FLS Energy, Inc.
Total Project Cost:
About the Company:
FLS Energy, Inc. is a rapidly growing designer and installer of solar thermal (hot water heating) and solar photovoltaic (electric generation) systems for residential and commercial customers. The company also provides consulting services to help businesses evaluate their energy use and maximize their return on investment. Building designer Hardy LeGwin together with Dale Freudenberger, a general contractor, and Michael Shore, an engineer, incorporated FLS Energy in 2006 to “make solar energy mainstream, sooner rather than later.” FLS Energy first gained positive exposure for its installation of a large-scale 100-panel solar thermal system on the roof of the LEED-certified Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC. FLS was named #46 on the Inc. 5000 list, thanks to a 4,303% 3 year growth rate. While it still calls North Carolina home, FLS now installs solar energy systems nationwide.
The drivers for FLS’s rapid growth have been: a) the availability of state and federal tax credits for solar energy installations; b) the 2007 passage of legislation that created a North Carolina Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandating that 12.5% of the state’s electrical generation from investor owned utilities must come from renewable energy sources by 2020 ; c) growing public awareness about global warming; and d) a talented and diverse management team committed to building an excellent, engaged workforce.
Role of NCIF:
In 2008 Mountain BizWorks of Asheville, which had provided FLS with a small line of credit, introduced the company to NCIF. The two funds joined forces to support FLS’ accelerating growth with $250,000 in working capital for its growing inventory needs and the research and development costs for a 500 Kw solar farm.
FLS products and services provide families and business owners with concrete strategies to reduce their consumption of electricity and non-renewable fossil fuels. In addition to expanding alternative energy options for consumers, FLS is creating good jobs in the local community. The company has added 67 employees to its payroll over the last four years, provided company-funded employee health insurance.