Rise of a New Green King

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

By Yvette Montoya

abe issaAbe Issa is a part of the growing number of single working fathers in the United States, and like many working dads, he starts his day by making breakfast for his two-year-old daughter, checking emails, preparing mentally for the day, dropping his daughter Katherine off at school, and heading to the office. But unlike other single working fathers, Abe Issa is the founder and CEO of one of the fastest growing solar and green energy solutions companies in the United States.

Since Issa started Global Efficient Energy (GEE) in 2011, the company has grossed over $50 million in revenue and has expanded from its flagship office in Fort Worth, Texas, to seven new locations throughout the greater Texas area, Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina; with planned expansions on the books for Nevada, Arizona, California, and New York as well. This feat, for any company, is impressive. The increased public interest in renewable energy, paired with the sweeping state and federal solar initiatives, have taken many people by storm. Although solar makes up ~1% of the American electricity market, as oil prices collectively drop, the solar surge seems to be gaining speed, and fast. Solar has grown at a rate of more than 60% per year in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies like SolarCity, Vivint Solar, Sungevity, and Sunrun are all spreading across the United States like wildfire; but Global Efficient Energy (GEE) is coming after them.

Unlike the aforementioned solar providers, GEE offers a variety of other products and in-home green solutions. Issa has created a product that his competitors don’t offer, by bundling packages that include energy efficiency, energy management control systems, and power conditioning devices that can be combined with solar panel installation. In fact, GEE’s energy-saving products precede the company’s solar enterprises. Issa began his multi-million-dollar company going door-to-door, giving free in-home energy evaluations that determine where a home’s energy could be saved and optimized. Three years, and soon-to-be $60 million later, the in-home evaluations are still free and are still GEE’s bread and butter. Issa likes to give customers an opportunity to maximize the savings on their solar panels or forego the panels all together and simply find the energy-draining spots in their homes. Issa recalls the first few times he presented his products to a new customer: “the reception was great and people were really excited about being able to save money. I realized I was providing an important service.” Coming off the abrupt end of what was once a successful real estate career, Issa was forced to reexamine his goals and direction. “I went from multi-millions to $15,000 in my bank account. I had to be like ‘ok, what’s next.’ ”

Between 2005 and 2010, Issa flipped 500+ residential and commercial properties in Dallas, Fort Worth, and South Texas. His Company (A.G.I. Real Estate) was worth millions and, at age 27, Issa was on top of the world. Fulfilling his dreams so early on in his life seemed to defy all odds, but Issa never “made excuses” and never let his humble beginnings hold him back. Issa’s parents came to the US fleeing the bloody 16-year civil war in Lebanon that displaced 900,000 Lebanese and killed over 100,000. Five-year-old Issa and his Mother and Father arrived in Texas in 1987, scared and with few belongings. Issa’s father George had married an American in the early 1970s and lived in the Boston, Massachusetts, for a number of years, before moving back to Beirut when the marriage dissolved. It was thanks to his dual citizenship that the Issa family was able to move stateside. He married Margo in the late 1970s, and on December 23rd, 1982, Abraham George Issa was born. It was not long after that George decided Lebanon was no longer a safe place to raise a family. What Issa remembers about Lebanon are the gunshots, mortar shells and the combat that went on only a few feet away from his home, “I remember one time a mortar shell hit 30 yards from our house. It was really scary. But as a kid you don’t really understand what’s going on.”

When they arrived in the US, they stayed with Issa’s father’s ex-wife, in her tiny apartment in Fort Worth, TX, until they were able to afford their own place. And while his mother and father struggled to support their growing family in a new country, young Abe already had his eyes on the kind of life promised by the American dream. As a kid, Abe already knew that he wanted to make money — he just didn’t know how yet. “I used to watch Michael Jordan on TV and I wanted that. I wanted to be the best at something.” When his 6th-grade class held the yearly chocolate-selling fundraisers, he had his sights set on the $250 prize. “It wasn’t a lot of money but to a kid it seemed like a whole lot. Especially for someone from a poor background. I knew I wanted to win. I would get out of school and sell til’ it got dark. I’ve always been really competitive, I’ve always tried to be the best.”

