Annual Benefit Report – 2023

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    Power Northwest is set up as a benefit corporation because we choose to put our mission before profits. We understand the importance of profits, we need them in order to continue to deliver on our mission, but we put our mission first. 

    This year we took a closer look at our mission statement and what it means to us.  We felt that our original mission statement embodied what we did but was a bit wordy.

    Original:

    “Help customers throughout the Pacific Northwest reduce their carbon footprint through intelligent energy solutions such as solar and battery storage.”

    New:

    “Transition our community to renewable energy.”

    We feel that our new mission statement still embodies what we do but is easy to understand and to share with customers, suppliers, team members, and stakeholders.  Our mission statement breaks down into three main pillars: happy homeowners, enriched employees, and a clean environment.

    In addition to our Mission Statement, we took time this year to identify key factors that make us unique, specifically our core values.

    Core Value Identification Process:

    We worked as a team to identify our core values, taking a few passes at it before we boiled it down to just 5 core values:

    1. First we had a brainstorming session where we combed through all of our online 5-Star reviews and looked for things that our customers were saying about us.
    2. We added to that list by asking ourselves what we thought that we did well.
    3. We then took time to describe specific events or actions that individual employees did and tried to embody those in short one word statements.

    This generated a list of about 50 core values.  We took that list and tried to combine or eliminate ones that were either very similar or didn’t seem to fit the company as a whole.  That cut the list in half which we then took to a vote, asking each employee to rank them.  In the end, we were left with just five core values.  We then took those core values and curated them into an easy to remember acronym; P.O.W.E.R.

    P – Personal Accountability – We take responsibility for our actions and decisions, taking ownership of problems, and holding ourselves to the highest standards.

    O – Outstanding Quality – We pay meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that our work is of the highest quality, it is our legacy.

    W – Work Ethic – We believe in the value of hard work, going the extra mile, and overcoming obstacles with determination. You can depend on us to deliver results, day in and day out.

    E – Empathy – We genuinely care about our customers, team members, and the communities we serve, fostering a culture of compassion and empathy.

    R – Resolute Integrity – We consistently do the right thing, even when it’s challenging.

    We are proud of our core values.  We use them to hire and identify new talent, promote and reward team members who are performing well, and set ourselves apart from the competition.

    We started a core values award where each month we highlight team members who are truly living out our core values.  We assign points each month and keep a running tally of the scoreboard.  Last year we sent the winner to Hawaii for a 5 day all expenses paid trip!  The second place person went to the Oregon Coast for a long weekend and third place was rewarded with a $200 gift card for a dinner.

    Community Engagement

    We had various community engagement activities in 2023.  We volunteered at a couple of events with Solar Oregon, including some solar training and a community clean up event.  We took part in a solar installation with Twende for Dignity Village, installed solar on homes sponsored by Proud Ground which was funded by a grant from the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF), and donated panels for a project for Community Vision in partnership with Solar for All.

    Each of these projects deserve their own impact assessment because we truly made a huge difference in the lives of people involved, in the carbon offset from these projects, and in the goodwill generated by our team members.  They all truly aligned with our mission and our pillars.  Above all, it’s great to see our work being carried out and generating such a positive impact!

    Social Justice 

    In 2023 we bid on two Solarize Campaigns that were funded by the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF).  These projects are particularly special to us because they focus on the implementation of renewable energy systems for underserved communities.  It’s common that only households with substantial disposable income are able to make the investment to go solar.  With the PCEF grants, we’re able to provide access to solar for communities that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford such systems.  Working on these projects was rewarding in so many ways.

    We also utilized funds from the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Solar Within Reach program to help 17 low-to-moderate income homeowners install residential solar.  This program provides a substantial rebate for people under a certain income threshold to install solar on their home from an Energy Trust Trade Ally contractor.  This made solar, and the savings that come with it, accessible for community members that would not otherwise be able to afford it.

