Celebrating the Past and Looking Forward to the Future
April 5, 2023
By Bret Biggart
I write a lot here about the transformative role solar power can play in people’s lives and society — the ways it helps people live more powerfully, and the lessons it offers to decision-makers in government and beyond.
Here’s how some of those same lessons have shaped this company and me:
In 2011, I was facing a career transition — but I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was fascinated by work that was helping people live sustainably, so I started looking for ways to translate my passion into a business.
Solar was an obvious fit: the need for clean energy was obvious, customer demand was clear, technology was coming on strong, and tales of poor customer service from would-be competitors were pretty legendary.
It seemed like, if we could build a company that really focused on consumers from top to bottom — if we could create a one-stop shop for buying and installing solar panels that made the process easy to navigate, delivered great results, and gave folks one throat to choke if anything went wrong — we’d have a big advantage in a fast-growing industry. (We also had a secret weapon: Adrian Buck, an industry pioneer known for his expertise and craftsmanship, had founded Freedom Solar a few years before I got here and already had it moving on a great path.)
We were fortunate to embed some basic core values into Freedom Solar’s DNA. Some of those values, like our focus on people, come straight out of our business model. I’ve written about how governments and policy makers do better when they focus on people — well, I know that’s true of businesses, and that’s always been core to our approach at Freedom Solar.
There are also personal values that have guided my life and worked their way into Freedom Solar’s culture. Key among them: get out of your comfort zone. It’s the best advice I’ve ever received, and it’s something I’ve pushed my kids, acquaintances, and team to do.
That means trying new things fearlessly, being open and honest with others, and facing challenges head-on. It’s essential, because taking risks is how we grow.
It’s certainly worked for Freedom Solar. When we started, we aimed to make this the largest solar company in Texas. It took about six years to reach that goal. We doubled in 2020, doubled again in 2021, and nearly doubled again in 2022.
Our values set us apart. As we grow and evolve, we’ll remain faithful to them, no matter what.