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Gehrlicher Solar Becomes M+W Energy Inc.

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Originally published on the ECOreport.

In the three years since it was acquired by the M+W Group, Gehrlicher Solar America has become one of the nation’s leading solar companies. It increased its installed capacity from 75 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to over 560 MW, and have another 280 MW in the pipeline. It is time to bring the company’s name in line with that of its parent company and, on July 11, Gehrlicher Solar became M+W Energy Inc.


Jerry Shinn, President of M+W Energy, explained:

“We want to brand with the M+W Group. There is an initiative to align brands. Part of the reason we have grown during the last three years is that we sit on a very strong platform. There are people who do business with us today that would have been reluctant to do business with a stand-alone Gehrlicher.”

He also emphasized the company’s origins. While many American solar companies were originally in the construction industry, Gehrlicher started as a subsidiary of the German company founded by solar pioneer Klaus Gehrlicher.

Among America’s Top Developers

Asked about M+W Energy, Alexandra Hobson, Senior Communications Manager with the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), responded, “They are among the top developers in the U.S.”

She added that during the period in which M+W Energy has gone through a ten-fold-expansion:

“The national solar market is experiencing record-breaking growth. Since 2013, cumulative installed PV capacity in the U.S. has more than doubled and that massive growth is expected to continue with the industry expected to hit 100 GW by 2020.”

“Utility solar has grown at average annual growth rate of 48.3% 2014-2016E, and M+W Energy has experienced 122% average growth rate since joining M+W Group three years ago,” said R. David Hague, Sr. Director of Marketing & Technology Partnerships at M+W Energy, Inc.

“We’ve grown significantly more than our competitors. A number of our competitors from 2013 have gone out of business. Others have grown 5% or 10% a year, while our business has doubled each year,” said Shinn.

Gehrlicher was recognized as America’s #1 Commercial Solar Contractor in the 2014 edition of Solar Power World. Last year, it led the nation, in terms of engineering, procurement, and construction (etc.).


Grown Significantly More

Shinn started working for Gehrlicher Solar America in 2011. He described the company’s growth in terms of installed megawatts:

  • In 2011 – 7 MW
  • 2012 – 30 MW
  • 2013 (M+W Group acquired Gehrlicher Solar America) – 55 MW
  • 2014 – 100 MW
  • 2015 – 285 MW
  • 2016 – on track to complete over 750 MW in total installed capacity

“The projects we did in 2011 were primarily on the East Coast. We did some in Arizona, but a lot in Massachusetts. We were very big in the New Jersey market. We expanded into North Carolina and California. The project size expanded. Most of our work is in the 1 megawatt to 25 megawatt size range,” he said.

Much of its growth has paralleled its customer’s portfolios. For example, one of its 2011 projects in Massachusetts led to a total of over eleven projects during the next two years. Most of these ranged from 2 MW to 5 MW. The last, in New Jersey, was 12 MW. Now the same customer has them installing a 25 MW project in California, two projects in Minnesota, and two more in Massachusetts (one of which is 20 MW).


Focuses On Engineering & Management

“We have a team that really focuses on the engineering and management side of things. We hold customer’s hands through the development stage. That’s what makes us different. We hear that when we talk to customers. They say the way we talk to them, and listen to them, is different from what others are doing. You put all of those things together (and get) a lot of repeat customers. As we’ve done multiple projects, the project size has grown and the portfolio of projects we are doing has grown,” he said.

Though some of Gehrlicher’s projects are utility and commercial,  M+W Energy sees community solar as a high-growth area in projects today.

In North Carolina, the standard protocol for a utility connected project is 5 MW AC. Gehrlicher completed 17 of these last year, as well as a 20 MW and a 27 MW project.

In Massachusetts and Minnesota, it is making community solar installations.

While most of its projects have been ground-mounted, it made a series of rooftop installations for IKEA (2012-15). M+W Energy is currently making a number of rooftop installations in California and Massachusetts.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 10.22.02 AM

All images courtesy M+W Energy, Inc.

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is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.


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