Two solar companies in the region have merged, saying the move will accelerate the growth of solar in Vermont and New York’s Hudson Valley.
SunCommon, based in Waterbury, Vermont, employs 100 people and is registered as a Public Benefit Corporation. In other words, it legally places employees, communities and the habitat on equal standing with profit. Hudson Solar in Rhinebeck, NY designs and installs solar systems across the Hudson Valley and Capital Region. On Tuesday, the companies merged, although SunCommon Founder Duane Peterson says it’s not what he would call an average merger. “For a lot of people merger sounds like a swear word. I mean corporate mergers often involve you know slashing head count and shuttering facilities and squeezing out efficiencies and our way of doing business is just the opposite. We’re going to dramatically grow the opportunities for folks in the Hudson Valley to go solar. So that’s going to a lot more good jobs, a lot more solar, a lot more investment in these communities. So to us this absolutely not your average merger.”
Peterson expects significant growth through Hudson Solar as people move away from fossil fuels. “Folks in the Hudson Valley love their environment. This is just gorgeous landscape and a lot of people are interested in protecting that. So a bunch of people go solar just to protect the planet and that’s great. Other people go solar because they just want to save money and that’s fine too. And so that applies to homeowners, to schools to governments. I mean there is a dramatic transformation of the energy economy underway right now and SunCommon is proud a player in that transformation.”
Hudson Solar Field Supervisor Dan Orisini says the two companies’ philosophies are similar and focus on people and quality first and profits last. “Hudson Solar can now concentrate on the installs. This company seems to be very sales oriented and that way we can do what we do best which is installs.”
Orisini feels the two companies are merging expertise and keeping more resources in the region. “When you do solar you’re basically keeping the money over here in the United States. You know it’s clean energy and you’re generating power vs. somebody using oil so you’re keeping the money in the Capital Region. So in the long run it’s a very positive thing.”
Late last year, the Trump Administration approved tariffs on imported solar panels. Peterson says that was not a factor in the merger. “The federal government trying to put the brakes on clean energy is profoundly irritating. The earth needs really different policies. But whatever curveballs they throw at us we’re going to deal with because this is a mission driven organization. So tariffs are not helpful and we just looked at that and had to figure out how to work around it.”
Hudson Solar will be renamed SunCommon. Both will continue to operate in Waterbury and Rhinebeck.