A Look Back at 2021 and What’s Ahead in 2022

Highlight moments from 2021 with solar installers and building performance teams
Infographic of Southern Energy Management's 2021 community impact

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Infographic of Southern Energy Management's home efficiency impact

Builder Energy Services

Two years into a global pandemic and it seems as though nothing can cool off our thriving housing market. 2021 was certainly not without challenges.  However, we’re glad to report that the Builder Energy Services team had another exceptional year and far surpassed its annual goals.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to call Raleigh, NC home, to have established satellite offices in some of the top housing markets, and to be partnered with some of the best builders in the country.  

Across all our markets, the single-family team experienced a nearly 28% increase in our inspections count and had the privilege of partnering with our clients on 13,750 single-family projects!

Team Growth

To keep up with this continued growth, our operations team hired 15 new team members.  In addition to new hires, we had several notable promotions into newly created positions including two team leads, two schedulers, a regional field ops manager, a data manager, and a sales development representative.  All of whom will set us up for continued growth and success.  We’re always amazed by and thankful for the talent and dedication our team brings to the job every day!

More HERO $$$

Similar to years past, your hard work was handsomely rewarded through Duke Energy’s HERO program and the 45L tax creditsWe processed over $7.4 million in HERO incentives and $4.2 million in 45L tax credits.  We know that it takes hard work and dedication to build high-performance homes! Helping our clients be recognized and rewarded for that work is one of our favorite parts of the job!  

Marina from Tripointe homes accepting the Shine on Champ Award from Southern Energy Management presented by Amanda and Taylor

Zero Energy Blueprint

Our Zero Energy Blueprint program continues to thrive as builders recognize the value of offering solar as an option to their buyers.  We are very excited to have welcomed Toll Brothers, M.I. Homes, TriPoint Homes, and David Weekley, amongst others, in 2021!

Builder Energy Services in 2022

This year we’ll be focusing on several key initiatives to help you succeed:

  • Commitment to advancing our data and reporting capabilities to empower your team with impactful data at your fingertips.  Be sure you’re taking advantage of that data to make informed decisions!
  • Working internally and externally with your team to improve schedule efficiency to improve turnaround time for inspections requests and minimize dry runs.  This will help us all run more efficiently in 2022!
  • Expansion of service offerings.  Over the next several weeks we’ll be introducing our new Better Homes program which is intended to build upon our established service offerings and offer you more ways to ensure a quality home is delivered to your buyers.  You can expect much more information over the coming weeks but here’s a preview of what’s under the Better Homes umbrella:
    • Air Sealing Services
    • HVAC Grading
    • Quality Assurance Inspections
    • Weather Resistance Barrier Inspections
  • Advocating for the continuation and expansion of incentive programs that empower you to build better homes!  We have been, and will continue to be at the forefront to ensure NC/SC remain national leaders in Home Performance!
Infographic of Southern Energy Management's solar energy impact

Home Solar

2021 was a big growth year across our home solar team. Our sales team grew (welcome, Austin!), our operations team grew, and thanks to multiple marriages and babies our families grew as well! 

Solar + Battery Storage Growth in NC

In 2021, we installed more than 2.5 megawatts of residential solar in North Carolina — that’s more than 7,000 solar panels across the state.

Energy storage continued to rise in popularity with 40%+ of our installations including a battery system like the Tesla Powerwall or Generac PWRcell. We expect this percentage to climb even higher over the next year and definitely in 2023 with the pending changes to net metering on the horizon. 

Spreading Solar to More Homes

In partnership with some wonderful organizations – North Carolina A&T State University, Community Housing Solutions, Our Money Matters, and the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative – we were able to bring solar to low-and-moderate income households in Greensboro. We are proud to be part of this stellar project to bring awareness to addressing economic, health, and environmental equity through clean energy.

Studying the Impact of Energy Storage

To better understand the potential impact of widespread battery storage adoption in North Carolina, we are working with Advanced Energy to conduct a peak energy reduction study. The study focuses on the impact of adding battery storage to Duke Energy Residential New Construction homes that have been built since 2018. The study is currently closed to new participants, but we are excited to share the study’s findings when they are ready!

Home Solar in 2022

Looking forward to 2022, we expect the growth of 2021 to accelerate and we are focused on refining our internal processes and customer experience to make sure that growth is smart, efficient, and helps us delight more and more happy solar + energy storage customers. 

We’re also preparing for policy changes in NC, like Duke Energy’s net metering changes and will have updates for you throughout the year! Don’t forget, this is the last year to take advantage of the 26% Federal Tax Credit incentive which is currently set to drop down to 22% at the end of the year. 

