Solar business profile: Geoff Sharp, Sharper Impressions Painting

Delaware co-op member Geoff Sharp wanted to put solar on his home as a way to reduce his environmental footprint. Unfortunately, his roof faced the wrong way and was covered by trees. But this did not prevent him from going solar, as his painting company’s building was a perfect fit for it.

“We’re in an open warehouse district,” Sharp said. “Our roof is nearly flat with a slight angle that is at a perfect direction for optimum solar power production.”

The system took only three days to install but the interconnection process took months, as Sharp waited for the utility to connect a smart meter and permit the system to be switched on.

“That was kind of frustrating because you have an expensive piece of equipment on your roof that’s basically mirrors until it gets connected,” Sharp said. “When the electric company first connected the meter, I saw the arrow pointing back to the grid for two whole days and we used no energy from the electric company during the first two days the solar was on. That was awesome!”

Sharper Impressions Painting’s 28 panels provide 9 kW of solar. This covers about 80% of his office’s electric needs.

In addition to its electric output, the system has become a showpiece for the firm. It is looking into adding a roof hatch and ladder to make it easy to take clients or vendors on the roof for meetings on warm, sunny days.

Sharp looks forward to warmer months when his system’s output will be higher.

“We’re excited for two things when it’s sunny and warm in the spring and summer,” Sharp said. “We’ll be making money painting outside and also making money from our solar system.”