Changing times call for new technology, and this is especially true when it comes to the pressure many businesses feel in their search for a more sustainable energy strategy that is also economical. As “green” best practices become mainstream and government incentives grow, the search for an easy-to-implement and cost-effective renewable energy plan has become top priority for organizations across many industries.
Recent developments in solar technology have made it easier and more affordable than ever to harness the power of the sun for even the most energy-intensive business processes. Despite these advancements, however, the barriers to solar projects can be formidable—a rapidly changing industry, complex government policies, and competing business priorities, to name a few.
Novel Energy Solutions (NES) works to remove these barriers and make solar technology available to businesses, residences and non-profits. They offer solar solutions to their customers at financially viable prices ($0 down and immediately cash flow positive) and stay involved with all steps of the installation and financing in order to ensure quality and value throughout the entire process.
A Home-Grown Beginning
NES was founded in 2012 by Cliff Kaehler, a Georgetown University alumni and 5th generation cattle farmer from St. Charles, Minnesota, his parents and a family friend. After working in the Power and Renewables department of the investment bank Credit Suisse, Cliff returned to his home state. He credits much of his success to his farm life background, which helped him identify the opportunities that solar energy brings to farmers in terms of sustainability and improving their profitability. His company’s first deal, in fact, was with a family friend with whom his family had done business with since the 1930s.
Affordable and Accessible Solutions
Cliff established NES to help bridge the gap that often exists between these customers and the realization of economical renewable energy plans. The company assists their clients in analyzing all available clean energy options and designs a comprehensive plan that is right for the individual customer.
Because NES offers 100% financing for projects at $0 down, the vast majority of their customers are immediately cash flow positive with limited financial risk. NES’ strong financial background enables it to recommend the best solutions for its clients from an economics perspective that’s backed by hard numbers, rather than a feel good solution that isn’t profitable.
Building Partnerships that Last
NES prides itself on the long-term relationships they build with their customers, always striving to be a trusted partner and advisor throughout every stage of a project. All of their business comes to them via word-of-mouth passed along by current customers.
“We’d never make a deal that we couldn’t recommend to a member of our family,” Cliff says. “In fact, there have been times where we’ve walked away from deals that didn’t make sense for the customer, and advised them against making those decisions.”
Novel Energy Solutions also prides itself on its close ties to the communities it serves. On the advice of longtime family friends, NES has recently expanded its services to include large-scale community solar garden (CSG) projects, which make solar power available to local subscribers that would otherwise not be able to take advantage of the technology.
Growing and Improving
Novel Energy Solutions continues to expand and improve their products, services, and operations. As part of this focus on continuous improvement, they have been building out their team to best meet the needs of their customers. Over the past year, their staff has grown from 15 to more than 30 people. Staff members come from a wide variety of backgrounds—including Wall Street, construction, and sales—and give the NES team a well-rounded approach to problem-solving through their varied strengths and experiences.
This personnel growth has allowed NES to condense their project timelines, take on more business, and greatly improve efficiency. A project that would take 6 months to complete back in 2012 can now be completed in less than a month. Many customers utilize them for several projects at once—though, as Cliff says, “for some customers we can only do a single project simply because that one project covers 100% of their electricity needs!”
Moving Forward in a Rapidly Changing Industry
NES constantly monitors upcoming technologies in order to be at the forefront of new developments and opportunities. “We don’t ever want to become complacent with where we are at,” says Cliff. “The moment you become complacent, someone else will overtake you.”
As part of this forward-thinking attitude, the staff at NES works to keep a pulse on the energy system as it transforms. Distributed power, especially solar energy, is fast becoming competitive with traditional fossil fuels, even without any subsidies.
Standing Out through Outstanding Service
NES sees competition as a healthy challenge that forces businesses to constantly improve and expand. Overall, they see their biggest competition as the idea that energy is a fixed cost and something that customers can’t control. The best way to combat that misconception, says Cliff, is by communicating with customers about how drastically solar PV can impact their bottom line. By focusing on each customer’s individual priorities and carefully addressing their concerns, NES creates a tailored and achievable plan that best meets the customer’s specific needs.
Novel Energy Solutions is a forward-thinking company that prides itself on a customer-focused approach to the solar energy business. The team members strive to make solar energy available to their customers in a financially viable way that fits their needs and improves their bottom line. By combining these two approaches, NES is positioning itself to be a leader in the changing energy landscape for years to come.