Innovator of the Week
Mark “Cuz” Pelletier
President of Anar Solar
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Anar Solar is a full-service solar energy company that has developed its own patented racking and ballast systems, and provides installation, solar design, and general contracting services to support the deployment of our design. Our innovative and effective approach delivers the most efficient and cost-effective solution for large-scale, ground-mounted solar arrays in the solar/PV industry. We specialize in landfill installations where Anar Solar’s arrays can be assembled quickly on virtually any terrain, in any climate, and with the highest quality. Our ability to mount solar arrays on a landfill’s sloped surface (up to 40% slope) is unique in the industry, yet our non-invasive approach adheres to sustainable practices because there’s no need for earth trenching and digging. With our approach, we’ve engineered-out most of the costs by minimizing the use of heavy equipment, eliminating damage to the site grounds, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and negating any impact on the environment. As a company, we recognize that renewable solar energy resources are essential to a brighter future for all, and Anar Solar’s dedicated team is committed to providing the most effective way to deliver these resources.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
Due to the opportunity that our patented approach represents to the global solar industry, we sought-out and received advice early on from our local chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). I was skeptical at first, thinking that their business advisors may be better suited for smaller, local “cottage industries” or retail stores, but we were paired with mentors who had serious executive management credentials with global companies in high-growth markets, and their guidance turned out to be invaluable.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
You mean BESIDES raising the money?? Because that’s an ongoing endeavor!!
We are seen by many as a disruptive technology that challenges the status quo, so our biggest obstacle was educating the market on the many efficiency, economic, and environmental benefits of our “new-to-industry” approach. While there are valid residential and commercial applications for our approach, we overcame this obstacle by developing a strategy that focused on the larger, more lucrative municipal landfill markets and the specialized companies operating in that space to whom our approach represents a significant competitive advantage.
What’s the best advice you have received?
I once read a quote from a Swedish entrepreneur named Niklas Zennstrom who said, “Surround yourself with smart, dedicated people. To build something isn’t a one-man show. It’s more important to have smart people who really believe in what you’re doing than really experienced people who may not share your dream.”
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
Unlike other parts of the country, I enjoy the fact that we get to experience all four seasons here in New Hampshire. From water sports in the summer to skiing in the winter and everything in between, New Hampshire provides a great quality of life. And because we are centrally located within the six New England States, our New Hampshire office gives us a great opportunity to expand our business regionally.
What does the future look like for your company?
As a New Hampshire-based company, Anar Solar is well positioned to take advantage of the extensive solar development happening in New England and throughout the Northeast US. In 2014, $11 million was invested on solar installations in New Hampshire. And since then, installed solar photovoltaic system prices in the U.S. have dropped steadily — by 8% from last year and 49% from 2010.
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