The loss of his real estate company in 2010 was a hard blow, but not one that Issa took long to recover from; “I started doing research and trying to figure out what the next big thing would be. Solar and energy efficiency was still in its infancy stages. I knew I had to jump on it. Failure wasn’t an option.” In 2011, with only $1,000, Abe Issa began what is now Global Efficient Energy. “I started experimenting with energy-efficient retrofits. Calling, door-knocking, and setting up appointments. Within the first 45 days we made a revenue of over $100,000. That’s when I knew I was really onto something.”

Issa’s success, in part, can be attributed to his innovative spirit and salesmanship. His colleagues describe him as “dynamic,” “passionate,” and “hardworking,” all traits Issa values in the powerful, successful men (Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, The Rock) he looks up to, and now at 32, tries to emulate. Issa attributes the loss of his real estate company to inexperience. “I was young with a large amount of money, I thought it would last forever. I took my eyes off the prize. I wanted to go have fun, a lot if it was immaturity but growing up had a lot to do with it too. I learned the hard lessons on my own. I didn’t have anyone to guide me. It taught me to look at the guys who build companies and maintain them like Branson and Musk.”

Now Issa surrounds himself with a team of seasoned professionals. His first important addition in 2013 was Keri Anderson to Director of Operations and eventually to Vice President of Operations. Keri spent over 20 years in the Mortgage Banking Industry, where she was responsible for the Origination of Mortgage Loans. In February of 2014, Abe appointed David P. Noyes to CFO. Noyes has 25 years in the green energy sector and has been CFO to five publicly traded companies. Next, he appointed Pamela A. Daily as Vice President of Marketing in May of 2014. Pam has over 25 years of proven solutions in the National Marketing arena, serving as CMO, President, and Executive VP for companies poised for accelerated growth and expansion into the Fortune 500/1000 status. Abe’s most recent addition to his Executive Team, in late 2014, was Gary DeMel, as VP of Business Development. DeMel has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Shovon LLC and as an Executive Vice President at Micro Imaging Technology, Inc. These are only a few of the professionals Issa has put on his board of directors in order to give GEE the guidance and structure that it needs not just to succeed, but to endure.

GEE is one of the “Top 10 Solar Contractors in the US,” which is great but isn’t good enough for Issa. “I won’t be satisfied until I’m number one, and even when I reach the top, I’m going to still want more.” It’s in his competitive nature to always be looking up and over into new markets and new opportunities. And because of his passion and drive, GEE’s been receiving awards left and right. Issa won the 2014 CEO World Award for environmental sustainability, made INC’s 35 under 35 coolest entrepreneurs of 2014, and GEE was one of INC’s 500 fastest-growing companies. He was also featured in 40 under 40 Real Difference Makers in Tech and Business and even received an official letter from Congresswoman Kay Granger thanking GEE for its commitment to the country’s long-term energy needs. Overall, it’s not bad being Abe Issa right now. But he doesn’t stop there. GEE has some top-secret investments in wind power, but Issa is not inclined to talk about the details of its residential application, since the technology is still being developed. “I don’t even want to talk about that. But we’ve got some very exciting things lined up for the future of GEE.” When asked about his free time, Issa says “What free time?” He works hard because he doesn’t like the taste of failure. This time around he’s armed and ready for the future and it is extremely unlikely that his new-found success will leave a bad taste in his mouth.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Guest Contributor

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.

Guest Contributor has 4313 posts and counting. See all posts by Guest Contributor

67 thoughts on “Rise of a New Green King

  • Cleantechnica, you really have to start vetting these press releases. It’s blatant advertising and it shouldn’t be included in any news site worth its salt. Your guest contributor works for a marketing company called Zerosix Media, whose clients included, wait for it, Global Efficient Energy. It’s pure PR. Even without knowing who the author works for it’s pretty obvious this is fishy. Headline says it all really…

    Just my two cents.

