“What it comes down to is equipment, inventory and people.” – Wayne Hutson, Director of Operations
Wayne Hutson, Solar Power of Oklahoma’s director of operations, brings 30+ years of experience and MBA knowledge to the team.
Hutson recognizes the impact of current issues for homeowners, including labor, inventory and equipment shortages. While working on his own new home, Hutson empathizes with those navigating construction and prioritizes meeting deadlines and quality standards for SPO projects while being at the forefront of solar services.
Local sourcing for success: supply chain issues and staffing
“What it comes down to is equipment, inventory and people. We have those three areas covered, unlike a lot of other industries at this time,” said Hutson. “We have enough pull with our suppliers that we are getting favorable conditions for timely delivery. Although I am seeing some delay across our industry, inventory and equipment are not a problem for us, with panels, micros, rails, electronics and everything we need to complete new solar installs in a timely manner.”
SPO’s residential solar panels are American made, with manufacturing by a Washington-based company.
“We have experienced a significant hiring curve and I believe we are now fully staffed for the Oklahoma City area for the level of work coming in,” said Hutson. “We are developing the capabilities of our install crews as we anticipate an uptick in demand for solar services.”
SPO’s workforce expands to 50 employees with additional installation crews. Hiring for Tulsa facility is ongoing, aiming for a May 1 opening, improving response times in rural areas.
Interest in solar has steadily increased, with more electric vehicle owners seeking low-cost charging options and concerns over traditional utility rate hikes driving demand. Solar Power of Oklahoma reported a 275% increase in system installations in 2021, with additional growth projected in 2022.
Hiring on character
Hutson credits SPO’s success to our hiring process with building a positive atmosphere for employees and, ultimately, positive customer service experiences when it comes to solar services.
“The number one thing we look for in our employees is character,” said Hutson. “We seek the best professionals in the industry, and every new hire has to hold an apprentice card, which has separate personal and professional requirements.”
Depending on city permitting and factors specific to the home, installs average 90 to 120 days.
“Our goal is a four-to-six-week window. There is a linear process for every single step, from when a customer contracts for services to when they see the benefit on their electric bill,” said Hutson. “Every customer is different, with different expectations, and all kinds of variables that rate in the complication of that install. Ultimately, our job is to resolve any issues for the customer and minimize red tape.”
Know what to expect
Solar generation systems provide long-term investment for homeowners and commercial property owners, with significant savings on utility bills. On average, houses with solar power increase their residential property value by at least $15,000.
Hutson clarifies a common misconception: solar systems guarantee 25-30 years of production, with less than 15% decline after 30 years.
Therefore, solar power can generate savings, mitigate the effects of rate increases
Whereas, rising fuel costs also bring urgency to the issue of the production of electricity and natural gas.
“Rates are going up and people need to think about that. Hutson asked, “As a consumer, will you try to offset that, be green, be responsible?”
“If you can lock in that rate now and get low financing, it’s really the better deal to save in the short and long term, especially as everything is becoming electric, from cars to just our lifestyles being dependent on more and more devices.”
Read more about the financial aspect of solar power in our blog post, “Seven reasons to take a second look at saving with solar power.” The cost of a traditional electricity bill is typically offset by installing solar, which saves customers money, especially as rate increases loom. Find out about financing options, how low-interest loans work and related tax credits.
Hutson recommends homeowners interested in solar power verify all information supplied by any company offering service quotes.
Read about our customers’ experiences, talk with our solar advisors and find out more about the solar process with 12 reasons to consider going solar. Fill out the form below to talk with us.