An Interview with the Folks at Renogy Who Create the Products You Love
Let’s be honest, we love our solar gadgets, right? We love how they power our lives, and how they make us feel about our commitment to a more sustainable world. Renogy is on the forefront of this solar revolution, embracing the mantra, “Solar for All!” And as we say in North Carolina, “Y’all, means everyone,” regardless of means... that’s a slogan we can get behind.
It’s not just visionaries, like Renogy CEO and founder, Yi Li , who we have to thank for this inspiration; there are hundreds of people who help bring this vision to the marketplace. We need to thank the people who often don’t get the recognition that they deserve for making this company, this industry, what it is today.
We want to dedicate this blog to the Renogy Engineering Team who act as the creative and technical force bringing the products from concept to consumer. As Solar Ambassadors, we have gotten to know some of the members of the Renogy engineering and technician teams over the past couple of years. We reach out to them every month, it seems, seeking advice for a friend building an off-grid cabin or troubleshooting issues with our own solar powered system in Hamlet . These folks love their jobs and stand behind the products they make.
We caught up with four members of the Engineering Team based in Ontario, California and asked them for the inside scoop. Here’s what Mauricio, Stephen, Oliver and Ricardo had to say...
Hutch & Shari: What makes Renogy stand out in the industry?
Stephen: Our commitment to our customers is to provide a quality product and quality support anytime they reach out to Renogy. We work with customers from any questions they have about solar to assisting with their DIY installation. We listen to all of our customer's questions and concerns regarding our product lines and are constantly updating those products to meet those requirements.
Mauricio: Even in the saturated solar industry, I find that Renogy is in a niche of its own offering advanced technology solutions as opposed to products. Renogy goes the extra mile by truly identifying what it is that people want, what people need, and delivering solutions without having to necessarily break the bank or budget. Our solution catalog might not be plentiful like some inverter-only manufacturers, or solar panel-only manufacturers, but products are carefully selected for multi-purpose/multi-application use and are a reflection of a high technology, intense research and development, and customer service first approach to solution building.
Hutch & Shari: What do you see as the difference between products and solutions?
Mauricio: Products and solutions are great for any company, and Renogy offers both. I would say Renogy products are focused on a functional purpose like, "charging your mobile or tablet" via our E.POWER battery banks, whereas solutions are more explicit (or implicit) in their purpose where they are focused on solving a need or a problem. An explicit solution example is seen easily through our "Gate Opener" , or "Ring Camera" power kits where they are intended for ensuring power to gate openers or ring (security) cameras in unoccupied locations.
Hutch & Shari: So, what's in store for the solar industry in the near future?
Stephen: The solar industry is a large growing industry and we (Renogy) look to be one of the leaders in off-grid solar solutions by coming out with the newest available technology.
Oliver: Smaller footprints with higher efficiency cells will make solar a reality nearly anywhere.
Mauricio: Solar will play a stronger role in the near future. Solar panels and solar technology are becoming more efficient; and, there is a growing demand for renewable energy. We can expect higher voltage systems as they will be safer with solutions requiring more power. In turn, we can also expect to see a rise in hybrid systems where we integrate the grid to supplement energy storage and solar solutions. Soon you can expect Renogy to be part of this growth.
Hutch & Shari: Tell us more about these hybrid systems…
Mauricio: Traditional solar systems utilize a single source of energy through solar panels (DC), regulate the energy through charge controllers, store the energy in batteries, and can invert the energy to household power through inverters. "Hybrid" solutions accept up to 2 sources of energy through solar (DC) and/or utility power (AC) found in shore power or backup generator power. The hybrid solution is a combination of solar and energy storage to also operate as a backup power supply during a blackout, similar to a UPS system. These will be more sophisticated solar systems which can stand alone (like off grid) or tie into utility power (like shore power / backup generators) as hybrid systems– it’s really the best of both worlds.
Hutch & Shari: Y’all are always designing new products to make solar easy and accessible for all. What is coming out this year that you’re particularly excited about?
Mauricio: I am excited about two product lines. First, the monitoring screen series . Renogy is launching a flush-mountable monitoring remote meter line for flagship battery, inverter, controller, and DC to DC products. This will give users a direct display for monitoring and observing their system from one convenient place that collects information in real time! Second, Renogy’s first solar inverter is meant to be a hybrid solution for off-grid systems. Renogy’s future products will be able to handle both solar and shore power for sustaining and maintaining your home system. Renogy will soon be a one-stop shop for hybrid solutions.
Stephen: I am most excited about our new DC Home App with DC Hub that will tie all of our compatible units together, allowing monitoring of all units from our new DC Home App.
Hutch & Shari: It seems that you guys really enjoy what you do. What do you like most about your job?
Mauricio: The personnel and the transparency in our operations is what I like most about my job. Renogy is shaped by the employees who are its builders. We have direct communication lines with our Engineering, Sales, Marketing, and Warehouse Staff, to name a few, who we know on a first name basis. If we see something we like, we give praise to each other, and if we see something we do not, then there’s an opportunity to fix it or to better it. There lies the beauty, the direct ability to voice your concerns, your praise, and in turn work together to achieve a better Renogy. As an added plus, interactions with the CEO, Yi Li, never ceases to instill that inspiration.
Stephen: I work in the Engineering Department and what I enjoy most about my position here is that I get to be hands-on in product development and handling.
Ricardo: I also work in the Engineering department, and what I enjoy most about my job is getting the opportunity to help with testing and troubleshooting our solar products, and helping to establish more efficient handling processes within the company.
Hutch & Shari: Jobs always come with challenges. What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Stephen: The most challenging aspect of working in the solar field is the general public's misunderstanding of how off-grid solar systems work. If we can continue to educate the general public on how off-grid solar works and set their expectations correctly then the solar industry will continue to grow.
Mauricio: The most challenging part, for me, is communication. When you have a multi-level company, there is a line that gets blurred between explicit and implicit understanding. This can sometimes create some complications, but not something we can’t necessarily manage. Like all companies, Renogy continually makes efforts and policies to streamline communication to minimize this as much as possible.
Ricardo: I think a challenging aspect is finding ways to help our customers more easily understand our solar products in terms of technical operation and education.
Hutch & Shari: We are always curious how people get into their line of work. What led to your career in solar technology?
Mauricio: I was a Mechanical Engineering college student with an interest in electricity when I first started my career at Renogy. The personnel and Yi’s vision propelled my interest into solar and solar for all. At the same time, it has been great continually learning more about solar and solar related technology and a blessing in finding people who share the same vision and work to achieve it.
Stephen: I went to school for Automotive Technology and I really enjoyed working on the different electrical systems in cars and mastering that field. Once I learned about solar electricity, it tied right into my studies of automotive electrical systems and then decided to pursue a career in solar specifically.
Oliver: I have an interest in Environmental Science.
Hutch & Shari: Thanks for a great interview guys! We have a lot of respect for the team at Renogy – knowledgeable, friendly, and great teachers. Finding inspiration in your chosen profession isn’t always a simple journey, but at the end of the day, it’s what makes the difference in developing great products and a meaningful life. Keep on rocking it, we can’t wait to see what you all come up with next.