As product manager for clean energy products for Border State’s southeast region, Jim Woods is the appointed champion for growing the company’s solar business. During his 17 years with Shealy Electrical Wholesalers before its 2016 merger with Border States, Woods had gained considerable experience working with residential and commercial solar customers. In fact, he spent his last six years at Shealy as director of clean energy.
“My job at Border States is to support our existing sales force in the field,” explained Woods. “About half of our business is with residential customers, with the remaining market split between utility and commercial clients.”
Border States was founded in 1952 with a primary focus on the electric utility industry. Headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, the company currently supplies products and services to a wide range of construction, industrial, and utility customers. Border States also distributes solar inverters, panels, modules, and accessories for all phases of renewable energy projects. Today, Border States is one of the nation’s largest employee-owned companies, with more than 2,200 employee-owners and 97 branches in 18 states. In August 2016, Border States acquired Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, expanding its reach to include 17 additional branches across North and South Carolina.
As is the case with so many solar distributors, Border States had previously sold mostly railed mounting systems to their solar installers. But since discovering the benefits of rail-less systems, Woods has eagerly introduced his customers to RT E Mount AIR.
“With Roof Tech, it’s so much easier to transport the parts to our installers because they’re so compact. It’s not easy to get 20’ rails down the road on a truck!” he said. “We get the product delivered faster, and the speed of installation is a huge benefit. We focus on the quality of our customers’ experience, and if we can save them time, it makes us the heroes.”
Woods noted that even the old timers who used to insist on “railed systems or nothing” are taking another look at the benefits of rail-less mounting solutions. “At first they claim that it’s never going to work,” he said. “But once they see how much faster and easier a job goes with RT E Mount AIR, they understand that rail-less systems can really save them time and trouble.”
Woods added that RT E Mount AIR now makes up about 50 percent of Border States’ mounting system sales.
— Solar Builder magazine