by Kyle Massey
After facing LightWave Solar LLC as a competitor, Seal Energy Solutions CEO Josh Davenport knew he wanted the Tennessee solar installation company as an ally.
So the North Little Rock energy company teamed up with LightWave, based outside Nashville, Tennessee, to go after larger solar power generation projects for Arkansas farmers, businesses and municipalities.
“We had actually bid against each other on several projects, and I knew LightWave’s great reputation and capabilities on larger projects,” Davenport told Arkansas Business. “I met Chris Koczaja, LightWave’s president, at an Arkansas Advanced Energy Association event and we hit it off. We saw that for larger arrays there needs to be local support but there also needs to be the experience that LightWave brings.”
The two companies, both licensed contractors in Arkansas, announced their new business alliance on Thursday morning, touting Seal’s experience in energy efficiency and solar panel installation with LightWave Solar’s portfolio of 800 solar projects across the Midsouth. Lightwave is based outside the Tennessee capital, Nashville. Davenport said they hope to start pitching money-saving projects to large Arkansas energy users, including towns, landowners and commercial entities, as soon as possible.
“We’ve been focused on residential and smaller commercial projects, but now we have a wonderful team that can meet all the needs of bigger projects.”
LightWave’s portfolio includes several 4- and 5-megawatt solar power plants for businesses and towns in Tennessee and Mississippi, as well as the recent 739-kilowatt system built for Arkansas State University’s Newport campus.
Seal Energy Solutions, founded in 2012, started designing and installing solar arrays in 2015 and has steadily built out that business. Davenport and President and COO Heather Nelson were ready for a new step.
Lightwave, founded in 2006, “adds a depth of experience for large-scale projects,” Davenport said. He added that his company has deep Arkansas ties stretching back more than six generations.
Seal surged into farm and commercial projects in Arkansas in 2016, and as the state has pondered changes to its net-metering policy, which allows utility customers with their own energy generation systems to get credit for the excess power they produce, the company has built ever-bigger photovoltaic power systems for farms and businesses. The alliance with LightWave should further that expansion, officials for both companies said.
“We are leveraging our collective strengths to provide the best overall customer value to Arkansans,” said Chris Koczaja, LightWave’s president. “Our firms believe that together we can move the solar industry in Arkansas forward, delivering a level of quality, choice and experience not currently available” in the state, Koczaja said in a statement.
Along with solar design and installation, Seal Energy Solutions offers efficiency and heating and air services and works in more than 4,000 homes a year, according to a company news release.