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Meet Michael Campbell of RA Power & Light in Laguna Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Campbell.

Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Bootstrapped out of my 401k / Started operations in 2009 with a sole focus on commercial industrial solar and Houses of Worship. We’ve paid our own way ever since.

Since 2009, RA POWER & LIGHT has established itself as the leading Energy Services Company serving commercial industrial ratepayers with a diverse mix of conservation and renewable power solutions. RA POWER & LIGHT helps commercial enterprises achieve best practices in Energy Management, Verification and Distributed Generation, aimed at Energy Value Chain Optimization (ECO).

Green for Good® is the guiding set of people, processes and technology enabling RA POWER & LIGHT to deliver renewable energy services that profitably embed environmental, social and financial sustainability over the 25+ year life of Commercial Industrial Solar systems. We design/build C&I renewable systems meeting the green challenge to help Clients stay in the black. RPL solutions are built on a foundation of social responsibility aimed at preventing harm to the environment while delivering reliable renewable power infrastructure to meet energy requirements for future generations.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We built RA POWER & LIGHT based on our ability to deliver predictable outcomes on even the most complex commercial solar projects. At the same time, the solar industry is burdened with reliance on a global commodity (PV modules) with pricing volatility. That means if we make a pricing mistake- or any miscalculation for that matter, we cover the cost to make it right ourselves, without coming to the Client for more. Things often change mid-project- but we’ve never sent a change order to a customer requesting they pay for it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about RA Power & Light – what should we know?
We are not trying to build a large company. We are instead, trying to create a valuable one. That means managing operations costs to the point where they don’t change our sales culture. Many solar firms have burn rates that force them to sell X number of systems each month to stay in business. Rather than wrestling people to the carpet and putting a pen in their hand, we aspire to be trusted advisors to management. We perform a lot of free consulting on the front end to earn the right to design and build the best commercial PV systems the industry has to offer. Many projects can take 2-3 years to come to fruition. The first step is educating the client so they can make a fact-based decision. From that point forward, we run on their schedule- not ours. While we’ve been featured on the cover Solar Industry Magazine and other national publications, we don’t advertise- our track record of good work, aerial photography and happy clients speak for itself.

Another trait that sets us apart is instead of a sales person signing an Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract and moving on to a new opportunity, RPL Sales also serve as the project developer- staying with their projects from start to finish. When we sign a contract with a client, that’s when the work begins- With a single point of contact through the sales cycle and onto project completion, RA POWER & LIGHT clients know the buck stops with our people. Our mission is to deliver greater value over the 25+ year life of renewable assets – RA POWER & LIGHT customers see that first hand in every project we build.

Between residential, utility-scale and commercial industrial solar, C&I can be an elusive unicorn for most competitors. Rather than chasing all market segments, we’ve maintained a strict focus on C&I from the start, a strategy that continues to serve us well. We have a precise understanding of which vertical industries and facility types most benefit from the work we do, mapped against the “right” horizontal market segments. In a typical installation, RPL systems range from 250 kW to 1MW AC. Mid-market commercial systems in this range are too large for residential solar companies to qualify for and in several instances, too small for our largest competitors to gain economy of scale. Long sales cycles, system complexity and a lack of a process-level understanding of the Clients business present severe obstacles to the competition. With zero debt or outside investors, a methodical approach to project development and a strict focus on southern California, RA POWER & LIGHT is well positioned for continued success.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
It would have been impossible to achieve success without a fantastic core team of dedicated people anxious to prove we are who we say we are- every day. Their dedication, patience and tenacity give RA POWER & LIGHT an edge in every client engagement. And behind it all, the support of my beautiful wife Caroline.

We are an overnight sensation, nine years in the making.

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