Mark Suacci – Founder/CEO Suacci Solar
Mark Suacci is a passionate advocate for solar power – residential or emphatically commercial. He knows the renewable source is good for environmental reasons but it’s also good for economic ones. “Solar is a penny saved — thousands of pennies — and every penny saved is a penny earned,” says Suacci, CEO of Suacci Solar who has more than 30 years’ experience as California’s first solar company.
Suacci’s broad knowledge of the solar industry goes back before 1997, when he pulled the first permit for a commercial solar system in San Diego County. He subsequently pulled the first residential permit as well. From that point Suacci was on the frontier of the industry, blazing a trail for others. He knew, given the late 1990s’ experience with the collapse of Enron and energy vulnerability, that the best solution was the renewable and reliable source of power: the sun. Before he established Captain Voltage Electric in 1997 and Suacci Solar in 2009, Suacci spent a decade putting his experience as a journeyman electrician (IBEW in San Francisco) and electrical contractor to work transitioning into the forefront of the burgeoning clean power industry. His nickname was All Systems Go. As a project manager for United Solar, Suacci traveled the country helping commercial construction projects integrate solar into their buildings.
His Captain Voltage Electric became a highly referred California electrical contractor specializing in the Emerging Renewables rebate program. This program funding was up to 50% of the installed solar system costs to building owners. This jump-started the solar installation business.
In California — at today’s utility prices – a standard solar PV installation can save you nearly $35,000 in electricity bills over the next 20 years. And because high quality systems designed and installed by Mark Suacci can last upwards of 40 years, total lifetime savings approach $70K. “In other words, a $10K installation could actually cost you negative $60K, in other words, pure profit. And this is at today’s utility prices. If electricity rates keep going up (which they most certainly will), your potential savings also rise,” he said.
Suacci says that for commercial it is an even greater return. As an example, he mentions a three-story Southern California professional building his crew is retrofitting with solar. The owner has been paying $150,000 in energy costs annually. The bill is converted into a fixed-loan payment, which will now be closer to $60,000 – with no money down, says Suacci, because of PACE, or property assessed clean energy. The building immediately gets into a positive cash flow as well as a tax exempt equity increase in value.
(PACE programs are local city and state-run pools of federal funds earmarked for energy efficiency and clean energy improvements. All commercial property types are eligible. Permitable improvements include photovoltaic conversions, solar hot water systems, HVAC, lighting, windows, water-efficiency plumbing, and more.)
Suacci highlights a project at the Long Beach Convention Center, which when finished in 2007 was one of the first green facilities in America. He established the first power purchase agreement in the world, and at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, the Navy’s testing range in the Mojave Desert, Suacci installed the country’s first solar carports.
A recent project shines for Suacci like a gem in daylight: The beautiful Santa Clara Library, which Suacci equipped with the first commercially, installed all micro-converters. “They’re a lot safer, more reliable, smarter and easier to fix,” said Suacci. “I’ve developed my own solar panel products. Handpicked the best performing and most reliable solar products in the industry.”
One thing special about San Diego is that, unlike anywhere else, the kilowatt energy generated from a solar system comes mostly from the west-facing array. Suacci knows that because he knows solar.
Currently you can find him designing and helping electrical contractors integrate photovoltaic technologies all over the state. He has trained the owners and staff of numerous other solar and electrical companies as well. “I do all the impossible jobs that others cannot handle, and do engineering and installations for others,” he said.
With 60 sales professionals and 10 electricians on staff, Suacci Solar is energized to meet any need, residential or commercial.