Founders : Advanced Energy

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Julie Jones of Solar Earth LLC

How did you start your business?
I’ve been interested in solar energy for a long time. I used to work for a division of Cinergy that developed on-site alternative-energy generation for industrial and municipal areas using greener forms of energy, like co-generation and biomass. I loved the green aspect of what we were doing, but solar wasn’t financially viable at the time. I left Cinergy after having my daughter, but continued to keep an eye on the solar market. Last summer, a friend of mine in the construction industry was talking to me about solar energy and said she wanted to start a solar panel installation company. I knew I could help, and we launched Solar Earth.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?
We did a lot of research into solar energy, and the more we looked, the more the time seemed just right for solar to take off. With the prices of panels dropping and the incentives available, an investment in solar energy will not only pay for itself, but will also make a nice return over the life of the panels.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We were finalist at Bad Girl Ventures, a micro-lending institute that supports female entrepreneurs. As finalists, we completed a nine-week boot camp that taught everything from legal structure to social media. We are also working with American Small Business Centers in Norwood. They counsel small businesses to help them grow and thrive.

What inspires you?
I have to admit I’m a bit of a tree-hugger. The environment and the effects of fossil fuels on the world and the economy are big motivations for me. But, I also love that solar power is a smart financial decision as well as being good for the environment. It really is a win-win.
What is next for your company?
Right now we are planning to host a couple Open Roof events. We are going to invite the public to come and see a solar panel installation in person. People will be able to learn all about solar energy; how it works, how it pays you back, and its incentives and benefits for the environment. Also, people can see how quickly a solar panel array goes up.

Compiled by Robin Donovan

Questions with Julie Jones of Solar Earth LLC