Freedom Solar Moves into New HQ As Revenue Surges Past $26M
July 11, 2019
Freedom Solar has been installing solar panels atop roofs since 2007. Its business has really taken off in the past few years and executives hope a new, bigger headquarters can help the business add fuel to the fire.
Freedom Solar LLC, a solar panel installer and one of the fastest-growing companies in Austin, has a new headquarters.
It moved in mid-June into about 20,000 square feet at 4801 Freidrich Lane, in Southeast Austin less than a mile east I-35. The new location includes about 12,000 square feet of warehouse space, which has room for thousands of solar panels at a time. There’s also a Tesla charging station in the parking lot.
Freedom Solar is leasing the space from HPI Real Estate Services & Investments. The general contractor for the new HQ was Jahn Construction LLC, the architect was Kampfe De Stijl and Austin Community Signs made the exterior signs.
Freedom Solar was previously based in about 12,000 square feet at 4111 Todd Lane, about 2 miles away from the Freidrich Lane location.
The goal of the move was to secure a larger space where all 150 Freedom Solar employees across multiple teams — sales, installation, back office, etc. — could gather in one place.
“I can already tell there has been massive improvements in warehouse logistics,” CEO Bret Biggart said.
It was important to Biggart and other executives to preserve the company’s tight-knit culture through the big move. The new facility is actually enhancing that culture by allowing more face-to-face meetings and collaboration, Biggart said.
“I’d argue culture may be the most important thing in business,” he said. “Our culture is wrapped around attitude and grit and people’s passion to work here.”
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Biggart is a big proponent of sharing financial information with employees, from everyone’s pay levels — including the CEO — down to daily profit and loss numbers.
“I want people to come to Freedom Solar not just for a job but to build a career,” Biggart said. “If everybody buys into that and understands that to build a career, the business need to be making a profit … that will get us there.”
Freedom Solar had revenue of more than $26 million in 2018, according to the company. That’s up from $21.3 million in 2016 and $8.6 million in 2014, a growth rate that has earned it recognition from Austin Business Journal and Inc. magazine.
It’s off to a fast start in 2019 as well, with sales up 28 in the first quarter compared to the year prior. And Biggart said Freedom Solar’s June was its best month ever for residential sales with $4.3 million.
In the past couple of months the company has added about 30 employees, boosting the overall headcount to about 150 in Austin. Freedom Solar also has expanded into other Texas cities like Houston.
Part of the surge in business could be tied to the federal solar tax credit, which in 2019 allowed homeowners and businesses to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar system from their federal taxes. This year’s 30% deduction resulted in average savings of $5,000 for homeowners nationwide and $30,000 for businesses with a $100,000 system, according to Freedom Solar.
But the tax credit is set to decline — it falls to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021 and then 10% in 2022 and beyond.
At the end of 2018, Texas had the sixth-most solar infrastructure of any state in the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
Freedom Solar was founded in 2007 and has installed about 55 megawatts worth of solar panels, the company said. Its panels can be found atop many homes in Austin as well as businesses such as Strictly Pediatrics Surgery Center, Covert Ford and Chevrolet of Hutto and Rehme Steel Windows & Doors.