November 23, 2022

Installer Spotlight: SUNation Energy

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For Scott Maskin, community is everything.

Back in 2003, Scott co-founded solar installer and service provider SUNation Energy to serve Long Island, a community in which Scott and his team are deeply rooted. Over the last 20 years, SUNation has grown into a leading local provider, with more than 8,000 systems installed and nearing 100MW installed on Long Island alone.

“We set out to build SUNation for our neighbors,” Scott stated in a recent conversation with Enphase. “My friends, family, and team are all here on Long Island. We’ve had opportunities to expand to other states, but we chose to stay here to remain the regional brand. We are proud to serve our community.”

Today, SUNation’s impact in the Long Island community reaches well beyond residential and commercial solar installations. Not only does the installer offer robust maintenance and repairs through its SUNation Service division, but it also operates SUNation Cares, a nonprofit that provides free solar systems to Long Island families in need.

A customer-centric approach

Core to SUNation’s success is its pragmatic, hands-on approach rooted in a strong customer-centric ethos. Self-defined as “old school,” Scott prioritizes building genuine relationships with his customers, and he prefers to solve problems with open dialogue, face to face. “I don’t want to hear statistics,” he said. “And there’s only so much you can do over email. I want to talk to the customers themselves to really understand who they are and what they need.”

From the start, it was important to Scott and his team to build a business with an outstanding customer experience. He held up his hand to illustrate: “Here, the customer is at the center, the palm of the hand, and everything else is a finger – an offshoot of the customer and their needs. The customer experience is embedded in every decision we make.”

“Enphase helps us fill the ‘finger’ of delivering high-quality products that help us create a positive experience every step of the way,” Scott continued. “In this industry, there can be a race to the bottom with price at the expense of quality, but we are loyal to Enphase because it enables us to be more successful at what we do – and it pays off when you do things the right way, with the best products.”

Enphase products have also allowed Scott’s team to standardize installs, which helps ensure that each one is completed with the same high-quality craftmanship. He adds, “I also appreciate that the staff at Enphase is very responsive. When there’s a failure, it’s addressed quickly and efficiently. That’s a sign of good leadership.”

Long Islanders have responded positively to SUNation’s excellent customer service; the company has won numerous awards and it maintains an impressive 65% customer referral rate.

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No one gets left in the dark

Of course, not everyone can afford to go solar – and it’s often those that need it the most. The SUNation team makes sure that no Long Islander gets left in the dark through SUNation Cares, a nonprofit which provides free solar systems for families and organizations that have limited resources and support systems. “There are a lot of people for whom the gift of free electricity is life-altering,” Scott said. “We focus on families with veterans, special needs, and others who, without a $3,000 per year electricity bill, can access therapy and other essential support services.”

SUNation Cares installs all systems at no cost to the customer, covering labor and shouldering all of the costs. The team sources the equipment from reclaimed systems that have been replaced by newer equipment: Rather than throwing out panels and inverters that are in perfectly good working condition, SUNation Cares gives them a second life.

While these charitable efforts undoubtedly benefit the greater Long Island community, Scott feels that the SUNation Cares projects are equally important for SUNation employees to experience. “It’s really cool for the teams to get to meet the families receiving the systems, and for them to understand that working at SUNation is not just about a job; we are also here to be socially responsible and give back to the community.” Most recently, SUNation Cares completed a system for an elementary school on a local Indian reservation, even employing some of the graduates from a local workforce program for the installation.

Doing good for Long Island

To Scott, there is no secret to SUNation’s success – it’s as simple as doing good for your community. “It’s Business 101: If it feels bad, it’s probably wrong,” he commented. “Treat people the way you want to be treated yourself. So many people are motivated only by money, but I want to do the right thing for my employees, my family and friends, and the rest of the Long Island community.”

“For a company to succeed, everyone has to win,” he added. “I have had some tough days for sure, but I wouldn’t change anything for the way we do things. That old adage is right: If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day of your life.”

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