Wine profits and stimulus money are helping fuel expansion at one of the fastest-growing renewable energy companies on the Central Coast.
San Luis Obispo-based REC Solar has expanded from 20 employees in 2005 to about 500 today and will install 1,700 solar systems this year. The company predicts that business in the agriculture sector — and in particular, the Central Coast’s booming wine industry — will double next year.
But despite that growth, a number of policy obstacles keep solar from catching on in the U.S. the way it has in Europe and other parts of the world. REC Solar Chief Executive Officer Angiolo Laviziano sat down with the Business Times to discuss the company’s success and what it will take for California and the United States to draw more of its energy from the sun.
Laviziano said the biggest barrier isn’t space. There’s plenty of it on commercial and industrial rooftops. It’s knowledge – many of the business owners he meets still believe a solar installation takes 20 to 50 years to pay for itself, but that number has fallen to five or seven years.