NC Sustainable Energy Association


Posts in category "Success Stories"

Success Stories: Strata Solar CEO Discusses Landmark Project

February 6, 2012 7:20 PM | Posted By: Amneris Solano

Markus Wilhelm, founder and CEO of Strata Solar, lead the Chapel Hill-based company in the creation of one of the largest solar farms in North Carolina. On 28 acres in Cleveland County, the Kings Mountain Solar Farm, is comprised of 22,000 panels powering 600 homes. The 5 MW solar farm took about three months to build and created jobs for more than 70 local installers and engineers. 

NCSEA's Communications & Government Affairs Specialist, Amneris Solano, spoke with Wilhelm about the company's benchmark project and its success.

Could you discuss how the Kings Mountain Solar Farm makes Strata a force in the industry?

The Kings Mountain project was a real milestone for us and has given us cause to reflect on all that we have achieved as a team in the past three years. Strata Solar’s success is based on four important pillars: Environmental focus, workforce development/job creation, team spirit, and a commitment to unsurpassed quality and value.


Strata Solar is 100% vertically integrated and has all the core competencies in-house: Project Development, Financing, Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. We use only the very best suppliers and rely on our highly trained professionals to get every job done right, on time, and on budget.  Duke Energy, our partner for Kings Mountain made a point to reference these three points about Strata Solar at the Kings Mountain opening ceremony – nothing could have made us happier.


Tell us more about Strata’s work development programs.

A critical part of our mission is to help develop jobs and long-term skills for the communities that are local to our larger projects. By geographically clustering these projects, we can keep our workforce working and earning. We cooperate closely with local workforce development offices to identify construction workers that have been hard hit by the economic downturn.

Our objective is to recruit, train, and put these individuals back in the field in a new industry that has a bright future. One of our key workforce partners is the Raleigh Business and Technology Center that provided us with access to a large pool of highly skilled young workers in the age group of 18 to 25.

Success Stories: Argand Energy VP Discusses 68 KW Solar Project

January 23, 2012 9:17 AM | Posted By: Amneris Solano

Chatham Olive is VP of Business Development & Community Relations for Argand Energy Solutions. He is a longtime NCSEA member and a well-known advocate for clean energy who often rides the roads of NC on his motorcycle or in his car licensed, Solarup!

NCSEA's Communications & Government Affairs Specialist, Amneris Solano, spoke with Olive about Argand's install of a 68-kilowatt solar system for the city of Concord. Argand partnered with the city of Concord and Hyperion Energy LLC on the project.

NCSEA: How was Argand Energy Solutions able to partner with the city of Concord and Hyperion Energy on this project?

Olive: Argand was the winner of Concord’s RFP on this project. They had received a State Energy Office grant and were seeking a qualified, solar development/installation firm that could accomplish the project and obtain an investor who would match the state grant. Argand structured the financing, sourced Hyperion Energy to invest, then wrote a winning proposal as a response to the RFP.

NCSEA: What was Argand’s role in the project? 

Olive: In addition to designing and installing the system, Argand provided a solution for getting the City of Concord twice as much solar as would have been possible with their grant money alone.

NCSEA: What are the benefits of this project?

Olive: It’s a great side benefit that the solar canopies provide shade for cars parked underneath but I think the main benefits are clean energy flowing into the Concord grid, a good return for our investor, jobs for our employees and suppliers, and a highly visible project that helps show those who see it the reality of solar energy happening now all across NC, the USA, and the world.

NCSEA: What are the energy savings? Cost savings?

Olive: All energy is sold onto the grid. The City of Concord, was able to benefit from cost savings brought on by the recent steep decline in the cost of solar modules, be they foreign made or American made like those used on the Concord project.