    • Yeah, pretty much a ‘puff piece.’

      • Yes the PR puff pieces are for sure on the rise. Maybe a cleantechnica_PR.com then I read the news pieces here and hope there for press releases.

    • My respect for this site just fell a couple of notches. But if the site needs money, and it is being paid to publish this stuff, I can understand it.

      • I know who this company and individual are and I guarantee you it wasn’t paid for marketing. I’m sure the site liked the background and story of the individual and the impact they are making. The individual has been very inspiring to our community.

      • Yeah, totally fair. Just so long as paid content is stated as such.

        • Indeed. And this is *NOT* paid content. I found the story interesting and thought others here would too, especially given the criticism we get for writing so much about SolarCity & Vivint Solar..

          • Ok, fair enough. Even if Cleantechnica wasn’t paid, it was still written by a digital marketing firm, meaning it’s basically an ad.

          • Of course. It’s coming from Abe. He’s looking for more business. I just liked the story and found it interesting enough to run here… even if it’s not written in the style I would write such a piece.

    • zn,

      I see where you are coming from, however the article was written to get the story out there on how a bootstrapped company found its way in the clean energy space. We were asked to provide a story and background on our journey. We had our web developer and one of his writers assist with this. Cleantechnica liked the success story because it’s in the green energy space. I work for the company and we are proud of our model and solutions. Unlike a majority of the other solar companies, we focus on the consumer and sell customer owned systems and not third party owned solar systems where homeowners lose out on all incentives.

      • So, as I tried to say a few days ago (but was prevented), I have nothing against GEE, or Cleantechnica, or even advertorial content. I just like it to be labelled.

        I also have nothing against Zero Six Media, but let’s not play games – “We are Zero Six Media, a fully integrated digital marketing agency.”. It says this on the front page of their website.

        Finally, the only reason I went and pulled on the author thread is because the story was so painfully wooden that it just screamed ‘paid content’. Line breaks and a more modest headline would have done wonders for this piece, but a ‘Sponsored Post’ tag would have solved everything.

        It’s a little unfortunate this issue has flared up further via subsequent comments, but this is the flip side of social media marketing. I hope I didn’t break your story.

        Good luck with your company.

        • Apparently, “painfully wooden” works.

        • Understand your perspective totally. Your comments are appreciated because they are constructive and helpful. Thank you!

          • Please see my notes above that this was not sponsored content.

        • Since you’re saying again here that this was paid content, let me reply again that nobody paid us a dime to run this story. It was contributed without any charge. I ran it because I found it very interesting.

    • As noted above: am just seeing these comments. First of all, this was *not* a sponsored posts. We are very clear to label such posts as such. Abe reached out and I thought his story was very interesting, so I said we’d run a piece about it. I found it very interesting. Apologies if you don’t.

      • Did you read the story? Did you find it interesting? Because I did read the story and I thought it was rubbish and didn’t deserve to be on this site. I’m not the editor though so this is just my opinion.

        • Yep, I did read it & edit it a bit. And it was the second version of the story from them. I found it very interesting. But I’m surely not the norm, given that I go through hundreds of stories a day, so am probably more interested in an outside-the-norm piece like this.

          • Ok, all good. To each their own. Just keep an eye on cowboy PR firms junking up your site.

          • For sure. We get dozens and dozens of pitches daily. I ignore most, cover what I think we should cover, or give some the offer of a guest post or sponsored post (rarely the former, but occasionally).

  • pump pump PUMP it UP!

    • He loves The Rock and Michael Jordan, man.

  • Yup. Circular file.

    • Interesting story, imho. “The American Dream,” which, as a counter-culture American & sociologist, I don’t ascribe to or personally promote… but it’s still what many people think of when they think of the US. And, clearly, it’s the path Abe chose. Am happy he’s into clean energy & energy efficiency now. 😀

  • Zerosix is a website development. They aren’t a PR group. One of their writers was asked to write a story about the owner. The purpose is to tell a story about the journey of ones hard work, perseverance, and passion that has led them to SUCCESS in the green tech world. It’s an inspirational piece and wasn’t written as PR for “Global”.

