History of HelioPower – My 15 Year Journey

The History of HelioPower – The Beginning
By Mo Rousso, Founder, HelioPower

Mo Rousso, Founder of HelioPower, reflects upon the history of HelioPower and his 15 year journey with the company.

the history of heliopower

 

Fifteen years ago this month, the idea of HelioPower was born. I had just come off of one of the worst years in tech, resulting in the bursting of the Internet bubble and the resultant carnage it caused, all across the sector. Unfortunately, the company I was with did not survive and I was left in search of my next gig.

 

Coincidentally, I was told about a men’s retreat up in the mountains near Bear Valley. So, off I went, determined to rediscover my passions and reinvent myself. After a week of meditations, Tai Chi, drum circles, and truthful talk about feelings (ugh), I came upon the idea of HelioPower.

 

You see, I had a very diverse background in utility generation engineering and optimization, water and wastewater utility consulting, business management, and a retirement nest egg I could use to bootstrap my company. I also knew that I didn’t want to work for anyone else and wanted to be the master of my own destiny. So, I came down from the mountain and started a company called Urban Refuge.

 

The name Urban Refuge came from my desire to create a sustainable refuge for my family and others within the urban jungle of Southern California. I also took on two business partners, but retained 51% ownership of the company. One of my partners was an electrical contractor who would be responsible for the installation of our projects. The other partner was a sales professional who would handle that aspect of the business. As the Engineer and President, I would be responsible for design and overall Company direction.

 

I ended up selling the Company’s first project to an 89-year-old Economics PhD in Fallbrook, California. It was to be a ground mounted system in her backyard. She was driven, not by payback, but, rather, by the legacy she chose to leave to her family and community. I quickly realized that I really didn’t know exactly how to properly design these systems, so I enrolled in every class I could find at SEI in Carbondale, Colorado. Since money was tight, I actually camped in a local pasture and showered at the local community pool 3 times a week during my month’s stay. I received an excellent education in PV there, met some good like-minded people, and had a ball.

 

Needless to say, the Professor got an excellently designed and installed system when I got back to SoCal. I also extended employment offers to 3 individuals that I met while at SEI to be my installation crew. Needless to say, we all ate what I killed, so we only got paid when we delivered a project. As a result, my first office was my master bedroom, my first warehouse was a tent in my backyard, and my installers all had campsites in my backyard. We were like a roving band of PV gypsys.

 

After a few months had passed, I was able to sit for my solar contractor’s license and became licensed in the State of California. By then, I was also teaching evening PV design and installation classes at Mira Costa Community College and working with local jurisdictions to train the electrical inspectors. During this time, I came to the decision that my partners were not adding much value (I made every single sale, for example and the electrician was taking unwarranted shortcuts) and I bought them out. I also became cognizant that the name Urban Refuge was not an appropriate brand. I kept getting calls from people looking for trash service! So, I did some research and changed the name to HelioPower.

Competitive Advantage

Energy Cost Reduction as a Competitive Advantage Last time Mo Rousso writes about the concept of eCOGS, or energy cost of goods sold.  By moving your energy costs above the line, he writes, you have much more visibility and control over that cost. For Today’s topic, he writes about energy cost reduction as a competitiveFinish Reading

I Hate Solar!

Top 7 Reasons I Hate Solar! After working at HelioPower for the past 13 years, I’ve come to realize…I hate solar.  I’ve heard a lot about how great solar energy is for consumers, the economy and the planet. Blah, Blah, Blah. Solar is awesome, saving money is good, pollution is bad- it’s like a mantra around hereFinish Reading

What is Solar Asset Management (and Why Do I Need It)?

What is Solar Asset Management (and Why Do I Need It)?

Solar Operations and Maintenance (O&M) vs Asset Management – Background Many system owners are confused about the differences between Operations and Maintenance ( or Solar O&M) and Solar Asset Management (Solar AM). While there is still debate in the industry about what’s O&M and what’s AM, there are some clear distinctions. O&M is the list of site specific,Finish Reading

Energy Cost – eCOGS by Energy Analytics

Energy Cost – eCOGS: an Important Measure Made Possible by Energy Analytics Mo Rousso (Founder and COO, HelioPower) has written this article about Electricity Cost of Goods or eCOGS as being an important measure made possible by energy analytics. Energy analytics, such as HelioPower’s PredictEnergy software, and associated practices provide the methods to look at your business’Finish Reading

Driving Solar – PHEV running costs

  Driving Solar   Background In January, after a 5 year run in a hand-me-down Volvo, I bought my first brand new car- a 2016 Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is what’s known as a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) which means it operates a lot like a hybrid gas/electric vehicle such as the Toyota Prius. And,Finish Reading

Asset Management Tools – PredictEnergy™ Asset Manager

  Mo Rousso (Founder and COO, HelioPower) has written this article about HelioPower providing asset management services to a broad portfolio of distributed energy resources (DER).   Asset Management Tools and Services by HelioPower HelioPower provides asset management services to a broad portfolio of distributed energy resources (DER). These include PV assets owned by third-partiesFinish Reading

HelioPower Energy Solutions Appoints Thomas R Bietsch Sr. as Chief Technology Officer

PredictEnergy™ software platform uses advanced analytics to integrate energy and power, and plant production parameters with utility tariff cost analysis. Murrieta, CA, January 25, 2016:  HelioPower Energy Solutions, the leader in cloud based energy analytics, today announced the appointment of Thomas (TR) Bietsch Sr. to the role of Chief Technology Officer.  TR most recently servedFinish Reading

PV Assets Using The Optimization Factor Methodology

  Mo Rousso (Founder and COO, HelioPower) has written this article about HelioPower managing Photovoltaic (PV) Assets using the Optimization Factor Methodology. PV Assets and the Optimization Factor Methodology Photovoltaic (PV) systems are long-lived assets with unique lifecycle management needs.  As such, they require special operations and maintenance processes to ensure reliable and profitable operationFinish Reading

Bonus Depreciation on Solar Projects – Explained

Bonus Depreciation is good news for solar stakeholders.  This article details how the return of 50% Bonus Depreciation will impact project economics. MACRS Depreciation on a $1 Million Solar Project Assume you have a solar project valued at $1 million.  The taxable basis is reduced by half of the 30% Investment Tax Credit, so it isFinish Reading

Sales 1.877.959.8816
Murrieta 1.951.677.7755
San Francisco 1.916.564.4442
Thousand Palms 1.760.568.5650