    Environmental Impact

    Beyond installing solar we’ve invested time into looking at our business as a whole and how we can reduce our carbon footprint as a company.  We have a few team members who have really helped us focus on our recycling strategies and here’s what we’ve come up with:

    • We sort and recycle all of our metal scraps; aluminum, steel, and copper.
    • We sort all of our plastic films and hard plastics by type to make it easier to be recycled and then pay local companies to process those plastics into recyclable material.
    • We pay to have our cardboards recycled sustainably 
    • We pay to have any used or damaged solar panels recycled so that any metals or toxic elements stay out of landfills
    • We carpool whenever possible
    • We fuel our box trucks up with biodiesel
    • We push suppliers to send us materials in reusable or recyclable containers

    We had a big win this year.  After continually asking our suppliers to not send us materials packaged in styrofoam or plastic films, asking for recyclable or reusable containers, we finally had a massive breakthrough.  One of our key suppliers redesigned their packaging so that it was 100% reusable.  We now collect the plastic containers that they send us materials in so that they can be sent back and reused.  We are thrilled that our voice was heard and that a business practice was changed that will reduce the waste generated in getting materials out to a jobsite.  This was a HUGE win for us.

    Customer Success!

    We are 100% invested in the success of our customers.  This year we came up with a 5-Star Promise that we make to each of our customers:

    At Power Northwest, we promise to deliver a 5-Star experience to every customer. We’re passionate about your satisfaction and are committed to deliver on our promise with exceptional customer service, clear communication, and quality craftsmanship. It’s a promise we make to our customers and ourselves. 

    By delivering a 5-Star experience, we’ll make Power Northwest a more prosperous and thriving company, a better place to work, and an unbeatable partner for you. We will act as an advocate with your best interests in mind. We Promise.

    This has proven to be a high standard that we can hold ourselves to, ensuring that every customer gets top notch service and support.  We believe that has been positively reflected in our 5-Star online reviews.

    Strategy

    2023 was a difficult year for solar.  With rising interest rates and a perception of a weaker economy, fewer people were ready to invest in solar for their homes.  With that, we started to look for opportunities in commercial solar projects.  

    Our most significant achievement was an 800 kW solar installation for Clark Public Utilities.  This was a community solar project in partnership with the Port of Camas in Washougal which allocated 200 kW of the system size toward low income households.  The project was beyond rewarding and received high accolades for its overall project success, coming in well under budget, on time, and value engineered in a way to over produce what the original design had outlayed.  Read the Community Solar East Case Study here.

    When we’re brought in as a partner on these larger and more complex projects, we can help design a custom solution that will maximize the onsite characteristics and solar resources available so that they can get the most out of the system.  Going forward, we are excited to pursue more of these types of commercial projects where we can help make a positive impact offsetting large electrical loads from these high energy consumers.

    The Future

    Looking forward, we aim to solidify our new core values and make sure that our core purpose is shared with all of our team members.  We’re asking more out of everyone on the team to ensure that we can deliver an effortless customer experience.  We can easily say that we’re in this business for the right reasons.  However, we have to continue to be the best in this business by holding ourselves to high standards.  We need to continue to push ourselves to maintain excellence and to continue to improve going forward.

    Conclusion

    In 2023, we achieved significant milestones in customer satisfaction, community engagement, and environmental stewardship. We’re dedicated to the triple bottom line, our mission, and our pillars.  As more of our community members, both homeowners and business owners, are ready to make the switch to solar, we’ll be there to help them make that transition.

    power Northwest certification score

    This comprehensive report encapsulates Power Northwest’s achievements in 2023, highlighting our commitment to excellence in customer service, employee development, environmental sustainability, and ethical business practices. It underscores our dedication to delivering value to our stakeholders while advancing renewable energy solutions in the Pacific Northwest.  We have been evaluated and recertified as a Benefit Corporation by Benefit Corporations for Good (BCFG).

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