The Yes Solar Team
Stew and Kathy Miller are long-time business owners in Cary. They both started at the same large corporation, getting valuable training, and rising through the ranks to executive sales positions. But both always dreamed of owning their own business. In 1994, they founded the Primrose Schools of Cary, building and operating three schools over 11 years. After having helped raise thousands of children in the community, they sold the schools to family and long-time employees and embarked on the next venture.
They spent some time flipping houses, Stew earning his General Contractor’s license along the way, and they renovated a series of hundred-year-old homes. They grew to love the process of recycling building materials and preserving properties that might have been razed for new development. Cary is dotted with projects where Stew and Kathy used interior walls to make pickets fences, brick chimneys to make patios, and century-old homes that are now thriving boutique businesses.
Solar seemed a similar concept to preserving properties and recycling materials. And like the preschools, a legacy business, helping prepare the next generation for a sustainable future. This time not with socialization skills, character development and preschool education, but with a path to a future of clean, infinitely renewable energy. They founded Yes Solar Solutions in 2009.
How Yes Solar Grew
Since then, the company has seen many changes, from all residential solar installations to growing commercial solar, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and servicing solar systems, both in and out of warranty.
From the beginning, the Millers saw their mission as growing a sustainable business, but also creating careers for employees, not just jobs, and providing sustainable lives which included health insurance, 401(k) matched savings plans, and even employee solar purchase plans. They also embraced a role as leaders in the solar industry, serving on boards and committees, and associations that influenced policy and best practices in solar. This has earned Yes the respect of the players in the industry, and along the way provided the opportunity to install solar for many of those people, on their own homes and businesses, or on those they referred to Yes. Stew Miller has served on task forces like the one with Duke Energy to craft the solar rebate and has met with countless legislators to press the case for policy favorable to customer-owned solar.
Along the way, the Millers have been proud of how many employees they have seen grow into trained solar professionals that have been able to get certified, licensed, buy houses and start families. Yes is a family business that treats the business as a family. Many of the Yes installers went on to larger companies and new opportunities with the Millers’ blessing, some came back to Yes in different capacities like Sales or Management positions.
The Yes Solar Difference
Not every solar installation company has an electrical license, which Yes does, as well as an unlimited General Contractor’s license. No other company in NC has a NABCEP accreditation, the only accrediting body for solar. None have as many individual NABCEP certifications as Yes. This is due to its emphasis on training and professional development, and willingness to pay for the training and exams. Many other solar companies use subcontracted electricians and roof crews, and commission only salespeople. These business models are more efficient, with less overhead, no training expense, no health insurance cost or paid time off, no 401(k).
Using subcontractors means not paying for their liability insurance or workman’s compensation, licensing or training, their vehicles or their gas, their overtime or travel expense. It is a sweet deal for the company, not so much for the laborers. Payment is based on how quickly a crew can install, opening the possibility of cutting corners, using faster labor practices resulting in leaks. Sales paid on commission only create a feast or famine scenario for the salesperson and can lead to a less consultative and more sales-driven result. None of these business practices create a vested interest for an employee or 1099 worker to do their best work.
The Yes Solar Promise
The positive reviews for Yes Solar, approaching 400 online, are testimony to its Core Values: a commitment to quality, to the customer and to each other. Yes has persisted for 13 years doing things the right way, the best way for the customer and for the team, even when it wasn’t convenient or the most economical way to run a business. Solar warranties are long, 25 years or so. Selling solar at a fair price for the promise that you are buying the value of a company that takes care of its employees, has a lasting relationship with vendors and the industry, and can cover the cost of service when you need it because they didn’t skimp on the installation, is a good investment. Yes can do the same for you, and if you are considering solar, you can’t go wrong saying Yes.