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Kevin Schulte

CEO, GreenSpark Solar

Years in current role:20

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Being the CEO of a values-led business allows me to operate a business and lead people with purpose. Our stated mission as a clean energy company is to do our part to solve the climate crisis with local solutions to a global problem. With that mission being shared among our 80 people, we have been given the opportunity to become a choice employer for so many. We provide above average wages and way better benefits than most other companies. This care for our employees allows each of them to live a life with the tools to provide for their financial, physical, mental and spiritual health. We also are having a lot of fun doing this work. So the part I enjoy most is providing quality employment for mission-aligned employees that allows them to provide for their families.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

How many times can I say supply chain in a 100-word answer? The challenges we face to ensure we have supplies within our industry solar modules, inverters and racking and from the everyday supply chain like electrical components, concrete, woods, steel, etc. have been crippling and challenging to everything we do. We will continue to do our best to have reasonably priced supply, but these problems appear to be getting worse not better.

What has been your organization’s biggest success over the past year?

I think growing and making a profit in 2021 was quite a feat. The solar industry has major headwinds from COVID to policy uncertainty, to trade issues, supply chain challenges and utilities that want to stop us onevery project. We turned in our highest revenue and second-highest profit year ever and are please to try and grow again in 2022. When you couple that financial success with the important work we do, it feels pretty good.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the technology industry over the next year?

Technology in our business is advancing at a very rapid rate. Every year a module of the same footprint seems to be 10-20% more efficient. Battery storage is really coming into its own and as the world goes to electric cars, new, faster and more programmable EV chargers will be everywhere. Our test will be to provide economically efficient projects to our customers and not chase “wizbang” just because customers found it online somewhere.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

We work with a number of local organizations as listed below. We are always working at the cross section of Social Justice and Climate Justice. This list represents exactly that Ethos of our business:

  • Ghandi Institute
  • Foodlink
  • United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
  • Indeed We Feed
  • Mentors Inspiring Boys & Girls
  • Metro Justice
  • Parenting Cillage
  • RAICA: Rochester Area Interfaith Climate Action
  • Verona Street Animal Shelter
  • Genesee Land Trust
  • Sierra Club
  • Adirondack Mountain Club
  • Ugandan Water Project

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 50 Technology list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.

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