Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
CEOCFO: Mr. Baro, according to your site “E2SOL Transforms Underutilized Customer Assets through Power Innovation.” How so?
Mr. Baro: Many real estate property assets have brick and mortar buildings that have many underutilized assets. These underutilized assets are classified basically in the form of empty building roofs, open space over a parking area or unbuildable land on the premises.
CEOCFO: What would you like to do with that?
Mr. Baro: We offer to convert this underutilized asset into revenue-producing assets by leveraging renewable energy power generations which can be monetized in the local utility market.
CEOCFO: Do most companies realize this is possible, do they recognize they have underutilized space or maybe empty buildings that might have a real purpose?
Mr. Baro: Most companies are preoccupied with the daily operations of their business and have not really thought about being able to convert their underutilized assets for revenue purposes, so this is a process of industry education and showing commercial customers the opportunity they have to unleash the power of their brick and mortar properties.
CEOCFO: How are you providing that education; how are you reaching out?
Mr. Baro: We are reaching out through one-on-one communication engagements with C-level business owners, communicating that education messages through all industry events that we attend, as well as public releases and the articles that we participate in.
CEOCFO: What are some of the industries that you target and are there some that seem to be better prospects than others?
Mr. Baro: Basically, any commercial property that has a brick-and-mortar building or any sporting facility like golf courses that have open exposure real estate spaces, shopping centers, manufacturing sites, it applies to all sectors of the industry.
CEOCFO: How does E2SOL would work with a company; what you would be developing and how does the process work?
Mr. Baro: One example here in Rhode Island, we have several golf courses and we have been fortunate to develop one golf course which translated to three additional referrals for us. It is a public golf course with open areas and in particular there is an area that is non-buildable, and we actually leveraged that area to install a dual access tracking facility to generate solar power that actually is used to offset 100% of the electricity demand of the facility, therefore allowing the customer to save significant electrical operating expenses. In addition to that, we helped that customer receive a cash grant payment from the State Economic Development Agency. In addition, we facilitated the allowance of another significant cash payment from the US Farm Energy Program. Roughly 50% of the cost of the project was subsidized by hard cash grant payments, plus 26% federal income tax credits from the federal government and 100% accelerated capital depreciation incentives from the government. As you can see it is a very financially profitable endeavor for this customer.
CEOCFO: What about another type of project?
Mr. Baro: Yes, we have a gourmet coffee roaster in Providence, Rhode Island. They manufacture and roast gourmet coffee and this customer has a building that is brick and mortar with a large open roof area. That open roof area was transformed into a power generating facility to offset 100% of the electrical operating cost of that coffee roasting facility.
CEOCFO: Are you looking particularly locally in New England or is that just where you happen to have projects today?
Mr. Baro: We have offices and headquarters here in Providence, Rhode Island. We have offices in southern Massachusetts, we have another office in Palm Beach, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and we are fielding projects nationwide including California.
CEOCFO: When you are talking to potential prospects, is there an aha moment for people?
Mr. Baro: If they fund the development program themselves the actual investment payback is just under three years. The return-on-investment average is just around 10%+ a year for 25 years. The customers have the option to either continue to pay their hard-earned income to the local utilities which actually goes to profit someone else, or they could generate their own power and create an annuity stream of funding for their operations.
CEOCFO: Are you developing the projects yourself, do you contract them out, how does the project actually get done?
Mr. Baro: We do all engineering, permitting, construction, installation, and commissioning with professionals in-house. Those projects outside of the state we project manage with in-house resources. We partner with local licensed electricians to work under our team on behalf of our projects.
CEOCFO: Are you able to ramp-up as needed?
Mr. Baro: That is correct.
CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach over time; what have you learned as more and more companies are taking advantage of E2SOL’s services?
Mr. Baro: We have learned the opportunity to identify the added value for our customers property assets that have not been discovered in the past or have not been relevant at some point. We have learned to enhance the value of underutilized assets for our prospective customers. The other thing we have learned is that customers are experiencing external market changes. For example, if you are a large manufacturing facility or any retail customer, most of your customers are going to be driving into your facility within the next three years using an electric vehicle and if they spend more than an hour on your premises like a shopping center or supermarket, one convenience that you can offer them is the ability to recharge an electrical vehicle. You can also charge a fee for that service, so customers are going to be pressured to retain customer base by facilitating conveniences and at the same time they will adopt our services to service electric vehicles that will be able to create an additional revenue stream.
CEOCFO: Are people ready for that today?
Mr. Baro: People are ready for that today. It is growing more and more; it is no longer an issue of not being able to afford the transformation. There are many federal and state incentives available, there are many kinds of financial “E2SOL will work with you to unleash the value of your current property and enhance your financial potential of that property.” Anthony Baro provisions available. As long as you have a viable and productive business you ought to be able to take advantage of this opportunity.
CECOO: You recently launched a new website, why now?
Mr. Baro: The new website is a combination of a lot of success stories that we have had in the recent two or three years primarily through innovation of new products. We took the opportunity to summarize all of our activities that we have been doing and getting recognition for and have decided to put it out on the market and share information with the general public.
CEOCFO: Are you seeking partners, funding, or investment as you grow?
Mr. Baro: Yes, we are seeking investors particularly for our new product innovations that we have developed and we are in the process of commercialization. We are also looking for investors to invest in projects to own and operate renewable energy facilities for some customers that we have.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us more about your new services or projects?
Mr. Baro: We rolled out a new innovation called Power Docks and Power Docks is basically converting traditional floating docks at Marinas into walkable full-power microgrid facilities. Those floating docks will be able to generate, store and distribute onsite power especially for marina customers that are going to be experiencing their customers in the pleasure boating market, coming in with electric boats that need recharging, as well as customers in the parking lot that are going to need electric vehicle recharging, so their demand for electricity is just going to increase.
CEOCFO: Are there newer technologies or equipment that you are able take advantage of today that perhaps you were not able two or three years ago?
Mr. Baro: New technologies are coming in the form of energy storage and power, DC/AC converters. These are two product technologies coming in integrated into a single solar module, before they were separated into individual components and now they are coming into individual solar modules that help lower installation costs and provide some cost benefits.
CEOCFO: It seems that for many years solar panels have changed and morphed and some people may be hesitant to put something in place today as they think there will be something better a few years from now. How do you overcome that feeling?
Mr. Baro: It is simple, today you have an Apple iPhone model, and you can ask yourself the same question of why you would buy that phone today and not wait five years from now to have a better Apple.
CEOCFO: What if anything might people not recognize about E2SOL that they should understand?
Mr. Baro: We are a family-owned business. We believe in the circular economy, and we support engineering students working at universities, working with us through internship opportunities. We are customer focused and our main interest is to unleash the value for our customers property assets. We work for a win/win relationship. If we deliver good customer value and good customer services, we do not have to worry about the company.
CEOCFO: Final thoughts, why pay attention to E2SOL?
Mr. Baro: E2SOL will work with you to unleash the value of your current property and enhance your financial potential of