Friday, November 16, 2018
Business Spotlight

Soaking Up the Sun

Cutler Bay Solar Solutions brings education (and savings) to the South Florida community.

For Cutler Bay Solar Solutions CEO Raul Vergara, renewable energy isn’t just a business, it’s his passion. The Cuban-born, European-bred business owner has done more than 100 installations in the two years since incorporating his business, bringing both his knowledge of and awe for solar technology to residents in Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay among others.

“I’ve always been an environmentalist,” says Vergara. “The technology of solar power, the way the energy is transmitted and how we collect it… just the amount of energy that the sun gives off is fascinating. There is so much energy to be harnessed and we harness such a small part of it.”

Vergara, who relocated to Miami from Spain in 1979, began his green journey in 2008, working with local mayors to create a coalition that eventually formed the Clean Energy Green Corridor that encompasses Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and Miami Shores. Drawing on his background in both sales and engineering, Vergara launched Cutler Bay Solar Solutions in 2013 and saw the interest in “going green” explode over the past few years. In fact, Vergara says his clientele is so varied he has no average customer.

“I service the high-end customer as well as the average single-family household,” he says. “We’ve done 104 installations and everyone is different in its own way, but they all share the same concern that we need to make a difference and change our ways.”

Changing those ways also varies from client to client… and not all require the immediate installation of solar roof panels. According to Vergara, the company often finds small ways to save money and energy during their initial inspection of the property (they offer a no-cost energy survey to potential clients). “We look at the water heater, AC, lighting, windows, roof,” he says, noting that swapping out an electric water heater for a solar version can save up to 80% per month. “We don’t promote solar panels, we look at how we can help you save energy. Even just repairing faulty equipment will save money.”

For those who wish to take the next step, the company puts the property through another series of inspections, determining everything from directional exposure to the amount of space available for panels. Once satisfied that the home can handle solar energy, and with the determination of the bare minimum needed to run the home, they then size and design a system specifically for that property. “We look at where they go on the roof, how they can attach. We pull all the permits and have everything approved,” Vergara says. “We meet hurricane codes as the panels are impact resistant. The panels even strengthen the roof.”

In addition to those benefits, Vergara says more and more homeowners are looking into solar as a result of the Ygrene initiative, allowing owners within the green corridor to fold financing into their property taxes. As of this summer Vergara says his clients are generating about 10 megawatts of electricity per week and creating green benefits equivalent to taking 200 cars off of the streets. “That’s the kind of difference we’re making,” he says. “Not just as a company, but our customers as well.”

Looking forward, Vergara hopes to use his passion to inspire fellow community members to “join the solar revolution” and to continue to share his knowledge of renewable energy with more and more homeowners. Says Vergara “Education is the key to success with this.”

Call Cutler Bay Solar Solutions today at 786.457.5958!

Andrea Carneiro
the authorAndrea Carneiro