Written by David Castellon
After 13 years in business, a Fresno solar company has turned off its lights.
Arise Solar, Inc., which sold and installed residential and commercial solar systems, shut down May 17, in part due to delays by Fresno city officials to approve some construction projects, said the company’s Owner and Founder Glenn Siemens.
“Basically, I would say don’t borrow money, and watch what you’re spending, he said, explaining that one of the projects to wire a farm for solar was delayed three years while getting approvals from the city.
But early on, Arise had won the bid for that project and had signed a contract to do the work on an agreed-upon price, he said.
As the delays continued, the price of copper wire — a big cost in the project — went up 32%, and Arise was obligated to install the solar at the contracted price, said Siemens, adding that comparable delays in other commercial solar projects further put Arise Solar in the red.
How much he wouldn’t say, but his debts were bad enough that he couldn’t make final payroll for his 31 remaining employees — less than half of his business’ peak number of 78 — when he shut it down last week.
Fortunately, all had new jobs within a couple of days of the closure, most hired by other solar businesses, which Siemens said was a sign of the quality his former staff.
He noted that he and his staff got together to shed some tears, hug and say goodbye.
When asked if he intends to pay off all of Arise’s debts, he said, “I am trying to do everything I can to not file bankruptcy, but there is too much [debt].”
As for Siemens’ future, he said he suspects he will end up selling solar systems, but in somebody else’s business, not his own.