When brothers Nick and Caleb Gorden formed Shine Solar of Rogers five years ago, they expected sunny days and some storms, but they didn’t expect to be on a national magazine’s list of the nation’s top residential rooftop solar installers.
Solar Power World placed the northwest Arkansas company 34th on its 2021 Top Solar Contractors List, developed annually by the publication to honor the work of solar installation companies throughout the United States. The companies are grouped by market, including utility, commercial and residential, and ranked by the number of kilowatts of capacity they installed in the previous year.
Shine was the only Arkansas-based company listed among the top residential solar contractors, but Scenic Hill Solar of Little Rock and Seal Solar of North Little Rock were included on the publication’s 2021 top commercial contractors list. Scenic Hill, led by former Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, was No. 62 with 9,309 kilowatts installed in 2020. Seal was 82nd on the list with 5,027 kilowatts installed. No Arkansas companies were on the utility contractors’ list.
2020 was a good year for Shine, which now operates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee and has become one of the largest residential providers in the region. It was one of the companies, along with Scenic Hill and Seal, that “not only survived the pandemic but thrived in spite of it,” according to Kelly Pickerel, Solar Power World’s editor in chief.
The national solar industry grew 43% by sales in 2020, when installers put more solar panels up at homes and businesses than any other year on record. Residential sales were up 11% despite hurdles caused by COVID.
One bright spot has been the federal government’s two-year extension of the solar investment tax credit at the end of last year, a move that kept financial incentives high for solar adopters.
Shine Solar, which has 227 employees, installed a total of 8,260 kilowatts of solar power in 2020, and has installed 22,000 kilowatts of solar capacity since 2016.
Although solar power is Shine’s bread and butter, the company also sells a significant amount of HVAC, home energy efficiency products and home backup battery systems through its Shine Air and Shine Home divisions.