  • Please do some research into this company – GEE. It is been said that they have been convincing people to pay $15,000 to install 2-4 solar panels and installing attic installation. Then they tell them that they can take the 30% Federal ITC for the entire amount – which I don’t think is correct. Does anyone have any other data on this?

    • I don’t think that is accurate. I read an article stating that a sales rep promised a homeowner a tax credit which is prevalent in the solar industry and when the homeowner didn’t receive it, the company wrote a check back to the homeowner. Very few solar companies would of done that.

      • Thanks for the reply. Can you provide a link or title to the article to that you mentioned? I would like to research further.

      • I worked for this company for over a year and I never saw this happen. Most homeowners were left out in the cold when rebates or tax credits didn’t come through. Some sales reps even touted tax credits as full on rebates to people who didn’t even pay taxes and had no chance of receiving a federal tax credit.

    • That isn’t an accurate statement. The 30% is only stated regarding solar.

      • But I think the invoice doesn’t provide a line item breakdown of costs, so how does the customer know how much of the total to apply to the 30% tax credit. Can you confirm that a typical invoice includes a breakdown of the costs between the solar installation and any energy efficiency costs?

        • R Howe,

          I work for the company and we do provide customers with an invoice that breaks down the solar portion of their project and the amount of credit they can apply for, if eligible. Also, the energy efficiency piece is broken down for them also. This has to be done because we do a lot of HVAC and other energy related services.

          • Thanks for the reply. I will re-connect with the person that showed me an quote from the company and get back to you. The quote showed only a total price for insulation and a few solar panels and showed savings calculations for the ITC that was based on the entire cost of the job.

          • This is an incorrect demonstration. If what your saying is accurate please reach out to me on my email address when you have this. I would need to review this through customer service and see if a rep did an improper numbers breakdown.

  • From the BBB site:

    “BBB has received complaints concerning sales misrepresentations.

    “Specifically, complaints allege the business claims electricity bills
    will be reduced by 40%. In one instance, the complainant monitored their
    electricity bill for a year and stated it was only reduced by 7%. In
    some instances, the complainants state they saw an increase in their
    electric bill. Complainants also allege they were unaware of authorizing
    accounts to be opened with GE Capital Bank or Wells Fargo to finance
    the contract. In addition, some complaints allege the business
    overcharges the cost of solar panels up to 300% more than other
    competitors. Finally, complainants allege the business claims they are
    eligible for rebates and/or income tax credits through federal

    “The business has responded to all complaints stating consumers are
    provided with full disclosure regarding terms, price, and deductions
    before signing a contract. The business has responded to some complaints
    stating consumers were provided with a Energy Savings Limited Guarantee
    form that entails information about the 40% energy bill savings and
    consumers’ responsibilities. In addition, the business has responded to
    some complaints stating consumers signed and approved a Home Improvement
    Credit Application with the financial lenders. The business has
    resolved some complaints by either issuing refunds to consumers or
    offering assistance. In some instances, the business has referred
    consumers to the contact terms and conditions.

    “BBB sent certified correspondence to the business June 2014 regarding
    the alleged sales misrepresentations. The business has responded to the
    BBB stating “our goal is to provide each customer with a package to
    reduce and save them 40%.” They also state “we work with customers to
    ensure every rebate and tax credit…if eligible for up to 30% federal
    tax credit.” In addition, the business states “we charge a competitive
    price” and “any issue regarding authorizing an account without the
    customer’s approval is completely false.”

    “BBB met the with business July 2014 for clarification of their business model and sales practices.”


    • Your comments say a lot about your personal character. It’s pathetic you envy hard work.

      • Truly successful people don’t publish puff pieces like this advertising how great they are. What’s your relationship to this man and his company?

        • No relations. However, you are missing the point of the story. I understand you referring to it as a puff piece, however the story of where the individual came from and the journey is impressive. No reason to be so quick to negatively judge.

          • I see a bunch of successful people being marketed and puffed up WAY more.

