A unique home in East Hampton featuring SunPower solar technology.

If you want a local solar installer that’s been vetted by the most experienced solar manufacturer in the world, consider choosing a SunPower Master Dealer.

We handpick our Master Dealers, located in about a dozen states nationwide, to sell our solar technology exclusively based on the quality of their work, customer service satisfaction, how well they train their workforce and their dedication to their local communities.

Meet the newest addition to our Master Dealer network: Earthlight Technologies, an Ellington, Conn.,-based company founded by Sam Schneider and his father Tim in 2008.

When we noticed this company’s 100 percent local focus and their excellent customer service record, we knew they were the complete package.

From Selling Lightbulbs to Harnessing the Sun

Earthlight’s success as a solar installer is impressive given how far they’ve come as a company in a short time. The Schneider father-son team started Earthlight in 2008 as a small retail operation selling energy-efficient products to homeowners, with a focus on compact fluorescent light bulbs. In 2013, the company, which had only five employees then, expanded into solar installations.

Earthlight now has 65 employees in Connecticut, East Longmeadow, Mass., and Silverton, Ore. And Sam Schneider credits most of that growth to the mainstreaming of solar as a cost competitive source of clean energy.

Earthlight handled about 100 solar projects in 2015 and expects to easily double that number by the end of this year.

“In Connecticut and Massachusetts, electricity prices are continuing to go up,” Sam Schneider said. That, combined with the financial benefits of going solar, such as tax incentives, make it a money saving proposition for solar customers.

Those tax benefits are likely to get better soon. Massachusetts is launching the residential version of its SMART initiative, a long-term incentive program designed to encourage the adoption of solar power.

Being an exclusive SunPower installer also benefits our Master Dealers. Sam Schneider says SunPower’s quality solar products and financing options are an advantage to its customers.

“SunPower’s lease is probably the best selling tool we have right now,” he said. “It’s probably the easiest one to use (for the homeowner). And compared to others out there, there aren’t a lot of fees related to it.”

About a third of Earthlight’s business is still its energy efficiency consulting. But the rest is all solar, serving homeowners and businesses. In fact, Earthlight was designated a SunPower Gold Dealer, our highest ranking for commercial installers.

Interest in solar has been so strong that Schneider says the company plans to continue expanding.

He credits that growth to interest from business owners who want to leverage the tax advantages of going solar and segments such as schools and nonprofits, who can go solar with a financing arrangement called a power purchase agreement that lowers their long-term energy costs without any steep upfront expenses.

Joining the Master Dealer network is a big commitment for a company and thus it comes with a name change. Earthlight will become “SunPower by Earthlight,” giving the Schneiders’ team a way — and a reason — to tell the story of how Earthlight earned the coveted Master Dealer title.

“It differentiates us from our competition nicely,” Schneider said. “We’re a very young but mature solar company, and I want to be at the top.”

Looking for a SunPower dealer in your hometown? Click here to find a solar installer by zip code.

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