
Living Wage Certified
We’re also members of the WNC Green Building Council (WNCGBC), the North Carolina Sustainability Energy Association (NCSEA), and the Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA).
Co-founders Phelps Clarke and Douglas Ager are cousins who grew up at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC. When they were younger, they spent a lot of time exploring the creeks and forests of their great-grandparents land and worked on the farm as part of the 4th generation living there.
Growing up steeped in the beauty of the landscape gave them a sense of its fragility and led them on a sustained search to find healthier ways to interact with the land with the hope of creating a more sustainable future. Because of the support the community gave to their relative’s businesses, Douglas and Phelps saw a real future in trying to use the tools of business to change the energy and business paradigms. They are following in the footsteps of other family members who started sustainable agriculture businesses Hickory Nut Gap Meats and Flying Cloud Farm.
Imitate the Trees
13 June 2016
Surrounding a small house and dilapidated barn of the same warm rust-red color stands a grove of trees; tulip poplar and hickory, locust and birch, black gum and massive oaks, each unfolding towards the sky and the mountain cove, sipping warm sun and fresh Appalachia air. On my first lunch break on my first day at work for Sugar Hollow, about three weeks ago, I stood in the driveway, breathing, stretching, and drinking the light. Having been inside all morning, my body was rejoicing in the fresh air and the warm sun. In this moment of reflection on all the new tasks in my day and the faces I’d encountered at work, balanced with the satisfaction of the quiet peace of the sunny space, I felt connected to the trees who also needed sunlight to grow, think and stretch. I realized how the work done at Sugar Hollow Solar is essentially an attempt to imitate the trees. Capturing the sun’s energy and using it to make food and carry out other necessary functions is something trees have been doing for 385 million years. 3.4 billion years ago photosynthetic bacteria appeared on earth and now, in the 21st century, humans also are trying to use sunlight. We’re late in the game, but better late than never! Imitate the trees, that is what solar panels are all about. A SHS co-worker, Chavo Kreneck, explained in more detail what I was catching on to. “Plants”, he said “have been using incoming solar radiation for hundreds of millions of years to turn dirt into energy in the form of food. We are just now figuring out how to do something similar by using the same incoming radiation and utilizing silica (which is basically sand) to create energy in the form of electricity.”
Every house where panels are stuck on the roof is a little bit more tree-like, a little bit more sustainable. If photosynthetic organisms have survived for billions of years, I’d say we’re better off taking a page out of their book than any revolutionary idea a human comes up with today. Our species is young and naïve. What I realized on my first day of work is that what we are doing at Sugar Hollow Solar is not revolutionary, it is ancient, it has been happening since before time was conceived, and it speaks to the wisdom of nature. The insight of all the good people who work here at SHS and others who are investing time and energy in pursing solar energy are inspired partially by a recognition of our responsibility as a species within the web of living things. As humans who have been doing damage to the earth, we must reflect on what we might do to mitigate our impact, to imitate the trees; breath, stretch, grow. We are learning, and solar will help us get there.
Old Tjikko, the world’s oldest living tree, has been converting sunlight into sugar for about 9,550 years, since the last Ice Age! The Norway Spruce lives on the Fulufjället Mountain in the Dalarna province in Sweden.
Reflections of an intern at Sugar Hollow Solar
By Lily Clarke
MAKING SOLAR ENERGY MORE APPROACHABLE
April 28, 2016
We are excited to announce that Sugar Hollow Solar now offers financing for residential solar in North Carolina as well as South Carolina. If we gave you a quote last year and the upfront cost was difficult to manage, but you’re still interested, this might be the way to go!
We understand that the initial cost of installing a system for your home isn’t always feasible, which is why we’ve partnered with Medallion Bank to offer these solar loans in terms of up to 180 months with a competitive APR. The Solar Bundle Loan option keeps you cash-positive by offering a 12 or 18 month same as cash loan with no payments required for the tax credit portion of the loan. The Solar Installment Loan option allows borrowers to apply their tax credits to the loan principal once it is received as a way reduce future monthly payments. There are also no closing costs and prepayment penalties. Both loan programs allow you to utilize any tax credits you may receive for installing the system.
