OSEIA Recognizes a New Era in Solar Energy
Portland, OR – February 26, 2016 - The Oregon Solar Industries Association recently recognized John Patterson for a lifetime of service to the Solar Industry with an Apogee Award at their annual member meeting on Feb 26th. OSEIA’s Apogee Award honors leaders in our solar community who have shown exceptional creativity, dedication, and success in working with industry stakeholders to expand the adoption of solar energy in Oregon.
“This marks the turning point for an industry that started out as mom & pop operations in the late 70s and early 80s and has exploded into an industry worth hundreds of million of dollars here in Oregon” exclaimed John at the member meeting.
John Patterson, many whom consider, the Pioneer of the Solar industry in Oregon, began his career with a home improvement project in 1979 and less than a year later John branded himself as Mr. Sun Solar. Over the next 36 years, John weathered the ups and downs of an unstable industry known as the “solar coaster.” Under his tutelage John has trained and employed almost 1/3 of the current installer workforce in Oregon and installed over 2,000 solar systems across Oregon.
With the recent extension of the Federal ITC, rising electricity rates and increasing pressure on utilities to provide clean, renewable energy, the solar industry is not what it used to be. Large, well established companies are making their vie to capitalize on an exploding industry and in 2013 John Patterson sold Mr. Sun Solar to Neil Kelly. “We didn’t invest into the solar industry because we wanted John to have a happy retirement” notes Tom Kelly, President and CEO of Neil Kelly, “we bought Mr. Sun Solar because the industry is stable, profitable and the opportunities are massive. John developed a wonderful brand and his expertise is second to none.”
Neil Kelly is not alone, huge electrical distributors such as PLATT, North Coast Electric, and Eoff Electric supply millions of dollars of solar and electrical equipment to developers and installers throughout Oregon and Washington and continue to invest in more resources to supply an ever growing industry. Ec-Co., one of the regions largest electrical contractors, is taking advantage of this boom. Pat Schellerup, Solar Project Developer with Ec-Co. notes “We have been installing solar for years, but now the opportunities are endless. From rooftop distributed solar arrays to large utility scale solar farms we see solar integration as a huge part of our business moving forward. John Patterson gave me my first job in the industry, and we all do owe him a debt for blazing our trail.”
Years ago, Patterson said, “I hope to see in my lifetime coal plants closing as wind turbines and PV modules go up… Renewable energy is no longer just an option for the individual; it's a necessity for the greater society.” Currently, the Oregon Legislature is considering a robust climate bill, the clean electricity & coal transition bill, which would allow John to see this vision.