June 2018

118 119 solar market. “I was rejected,” he recalls. “My superintendent told me that it didn’t make sense. Back then, there were a couple of dozen compa- nies in southern California that did solar power, and there were less than a hundred systems on the grid in San Diego. Here we are, nearly 14 years later – there are 160,000 systems deployed and there’s been a significant shift in the mindset of the population about how we should be ap- proaching energy. So, it turns out he was wrong. Anyway, I went to him again and said ‘I really think we should do this.’ And he said, ‘Well, you go out and drum up the business and if it works out I’ll give you a bonus.’ I decided that his heart wasn’t in it for the right reasons, so I quit my job.” Sullivan had $2,500 in the bank, a Ford Ranger pick-up truck, and a set of tools. He moved into the garage of a home that he was renovating and began his quest. “It ended up working out,” he says. “Good people came to me and the company slowly grew over the years. And for the past eight years, we’ve been one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, according to Inc. Magazine. It’s been a rewarding and fulfilling ride because I think every day we go to work, we’re working to make the world a better place be- cause we’re reducing our need for imported fossil fuels and all the strife and turmoil that comes SULLIVAN SOLAR POWER along with that.” Today, Sullivan Solar has 120 full-time employ- ees and up to 175 during its peak seasons. The company provides solar equipment and services for residential, commercial, and governmental clients all over southern California from its head- quarters in San Diego, an office in Irvine that services Orange County, and an office in Riverside that services Riverside County. Its annual revenue of $50 million includes everything from $12,000 residential projects to multi-million dollar proj- ects for large educational and non-profit orga- nizations such as the University of California system. “We’ve done the majority of installations for the University of California-San Diego; we’ve done a number of installations for UC-Irvine. We’ve done all but two of the projects for San Diego State University. In 2017, the majority of our larger size commercial projects included the Catholic Diocese of San Diego; we’ve done sev- eral dozen projects for them.When it comes to private, commercial projects, those vary– they tend to be smaller compared to a university-size project, and those are less frequent than the gov- ernment work.” Earlier this year Sullivan Solar Power completed the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. It’s larger than the other eight systems in the league, combined. Sullivan believes that what differentiates his company from the roughly 1,800 firms that are now doing solar installations and maintenance in the San Diego and Orange County/Riverside area is its focus on educating his customers and being mission driven. “When the company started, it