About Sunlight Electric
Sunlight Electric is Northern California’s premier designer and retailer of commercial photovoltaic systems with a major focus on sustainable food, beverage, and agriculture-related market sectors as well as deep experience in solutions for retail, corporate office parks, auto retailing, and refrigerated warehousing.
Headquartered in Sonoma, Sunlight Electric focuses exclusively on commercial solar power systems, under the firm belief that by focusing on the commercial sector we can deliver better service to our commercial customers and leverage our expertise that comes from understanding commercial customers’ needs.
Rob Erlichman, Sunlight Electric’s Founder & President: “I started Sunlight Electric in 2002 when I was researching solar power for my home in San Francisco and was amazed and disappointed by what seemed like a remarkably poor level of service. Nine of twelve Bay Area solar companies I contacted never returned my calls and I felt like I couldn’t get straight answers out of the three that I did talk to. I knew that if solar power was going to succeed as a mainstream technology, some things had to change.”
Sunlight Electric was founded in 2002 under the belief that better solutions and better service would help speed the adoption of solar power technologies – one of a number of critical energy solutions that would play an increasingly important role in reducing greenhouse gases and creating greater energy security.
Over 20 years later, the market has spoken. Sunlight Electric has served to lead Northern California businesses, coming up with innovative solutions that overcome the obstacles that seemed to rule out solar power for our customers based on discussions with other vendors.
From the start – with our proprietary sizing tools that enable us to justify smaller systems with a higher return on investment – to the finish and thereafter – with our ongoing monthly reporting of system performance to ensure accountability, Sunlight Electric is committed to making sure our customers feel 100% confident about their transition to clean energy.
Time and time again, we encounter interested business owners that tell us the same thing, “We talked to Solar Company X but weren’t satisfied with what they proposed.” We find we succeed where others failed for two reasons.
First, is that we recognize each customer’s needs are different and take the time to explore a range of solutions that could best fit our customers’ needs. Whether it’s our pioneering work developing standards for solar over septic fields at three Napa wineries, our unique solution for a custom trellis on a13-story roof for Mercy Housing in Sacramento, or our sourcing of novel carports that fit the design aesthetic at The North Face’s four-building campus in Alameda, customers appreciate our can-do approach, creative problem solving, and drive to get a project done, despite the challenges and obstacles.
Second, our understanding of the range of financing solutions and the pros and cons of each and that we’ve specifically chosen to not “productize” external financing as our own leaves us free to provide objective and informed counsel to our clients on the best way to save money. In other words, we consider our success a function of our customers’ success, and we truly want them to have the best deal, not just the easiest deal for us to sell them.
We’ve built our business model around value creation for our customers, not investors. Sunlight Electric is a private company with no outside investors, no debt, and no one to answer to except our customers and employees.
Since 2002, we’ve seen solar integrators come and go. Those that have failed put their own needs, and their investors’ needs, ahead of their customers’ needs. With the benefit of hindsight, those solar integrators gambled with investors’ money at the expense of their customers, leaving their customers with no warranty coverage and no one to service their systems. We’ve also seen solar panel and inverter manufacturers come and go. Since 2009, over 100 solar product manufacturers have failed, leaving those who were advised to buy their products with no warranties. Nearly every choice a solar integrator makes ultimately determines their fate and the long-term success of their customers’ projects.
Sunlight Electric makes quality choices in design, engineering, sourcing, and implementation with an eye on building projects that will deliver value month after month and year after year.
Service, Solutions, and Value – what we’re doing to make solar simple.