Last Thursday night at the Clean tech meetup, Cleanstart filled The Workshop with people excited to hear about solar companies in the region.  The Workshop is a new co-working space and incubator in the McKinley Park area, in a former manufacturing building.  Owner, Terry Daffin, did a great job on the conversion. It is beautiful space. Aaron Nitzkin of Solar Roof Dynamics and Anderson Barkow of Box Power talked about their respective companies journey after networking.

Solar Roof Dynamics, is in a very competitive space of residential solar.  They have a unique approach to the market which they want to take nationwide.  They support roofers in in expanding their business to include Solar. Since Roofers know the most about roofs and often already have deep networks in communities Solar Roof Dynamics shows them how they can increase their sales and save their customers money. At the same time, working with roofing companies can cut the customer acquisition cost for solar dramatically. Aaron is pretty confident that roofers will become a dominant channel to market for selling solar installations. Aaron also shared his personal experience in riding the “Solar Roller Coaster” (or the “Solar-Coaster” as he put it) of the constant changing landscape from government incentives, utility rules, and PV supply shocks. A much harder business than most realize.


Anderson talked about BoxPower’s containerized solar PV-powered micro grid.  They have a microgrid that comes in a shipping container that can be delivered anywhere.  The containers that have 22kw of solar PV and 80 kwh of lead-acid battery storage are put in remote areas away from the grid or in disaster areas where the grid power is off for an extended period.  They now have their microgrids in Puerto Rico supporting villages after Hurricane Maria and in remote Alaskan towns that have historically relied on diesel generators for their microgrids.

It was a great event, look for our event next month, where we will discuss EV Charging.


Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

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