    • Yep, it’s not my approach to life, and is very typically American, which many first-generation immigrants are. I found it interesting, though, and wonder how many people “at the top” do have that approach, explicit or not.

  • “He . . . even received an official letter from Congresswoman Kay Granger thanking GEE for its commitment to the country’s long-term energy needs.”

    Wow, an “official letter” from Kay Granger. And I thought this article sounded like the biggest load of BS I have ever read.

    • I disagree with your opinions 100%.

  • What does his ex-wife think of him?

  • Great Story! Thanks for sharing..

    • Much appreciated.

  • Mary,

    I’m with you. Sounds like a pr story, however its inspirational. Two thumbs up!

    • As a representative from the company, thank you for your kind words.

  • I work in the customer service department for Global Efficient Energy and we are very customer centric. One of our goals and values we work toward is a culture of caring for our customers. We have done over 10,000 installations and have less than .025% of those homeowners not happy. We do everything we can to encourage the green movement, while caring for our customers. If anyone has any questions, feel free to comment back.

    • Do you have any statistics on customers that were told that they would see 40% annual savings on their electric bills as to what they actually achieved one or two years later?

      • We have done thousands of projects and we have recorded 51 who have missed savings. However, some of this is a result of an auditor not following the system the way they are trained to do so, homeowners mismanaging energy usage and not following the program. There have been a couple with auditors not representing information correctly. This is all part of growing a business. Process improvements, etc. We do pay our customers that miss savings and it’s usually structured in a way where we pay back our profit on the project.

        • You are not implying that the thousands of projects (less the 51 that have contacted you about missed savings) have all confirmed to the company that they met the savings targets are you? Or, are you stating that out of the thousands of projects, only 51 ones have contacted the company to have it checked? Thanks for the clarification on this.

          • We monitor energy savings depending on what package the homeowners proceed with. Also, homeowners send their bills into us monthly for tracking purposes. There are guidelines that need to be followed regarding energy savings warranties and both parties have to comply with the program. The 51 stated are customers who have been refunded per our agreement. It’s a combination of who has contacted us and who has been monitored on our end. The majority of customers send in their bills. Our goal is to educate them on energy conservation and have them adapt their lifestyle. Not everyone gets a guarantee regarding energy savings. This is done on unique packages.

  • To Lee (who works at Global Energy Efficient Energy) – There are a large number of Global Efficient Energy’s solar PV installations in the North Texas that consist of only 1 or 2 solar panels. Can you provide an approximate percentage of all your North Texas solar PV installations that are 5 solar panels or less? (or a percentage for the installations that are 1 kW DC or less?) Thanks for your reply on this.

    • R Howe My wife and I had an audit done and it was eye opening to say the least. The deal we got from Global was fair and we choose not to do a Solar job on the house, there was much more involved in getting our home into shape, insulation, a box that controls voltage and attic fans . We are now saving well over 40% a month, so panels aside it’s changed our costs and that’s what we were after. I’m sure all companies have customers that don’t work out but in our case it was well worth it.

    • We are an energy efficiency company that provides foam, reflective insulation, HVAC, LED lighting, and then solar. There is more value doing it this way. You don’t put solar on a house that’s inefficient. We like to start homeowners off with 1-3kw systems unless they only want solar. The cost on the solar is a lot more and the return is less. When homeowners save with the efficiency, they add on additional panels. We would like everyone to save 80% with the right amount of efficiency and solar. In the past homeowners started off with less solar, but the business model has changed significantly. It is mandatory that if a homeowner wants any kind of solar now it has to be 1kw or larger. We have learned a ton in the process. The majority of the installs are energy efficiency. This year we are hoping to add 2-3kw systems to each energy efficiency system.

