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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 11:05 am

SPG Solar to expand to Petaluma

65 employees set to move

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    NOVATO — SPG Solar, which designs and installs commercial photovoltaic energy systems, plans to move its headquarters to Petaluma to have room to grow, particularly in product development.

    SPG Solar (800-815-5562, spgsolar.com) in late October signed a five-year lease with Napa-based PB&J Acquisitions for 25,400 square feet of warehouse, office and research-and-development space at 1039 N. McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma’s McDowell Business Center. The company plans to relocate its Novato headquarters and consolidate a Sacramento warehouse into the new facility by the end of this year, according to Chief Executive Officer Doug May.

    About 65 employees, including some remote workers and salespeople, will be making the move. The headquarters will have room to grow, he said.

    “This is a strategic business move for us, so we looked extensively for just the right location,” Mr. May said. “Petaluma gives us the best possible combination of the right space, a strong business community, and a growing renewable energy sector.”

    One such Petaluma company is Enphase Energy, which expanded its headquarters to nearly 100,000 square feet a year ago and went public in late March. 

    SPG’s new Petaluma office will have research-and-development center with truck loading docks capable of moving the heavy and large systems in and out, something not available now, Mr. May said.

    In the past year, the company has been moving further into product development, he said. Today, the company has installed more than 60 megawatts of three generations of systems based on photovoltaic array innovations Dan Thompson brought forward when he founded the company 11 years ago.

    The latest generation of products is the All-Weather SunSeeker Tracker, which moves each panel on a single axis to follow the Sun’s movements to maximize electricity production in winds as high as 155 miles per hour. The system was first released in July. About 10 megawatts of units have been installed so far in environments as varied as Mammoth Mountain and Death Valley. A full-sized demonstration system will be installed in the new customer center at the new headquarters.

    “Before, we were primarily in engineering, procurement and the construction side, and now, we’re starting a new organization on product side, selling stuff we would have installed for customers to third parties,” Mr. May said. “We think that will be where growth is in future.”

    Mr. May was appointed CEO in August. His predecessor, Tom Rooney Jr., succeeded Mr. Thompson in May 2009. Mr. May’s background includes three decades of international experience in high-technology and renewable energy product development and top management.

    He declined to note SPG’s annual sales. “We’re doing fine in the solar market,” he said. Last year, the company noted 2010 revenue of $91.5 million on the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing companies, reaching No. 43 among environmental services companies for 63 percent sales growth over three years.

    The solar industry is highly dependent on state and federal government subsidies to drive sales, and some states have been maintained their programs or restarted them while others have scaled them back or ended them. SPG has grown over the past decade by undertaking projects around the country, he said.

    SPG occupies 29,000 square feet at 20 Leveroni Ct. in Novato, 25,000 of which was efficiently usable, according to Brian Foster, who with Steven Leonard also of Cassidy Turley represented the company in the Petaluma lease deal. PB&J Acquisitions represented itself.

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