CES Richmond North: Taking the Solar Market by Storm
Picture everything that goes into a major solar project — panels, racking, inverters. Now picture it all coming from one place — City Electric Supply. That’s what happened when Shockoe Solar and City Electric Supply Richmond North teamed up for their latest project: Herod Seeds.
“That’s new, that’s special. I always quote everything, but panels especially are not easy to land. They’re a commodity,” explained CES Richmond North Outside Sales Representative Jason Joyner. “There are a lot of different sources for a lot of different kinds of panels, and of course everyone’s looking for the best price.”
So not only was CES able to supply everything, they were able to beat out some pretty stiff competition, and they owe some of that to REC Solar.
“We have a good relationship with them, and they have incredible-looking panels,” said Joyner. “Those panels look really, really good, especially on residential jobs. They know what homeowners look for — black-on-black, the kind that can blend in with a roof — and they have some of the best-looking panels of that kind out there.”
Another instrumental factor in landing this project? City Electric Supply’s very own Renewable Energies division.
“Like I mentioned before, there are a lot of ways to get a lot of different kinds of panels, and Rob Smith from Renewables was involved in all of that,” said Joyner. “He knows all of the avenues to all of the panels, and he has a lot of contacts. He was right beside me the whole time, making sure everything was correct. He’s been a huge help. Huge.”
When Joyner started at CES, solar was completely new to him. With the experience he’s gotten from working with Shockoe Solar and the help he’s received from people like Rob, that’s no longer the case.
“I didn’t know anything about solar when I started, but I do now. And I’ve gained some really important experience, especially with this project being the biggest we’ve seen,” said Joyner.
The biggest challenge of this project didn’t end up being scale, though. It turned out to be time — figuring out the project, determining the building material. The good news is, it wasn’t anything Joyner and the team at CES Richmond North couldn’t handle.
“It takes time to figure everything out before diving in, but that comes with the territory. That’s how you get the job done well,” said Joyner. “And you know, we still turned it around in about six months.”
Landing such a large solar project was exciting for the branch, but it wasn’t completely out of left field to Joyner, who values a great relationship with Bernie Stanley, the owner of Shockoe Solar, and the rest of that team.
“It sounds cliché, but we really just hit it off. I love working with them. The guys, the personalities. Everyone’s nice, great to work with and learn from. I’ve always enjoyed working with them, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon,” said Joyner.
When asked if he’d taken any time to reflect on how much they accomplished, Joyner was quick to respond to the contrary.
“My mindset is always, ‘What’s next? Let’s go,’” admitted Joyner. “Don’t get me wrong, any time you can make something that big happen at a branch that hasn’t really done anything like it before is definitely exciting, and I’m really happy with how this turned out, but I’m also ready to see what opportunities are still to come.”
And the good news for Joyner is that he probably won’t have to wait long.
“There are already some big things in the works,” added Joyner. “We’re now working on Overbrook, a big development in Richmond, and I’m happy to say there’s even more on the horizon for us.”