Commercial Solar

2021 was an exciting year for our commercial solar team across the board. With a mix of commercial projects ranging from 1mW+ all the way down 5kW, we saw more than 200% growth in our installed commercial solar capacity in NC.

This growth led us to bring on Mickey Fanny – roller skater extraordinaire and all-around cool guy – as our second full-time commercial solar designer.

Commercial Solar in 2022

2022 is set to be an even bigger year of growth for our team for two reasons. First, we are going into the year with a strong install backlog and lots of momentum from 2021. Second, the pending reduction of the Federal ITC from 26% to 22% at the end of 2022 makes this a great year for business owners to get their solar system installed before the incentive decreases! Non-profits can also take advantage of the Duke Energy Rebate before it sets sail at the end of 2022 (Churches, that includes you!). 

Geometric collage of a church with rooftop solar panels
Infographic of Southern Energy Management's multifamily & commercial energy services impact

Multifamily & Commercial Energy Services

2021… Wow, what a year! To say it was a record year, would be an understatement. Our multifamily & commercial energy services team nailed it this year, meeting the goals they set at record speed. Not only was it a growth year for the team (welcome, Sara, Jordan, & Levi), we also grew in the number of states served from 17 to 22 (as well as Haiti & Puerto Rico). In total, we completed 88 projects in 2021. We’d like to give a shoutout to all of our partners who continue to invest in building efficiency and take us wherever their projects go! 

More Certifications!

In addition to geographical growth, our Multifamily & Commercial team members also continued their professional growth and added several new accreditations & designations to their names in order to expand our service offerings and take on more projects:

  • 2 Resnet Rater Field Inspectors
  • 2 NGBS verifiers
  • 1 Fitwel Ambassador
  • 2 LEED GA
  • 1 LEED AP
  • 1 EarthCraft TA
  • 3 Energy Star Rater
  • 1 BPI Multifamily Building Analyst (MFBA)

Health + Efficiency

In 2021, we also saw an increase in overall certifications pursued. By December, around 30% of our projects were pursuing more than one green building program on their projects. We are seeing this increase due to more interest in and desire for healthy building certifications (Fitwel, etc.) and for tax credits or incentives. Here are some of the combinations we have seen and plan to see more of in 2022:

  • EarthCraft + Energy Star MFNC
  • NGBS + Energy Star MFNC
  • NGBS + Fitwel
  • LEED + Fitwel

NGBS Highlights​

One project completed in 2021 earned the 300,000th NGBS Certification which was developed by Crescent Communities and verified by Master Green Verifier, Rachel Della Valle. Rachel was also recognized earlier this year, along with Laurie Colwander, for being an NGBS Partner of Excellence. The partner of excellence designation is given by Home Innovation Research Labs to those who make “outstanding contributions to advancing green building in their communities.”

What’s Ahead in 2022?

Our Multifamily & Commercial team plans to continue this momentum into 2022, and are already off to a great start with new 3 positions open! If you know anyone interested in joining our team, send them our way

B Corp Updates

As a Certified B Corp, we value a triple bottom line that benefits people, the planet, and our business. In 2021, we joined forces with others in our community to establish several exciting local partnerships

JEDI Training

We also took a look at our company’s actions toward Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI). Our team had many meaningful conversations during training sessions facilitated by LaShauna Austria from Seeds of Change Consulting.

Best for the World Award

We were named a B Corp Best for the World in recognition of our environmental performance and sustainable business practices for the 4th year! 

Lots of B Corp Action Ahead in 2022

Looking ahead, 2022 is a B Corp recertification year for Southern Energy Management! This means our “B Squad” team of internal B Corp advocates will be busy completing our recertification assessment and looking for more ways we can improve SEM for our team, community, and planet. 

We are also excited to continue (and expand) our community partnerships with Hope Renovations, Project Pando, and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County in 2022. Right now we anticipate installing solar on 8 more Habitat Homes and have a neat project in the works to support Project Pando’s mission. There will also be lots of volunteer opportunities on the horizon (Covid permitting). 

Internally, we expanded our goals for team member professional development from 10+ to 12+ hours, and are targeting 100% of our team members to attend at least two JEDI training sessions this year.

More Coming Your Way!

Stay tuned to see how our impact is growing! We’ll be launching our 2021 Impact and Transparency Report this Spring. In the meantime, check out our 2020 report if you missed it!

Ready to Get Started?

Reach out to our project teams to share your goals and learn more!