John Gurski, Founder and CEO of Energy Toolbase, a solar startup creating a smarter proposal

This week I spent time with John Gurski, the young and hungry CEO of Energy Toolbase. While I was familiar with Energy Toolbase COO, Adam Gerza, I had not met John yet and was surprised to find out he was based in South Florida. So I made the drive to join him and some of his team at their offices.

John has spent time as a solar developer, pitching clients and working on roofs. It was 2012 when he came up with the problem, how can you create a better proposal for customers without having to copy and paste inside an excel file. The only problem was, he didn’t know how to code. So like any reasonable solar developer, he taught himself.

Launching in 2014, John convinced his fiancée, now his wife, and his father to man the startup alley booth for the newly founded Energy Toolbase booth at Intersolar NA. With initial clients signed up, the company was off to a big start.

Now the team is over a dozen, 3 offices and revenue in the millions. Energy Toolbase has taken the proposal tool further by integrating sophisticated rate analysis and a robust database of utility rates. The team scours the utility rate schedules and updates them for their users on an ongoing basis.

Coming soon is the complete overhaul of their storage analysis platform. With the ability to either upload 8760 data or create a simulated version based on energy bills, contractors and developers will be able to model demand reduction, demand shifting and demand arbitrage with the new release.

I love spending time with startup founders that choose solar over other fields. Energy Toolbase is a success story and they have not raised any money, yet.

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Tony Clifford from Standard Solar: Being acquired by Gaz Metro and working on SEIA

Tony Clifford has been with Standard Solar for over a decade, spending much of his time as the CEO until stepping aside late in 2016. This wasn’t his first time in solar, having worked for Solarex and BP Solar in the Carter/Reagan years. What are the parallels between the Carter/Reagan transition to those between Obama/Trump when it comes to solar?

Standard Solar was recently acquired by Gaz Metro, a diversified energy company based in Montreal, which also owns Green Mountain Power. Tony and I discuss how the process played out and how Standard Solar was able to stand out amongst the many solar companies that went to market last year.

Our discussion also goes into Tony’s work in policy. Since stepping down as CEO, he has been devoting much of his time on policy and business development. As an longtime elected member of the SEIA board, Tony was part of the search committee for the CEO job at SEIA that went to Abby Hopper.

The next steps for Standard Solar look bright. With access to capital, including tax equity, Standard will be looking to acquire development projects throughout the Country.

If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher radio. Please subscribe and share with your friends how much EnergyWakeup is helping you!

The Clinton And Trump Supporters Venn Diagram of Agreement

 When it comes to an overlap of issues that both Clinton and Trump supporters agree on, the issues are limited. Issues on energy are no different and show a large divergence on all fossil fuel issues but there is some agreement. In a poll conducted from August 16th to September 12th by Pew Research, 1,324 registered voters were asked about their support regarding coal, fracking, nuclear, wind and solar.

Mr. Trump has been very supportive of coal, in particular clean coal, that it comes up during debates and is a standard part of his stump speech. The effort goes to reach out to voters that support coal and his polling is supported by Pew. In this poll, supporters were the most polarized. 69% of Trump supporters are in favor of more coal while 22% of Clinton fans.

Contrary to what utilities have been doing across the US, supporters start to align on their favorability when it comes to fracking and nuclear. Natural gas and nuclear power are the primary increases in ratebase spending by utilities. The support for fracking and nuclear energy barely surpass the 50% levels.

Social experiments can be a nice way to prove that polling works. A solar company attended a Trump rally with a simple message, build a wall…of solar panels on your roof. There was little disagreement from Trump supporters on having more solar. Numbers back up the video with 91% of Clinton supporters and 84% of Trump supporters favoring expansion of solar.

As the electorate gets together on an issue, the movement ends up in the political arena. National Geographic covered the influence that the utilities yield in State Capitols and remain powerful but these kinds of polls can only go to further the political will of legislators to go where the voters already are. Much like the support for coal is so strong, the support for solar may begin to transcend party lines.