History. Renovus was founded in 2003, and we’ve since installed thousands of solar energy systems throughout the state, heralding the clean energy revolution. In the early years, with a handful of dedicated staff, the company worked out of a small, 1,000 square foot combined office-warehouse one-stop-shop on Cherry Street in downtown Ithaca.
Growth. Over the next decade, as solar’s popularity grew, so did we. By 2013 we had to rent additional warehouse space for our installation crews to work out of down the road by Friedman Electric, and additional office space for our growing team. It was clear we needed a bigger facility where our entire company could be housed, and with space to keep growing.
A New Home. In late 2014 we purchased our new campus, located at 1520 Trumansburg Road in Ithaca, from ISA Babcock Breeders Inc. Built in 1991, the former chicken breeding and processing facility sat dormant for years. We certainly had our work cut out for us, with plans to renovate the buildings into a net-zero (producing as much energy as we consume) hub for solar project deployment. The campus consists of two buildings which we completely gutted, remodeled, and modernized. The front office building was retrofitted to house our project development teams, sales and marketing, and administrative departments. The back building was upgraded into a state-of-the-art warehouse for our engineers, materials procurement, and installation teams.
Practicing What We Preach. We set out with the intention to have an entirely solar-electricity powered campus. So we disconnected the buildings from natural gas service, upgraded the electrical systems, ran all new fiber optic cables, and added a 200-amp service to the front office. We installed an advanced HVAC system, including air source heat pumps, fully spray-foam insulated the buildings, and updated all the lighting to LED. We designed these systems with exposed components so that visitors can see what net-zero facilities look like. We invested in employee comfort, adding sound dampening features, an open plan office, ergonomic work stations for project preparation, a wellness room, communal kitchen spaces for gathering, and homemade desks and furniture.
Solar Company Without Solar? Then our renovations hit a major roadblock. The original plan was to cover the buildings’ rooftops in solar panels, which a preliminary engineering report said was possible. But once it came time to install the solar system, a second opinion engineering analysis revealed that in fact the buildings lack the structural capacity to hold panels. Rooftop solar would not be possible. The only open land on our campus available to install a ground-mounted solar system is a leach field not suitable to house solar panels. This left us with a conundrum – would we be a solar company that couldn’t go solar?
Solar Power For Everyone. Thankfully, a major break though in solar has arrived in New York State that makes going solar possible for everyone who uses electricity, regardless of their site – Community Solar. Sometimes referred to as solar farms or shared renewables, Community Solar projects are solar systems located on perfect local sites that generate electricity for many households and businesses. Community Solar projects generate clean power by converting sunlight into usable electricity that flows into the utility grid to offset households and businesses’ need.
Solar Power for Us. We saw the huge potential for Community Solar to create unprecedented access to clean, locally-generated energy in our state. So we set out with a mission to bring it to our area. It’s proven to be no small undertaking, though bold moves like this are what we’re all about. We’ve since installed the first Community Solar projects in New York, enabling hundreds of local residents and businesses to finally go solar! Currently our projects are installed and under development throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. And thanks to Community Solar we are able to be solar-powered, without solar panels located on our campus site.
Sustainability Commitment. At Renovus, we’re committed to running an environmentally low impact business that contributes positively to our community and planet. We power our fleet of trucks on a biodiesel and we have a number of hybrid electric cars to reduce carbon emissions. We partner with the Finger Lakes Climate Fund to offset our remaining carbon impact. They use such funds to promote regional energy efficiency projects that support our local economy and families in need. We’ve also partnered with Recycling and Materials Management of Tompkins County to facilitate a recycling program throughout our business, adopt greener purchasing practices, and reduce our waste. We’re committed to further reducing our waste through composting, supported in partnership with Cayuga Compost.
Healthy People, Healthy Community, Healthy Planet.
Ultimately, we’re dedicated to ensuring a healthy community and livable planet so that current and future generations can thrive and prosper. We know that means creating good, living-wage jobs and investing in the wellbeing of our employees. We’re proud to offer excellent employee benefits, including community supported agriculture farm shares in partnership with Full Plate Farm Collective. We strive to be a model for sustainable, ethical businesses, deeply invested in our community.
We invite you to join us in our efforts.