The sun has returned to Seattle. The days are getting longer, and inevitably people are starting to think about solar energy again. As the solar industry heads back into the busy “solar season” for sales and installations, and the events and campaigns start to blur again, I’d like to take a moment to pause and look back at what’s happened to us and solar in Washington over the last twelve months.
Solar is the fastest-growing renewable energy in America. In 2013, solar grew in Washington alone by about 30%, which has been our consistent rate of growth for several years now. Solar grew by more than 40% overall in the U.S., and more solar was installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than the previous 30 years combined. WOW! As for Artisan, we grew by 260% in people and revenue, going form 12 to 32 employees as of April. We reached the 1MW installed solar milestone in September, 2013 – a goal that is a major accomplishment for a small, mostly-residential solar installer. It took us 6 years to hit that number, but it’s only going to take 12 months to hit the 2MW milestone, which we will cross by the end of this summer. So, things are accelerating. We are currently expanding our offices, personnel and service vehicle fleet to keep up.
Our location and management has changed as well. In June of last year, Artisan made the big leap off of Vashon Island to our new home in Seattle’s historic neighborhood of Georgetown. We are more centrally located for our customers and suppliers, which helps us to keep our costs down and return those savings to the consumer. Also in June, Evan and Jason became co-owners of Artisan Electric. They are working beautifully as a team with Evan overseeing the beginning process of projects at the sales and design level, and Jason overseeing buildout, customer exit interviews and annual checkups. Finally, in February of this year, we re-opened an Artisan branch on Vashon and were fortunate enough to hire Thomas Vroom, one of the best electricians and solar installers in Washington State. The majority of Artisan management lives on Vashon, so it feels good to be concentrating on the island again.
Artisan is currently wrapping up the second of two back-to-back Solarize Seattle campaigns with NW SEED and Puget Sound Solar. The campaigns resulted in an incredible 323 contracted solar projects for Seattle over the last 12 months! That’s over 50% of ALL solar PV systems installed in the city during 2013. NW SEED is at it again this year, and will be launching several new solarize campaigns soon.
Thank you to everyone who has gone solar and supports our work, we are extremely grateful. And we thank you for spreading the word as well; we are starting to see more and more customer referrals coming through our website, which speaks to our vision for Artisan more than anything else. Here’s to Washington State and the solar installer community setting more records over the next 12 months! We’ll keep everyone updated.