SolarCity is trying hard to catch up with massive demand. The San Mateo-based solar installer has tripled its footprint in South Bay by moving into a new 30,000-square foot warehouse in Hawthorne. SolarCity said that 12 crews will be working seven days a week to accommodate demand. The company moved to Hawthorne from a 10,000-square foot facility in Westchester.
SolarCity plans to penetrate further
SolarCity first opened its first warehouse in the South Bay in 2007, with 25 employees at its Westchester facility. Now it has locations in Hawthorne, Chatsworth and Atwater village. The Hawthorne facility has more than 240 employees, said regional operations manager Oswaldo Acosta. Of them, about 160 are in sales. Acosta said the new facility will cover 46 cities in Southern California.
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SolarCity’s regional VP for California and Hawaii, Jim Cahill, said that the solar installer plans to penetrate further into communities it already serves. Acosta, who joined the company in 2009, said the business has doubled every year since he began working for SolarCity. Previously, a 20-panel installation in the South Bay used to take three days. Now it takes less than four hours, largely due to its snap-together panel technology.
SolarCity’s explosive growth will continue
SolarCity is looking forward to the implementation of Assembly Bill 2188 next month, that will allow cities to speed up the permitting process for solar installation. Currently, it takes about three months from the sale date to activation, due to regulatory hurdles. The San Mateo-based company expects to reduce it to 30 days. Cahill said the company’s explosive growth will continue as solar still makes up a small fraction of the total energy market.
Last week, SolarCity hired former Obama campaign strategist Jon Carson as its director for the Ambassador program. The company gives $250 to every Ambassador who refers a new customer to SolarCity. About 50% of SolarCity’s new business comes through referrals. The company hopes that Carson will encourage Ambassadors to bring in new customers. SolarCity has more than 30,000 Ambassadors across the United States.