      • Lee – Thanks again for the reply. To move toward net zero, both energy efficiency and local generation (e.g. solar PV) are needed. Awareness of energy usage is probably first. If you start with knowing your annual energy consumption, then whether you address it first with energy efficiency investments or solar PV investments is a timing question. Both yield positive results. As long is the solar PV system is sized appropriately, not too big or too small – say targeting 50% of your annual energy consumption – then the order of solar PV and energy efficiency can be adjusted to meet personal situations. In the North Texas weather zone, according to ERCOT data, the average residential customer uses 16,200 kWh annually. For a south facing installation, conservatively 1400 kWh per year will be generated from each 1 kW dc of installation. Using these numbers, a typical solar PV system size would be 4 KW dc to 6 KW dc. A once persons have a solar PV system installed, they generally become much more energy aware and focused on energy conservation and efficiency. I am still concerned, based on what I have heard, that GEE has been installing very high priced undersized solar PV systems, not providing a real value to the end customer.

        • I understand your concern. Installing smaller systems comes at a much higher cost. This is something I’m going to address with upper management. I think the best value is foam for efficiency, 2-3kw solar system, and other efficiency items. I agree with you about becoming more energy aware when they have a solar system installed. We also notice that with a lot of our foam customers. We will take this feedback and create another system with another value proposition. Thank you.

  • I have done business with Global Efficient Energy and have met Abe Issa. He was energetic and committed to do what it takes to make a difference for those that he does business with and comes in contact with. After reading the article, it wasn’t surprising to me at all to hear about his journey and the success he has had with his company. It is an inspiring article and one that will motivate anyone that reads it to work hard and never give up on their dreams, personally and in business. Thank you for the article, these kind of stories are rare, and nothing but positive and inspiring.

  • Congresswoman Kay Granger has one of the worst voting records in the entire Congress on renewable energy and the environment, yet she sends an unsolicited
    letter to a renewable energy company? Odd.

    Here’s a small part of her deplorable record:

    • Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets. (Sep 2008)
    • Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
    • Rated 0% by the Campaign for America’s Future, indicating total opposition to clean energy legislation (Dec 2006)
    • A lifetime rating of 6% by the League of Conservation Voters

  • To Lee – I see from your website that GEE offers energy efficient breaker panels. Can you describe the difference of your energy efficient breaker panels vs a regular breaker panel that meets code?

  • Hello, am just seeing these comments. First of all, this was *not* a sponsored posts. We are very clear to label such posts as such. Abe reached out and I thought his story was very interesting, so I said we’d run a piece about it. I found it very interesting. Apologies if you don’t.

    • You didn’t find anything “over the top” about the piece? You found it all entirely plausible?


      Please run an article about energy efficient breaker panels and how much they can save consumers on their electricity bills. This is an innovation most people don’t know about.

      • There are no such things as energy efficient breaker panels. Breaker panels DO NOT USE ENERGY. Gimme a break, please

  • Again, to avoid any confusion from anyone reading only some comments, this is not sponsored content. If an article is sponsored, it is labeled as such in two places and only goes into the “Sponsored” category.

  • Again, great article for all the right reasons. Great comments from good people. For the negative comments, would love to see the resumes of these people. Most likely folks that are simply jealous of the success that comes from hard work and dedication. Sorry, I never get involved in this sort of thing, but the nonsense some people ignorantly spew out always makes me wonder. I wish nothing but the best for whoever you are, and hope things get better for you, really. There’s nothing about this article that should generate negative responses of any kind.

    • I have had dealings with Global. They did foam insulation along with other energy efficient pieces, attic fans and the process was good, they told us what they were doing and what impact we should see. We enjoyed the process, they were just simply helpful. I did get to know Abe (the owner) and the personal contact from him was AWESOME. Now from what I understand the company grew very fast and over the past year or so they made major changes. The quality assurance and care is pretty impressive. They’re just fixated on getting my house as efficient as possible. I’m a fan.

  • I’ve spent the time to read this whole page. And what a SCAM. couldn’t make it flippin’ houses. We all got those come on’s. 1-2 or even 3 kilowatts is not very much, only enough to take your money. I would advise Abe to get a real job and a conscience, Quit trying to rip people off. “It’s called stealing, stupid” and his story doesn’t do anything for me. All crooks have a story. Blah Blah Blah

Comments are closed.