Our team is here to walk you through the whole process, step-by-step. We’ll review your energy needs, create a solar energy plan for your family, and guide you through the process of securing financing, subsidies, and tax credits. You deserve to be self reliant and save money – Sugar Hollow Solar is here to help.
This new financing program helps us fulfill our philosophy of moving our society toward a more sustainable future by making solar energy approachable and affordable for homeowners throughout our region. Our belief is that this new program will lead to an even more energy efficient community that puts less stress on our environment.
SAVING ON SOLAR IN SOUTH CAROLINA
March 30, 2016
Upstate South Carolinians– this blog is for you! We’re excited to announce that current Duke Energy solar rebates and State and Federal tax credits means that there has never been a better time to invest in a solar energy system for your home or business! We have put together the handy infographics below to provide more detailed information; but, what you really need to know is that you can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars over the next few years when you install one of these systems. Not to mention that they can pay themselves back in as little as 2 years for commercial and 6 years for residential when you factor in net-metering credits and monthly energy savings. It’s a win-win-win situation: you save money, add value to the property , and help the environment – all at the same time. But you must act quickly because these incentives won’t be around forever!
Not sure if you can afford a solar system? We have even more exciting news – we are now offering financing for residential solar energy systems with an APR as low as 2.99% and $0 down. Our financing program is available for qualified homeowners with a FICO score as low as 660 and offers 12- and 20-year repayment periods. The program is extremely flexible and designed to make solar energy affordable for your family. Your first 18 monthly payments are interest only payments, giving you time to receive any subsidies or tax credits and apply those amounts to the total borrowed amount. At month 19, your balance is recalculated to keep your monthly payments affordable.
So, Upstate South Carolina, are you ready? Our team is here to walk you through the whole process, step-by-step. We’ll review your energy needs, create a solar energy plan for your family, and guide you through the process of securing financing, subsidies, and tax credits. You deserve to be self reliant and save money – Sugar Hollow Solar is here to help. Contact us today to get started.
WHAT IS NET-METERING?
February 18, 2016
If you’re new to the concept of solar energy, one of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle to understand is how installing a solar energy system actually saves you money. We all know it’s great for the environment. We know that the sun is a completely free source of energy. But, what can be tough to make sense of is how solar energy reduces your monthly electric bill. The process, called net-metering, is actually pretty simple and straight-forward.
Wouldn’t you love to see your electric meter run backwards each month? That’s how net-metering works. The process is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, your home’s rooftop system may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If your home is net-metered, your meter will run in reverse on bright and sunny days and actually provide a credit against what is consumed at night or other periods when your electricity use exceeds your system’s output. Since you’ll still need to use the grid at night and on cloudy days, you’ll still have a bill from the power company each month. But, you are only billed for your “net” energy use each month. The extra electricity that is generated by your home or commercial solar energy system is used to supply power to your neighbors and the surrounding community.
Before net-metering, your solar energy system would have used batteries to store the energy it created. Batteries were expensive, required regular maintenance, and had to be replaced after a set number of years. Now, with net-metering, your home or business can be battery free – saving you time and money over the life of the system.
Net-metering allows you to create your own electricity – cleanly and efficiently. And, it helps reduce your reliance on the grid and your monthly energy bill. Want to know something that’s even more cool about net-metering? The process actually helps to keep the electric grid safe for everyone and minimizes the total number of power plants that are needed by reducing the strain on distribution centers during peak times and enabling the power created from your home or business to offset an increase in demand from your neighbors. Long term net-metering can also help reduce the amount of energy lost in long-distance electricity transmission. And, studies also show that net-metered homes and businesses are much more aware of their electricity usage and reduce their usage, overall.
Like most things, net-metering isn’t all happy go lucky. Some opponents of net-metering argue that crediting solar energy owners for the energy they generate for the grid is unfair because the rate net-metered homes and businesses are credited is higher than the rate most utility companies pay for electricity at their wholesale cost. There’s also the issue of a home or business owner making money off the power company by producing more than it needs during a given time, although most states have eliminated this problem by putting a cap or limit on the amount a customer can offset their home’s energy usage through net-metering. Others say that net-metering creates an unnecessary strain on the administrative services of the power company, causing them to hire more staff and raise prices for everyone.
Our team at Sugar Hollow Solar is ready to discuss your specific needs and talk to you about how net-metering may or may not be the best option for your home or business. Contact us today!