Annual Benefit Report – 2022

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    Power Northwest is a mission driven corporation working toward a cleaner, more sustainable future! Specifically, we help customers throughout the Pacific Northwest reduce their carbon footprint through intelligent energy solutions such as solar and battery storage.

    We are a benefit corporation because we put our mission before profits. Specifically, we focus on our three main pillars: 

    1. happy homeowners,
    2. enriched employees, and a
    3. clean environment.

    Happy Homeowners – We are customer centric and fanatical about ensuring that we exceed our customer’s expectations. This is true at all levels of our company, from our installers and electricians to the dedicated project managers and salespeople, to everyone behind the scenes. We do everything we can to ensure that projects move along smoothly and are installed with the highest level of quality.

    Enriched Employees – This company is built for us, the employees. We strive to make it a great place to work, and to offer everyone opportunities to advance and grow. As a JATC Training Agent, we administer a one-on-one apprenticeship program that allows experienced electricians to share their skills and teach the next generation. We encourage people to come here and to learn and grow, so that they can reach their full potential.

    Clean Environment – Our primary goal is to deploy solar, which provides a huge environmental impact. However, we also take this ethos to heart in everything that we do. We try to reduce our carbon footprint as a business wherever we can. We recycle our cardboard, our metal scraps, separate out our plastics, carpool when possible, fuel our diesel vehicles with biodiesel, and we even have a handful of electric vehicles in our fleet.

    Summary Review of the Year

    Happy Homeowners

    We judge customer satisfaction primarily from online reviews and customer feedback. This last year we had all five-star reviews from our customers except for two. One customer posted a four out of five star review on Google and another person posted a one star review on Yelp. We asked the four star review customer for feedback as to why we didn’t completely meet their expectations, but have yet to receive additional comments.

    The one star review was from an individual living in Grants Pass, outside of our service territory, and mistakenly thought that our virtual solar consultation was going to be an in person meeting. We contacted this individual, letting them know that we don’t serve that area and apologized for any miscommunication.

    Overall the internal feedback that we received from our customers has been very positive. We did have a handful of projects that were delayed due to permitting issues or engineering requirements. However, we did our best to move them forward as best we could. The year was also made more difficult because of the reduction of state incentives and elimination of others. Again, we did our best to provide as much information as we could, so that our customers could make informed decisions that were in their best interest. Many times these were difficult conversations, but in the end we believe that we navigated these tough situations the best we could.

    Overall, we had a very successful year with hundreds of satisfied customers.

    Enriched Employees

    This year we hired twenty-three new employees, including electricians, installers, sales people, project managers, and project administrators. We also promoted one of our Tesla Solar Roof installers to a project manager and another installer to a construction manager position. We currently have four electricians in the apprenticeship program and are looking to add more this coming year.

    Clean Environment

    In addition to the hundreds of solar systems that we installed, we are getting better access to biodiesel and have identified a partner that can help us recycle some of our hard plastics and plastic films. Installing solar is like watching sausage get made, it’s not pretty. We have quite a bit of construction waste that comes from the materials that are shipped to us. We do our best to recycle what we can; however in the end, there is still excess material that ends up in the landfill. We’re talking about everything from used tubes of roofing sealant to plastic protectors that protect the corners of the solar panels during transit. We’ve asked that our suppliers not send us materials in styrofoam, yet we still seem to end up with more than we’d like to see. We know that our net impact is a positive change, but it’s always tough to see a garbage bag full of trash headed to the landfill after an installation.

     

    portland solar installers putting together a system

    Looking Ahead

    In an effort to streamline communication with our customers, we’ve added text messaging software that allows customers to reach out to their project manager, and the entire team, with a simple text. We’re also refining the messaging to our customers to better manage expectations surrounding permitting, timelines, and the ever-changing landscape of solar incentives.

    This next year, we hope to increase our installation capacity by adding another crew, and to build out some of our existing crews with additional installers and additional training on efficient installation practices.

    We also expect to have one of our apprentice electricians test out and get fully licensed as well as have another electrician add to their licensure by getting fully licensed in Oregon and Washington. One of our roof leads is currently on track to graduate through to a second-year electrical apprenticeship, which would open up a roof lead position on that crew. Our project managers are continuing to develop their skills and knowledge base through experience and technical training provided by our partners like Tesla, Enphase, and REC, among others.

    Conclusion

    We had a very successful year on many levels. We definitely succeeded in accomplishing our three pillars—happy homeowners, enriched employees, and a clean environment. The only area that was lacking was our profitability. In the future, we’re hoping to invest in the company with newer vehicles, and invest in our people with higher compensation for our existing employees while adding additional health benefits to their existing package. We’re looking forward to this coming year!

    Oregon

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