Looking Back & Looking Ahead: the Residential Sales & Design team

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations, we’ll be showcasing a different ReVision team every month. We'll look at how the team and its roles have changed over the past two decades, and glance ahead at what the future might hold.

Looking Back & Looking Ahead: The Residential Sales and Design Team

The Residential Sales team is made up of Solar Advisors – the first employee-owners to call and connect with potential customers – and Solar Design Specialists – the first faces seen by most customers at their initial site visits. When someone expresses interest in solar, this team walks them through the basics, and then goes to their home (sometimes virtually) to take measurements and discuss energy goals. They later create a proposal, often including heat pumps, battery storage, and EV charging, and work closely with the engineering team to ensure technical excellence.

The Beginning of Solar Sales

While currently a team of 48, the Sales team started out with just a few individuals based out of our original Liberty office. John Luft, the very first ReVision employee, summed up the atmosphere:

"The Sales team in the very early days was also the Install team and the Operations team, the Engineering Department, and the Service Department. You did what was needed to get the job done. As we grew, the natural flow was for someone who had been an installer to transition into 'Sales' because they really knew a lot about what needed to go into the design."

Nate Bowie, our VP of Residential Sales, joined ReVision in 2010 as a solar hot water installer and plumbing apprentice. As John described, that naturally led to Nate becoming one of the first sales team members, where he witnessed the Solar Design Specialist (SDS) team really take shape. 

Amy SDS site visit.png“We titled the positions ‘Solar Design Specialist’ because that’s what we do: we design the solar project. At other solar companies, someone else might design the actual system after it’s sold, but our sales team does all that work, which really involves some light engineering.”

Nate says that this technical excellence is one of the greatest strengths of the team, which has grown from its original two to 48 employee-owners: 35 Solar Design Specialists and 13 Solar Advisors.

“Because of the way we structure the team, putting the design in their hands, it forces them to be proficient technically and that’s a big leg up. We can have really in-depth conversations with potential customers. The solar industry is now less of a mystery; customers are way more informed than they used to be, so their questions are beyond 'how many panels fit on my roof?' They want to know how things work and it doesn’t matter if it’s solar or batteries or heat pumps or water heating, our sales team is top notch there.”

Thomas Tutor, Residential Sales Team Manager in Maine, agrees with this. “Our team is so passionate about what they do and always eager to become even more knowledgeable experts in the field. The favorite part of each SDS's job is always a great site evaluation with a new customer who is committed to the clean energy transition and excited to figure out the most practical ways to kick their fossil fuel habit. We love getting to know more Mainers and working together with them to put the building blocks of the clean energy transition into their homes."

Where is Solar Design headed?

We’ve been here for twenty years and now we’re looking ahead to the next twenty. Solar is a rapidly evolving industry, but there are a few key areas we are certain will continue to drive innovation and growth in the industry. 

Virtual Modeling Software and Drone Capabilities

brandon.jpgThe software we use to assess a house and create a mockup of a solar system has become more efficient and effective in recent years. We can now virtually model your home’s potential solar array and even get shade readings without ever having to step foot on your property. In the next few years we expect this software to get even better, and possibly be able to interact with drone imaging.

“There’s a lot of potential for drone innovation with technology that already exists,” said Nate. “It would be helpful for our design team and obviously very cool to be able to show customers.”  

We will never become a fully virtual design team; it’s important for us to have that face-to-face connection with our customers. But improving our virtual modeling abilities will increase the number of site visits we can do as we save time (and carbon emissions!) previously spent driving to sites.

Battery Storage and Bi-Directional Charging

Nate also sees the future of battery storage rapidly developing. Possibilities like home automation integrated with solar, solar inverter integrated batteries, and Smart technologies are all on the horizon for ReVision. We also believe that bi-directional charging – where the battery of your electric vehicle can power your home – will change the battery landscape.

Sheldon Boege Tesla Battery Storage And Ground Mount Solar“Currently the path toward energy storage is to buy a battery, stick it in your basement, and power your home. There will soon be another path! Your EV’s battery has way more capacity than one you can put in your basement. So basement storage won’t go away, but there will be more options for large-scale deployment.”

Inclusive Solar

To achieve the clean and just future we want, we need solar to be accessible to everyone. Thomas thinks that in the future, financing will be key.

Meg-promotes-ReVision-Energy-CSF.jpeg“Becoming more comfortable with financing as the dominant way to go solar will improve access and equity. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax breaks and rebate money will help to make even more projects cash flow positive, meaning New Englanders can trade their current fuel and electric bills for a single clean energy loan payment for solar and heat pumps! The IRA money for state green banks should also help but we've still got about a year to see what that looks like.”

Community solar farms (CSFs) also play big roles in ensuring solar is accessible to all, although currently they are only available in Maine. By eliminating the need to own property or have a solar-friendly roof, community solar farms are bringing solar to everyone from renters to condo owners. This option is also popular among homeowners who have already filled their roof with solar but want to supplement that clean energy load.