Solar contractor expands his orbit

One of Richmond’s solar contractors has started a firm that he hopes can better compete for work across the Mid-Atlantic region, and another local builder is investing in the company.

Blue Crump is the founder of Cityspace Solar, but now he is focusing his energy on a new solar firm called Urban Grid Solar.

Crump said he has stepped away from Cityspace Solar, a division of his construction firm that eventually became a separate company. Last year, developer Justin French partnered with Crump and bought half of Cityspace Solar.

But that venture has been sidelined. Crump said Cityspace Solar is reserved for work with future French-related projects. For now all projects under Cityspace Solar have finished.

Crump transferred the equipment and 10 employees to the new company.  He also has an equity partner, Greg Haley of Haley Builders, who owns an eighth of the business.

Having Haley’s backing helps the firm tackle bigger projects, Crump said.

“We are building several contracts on federal buildings in D.C.,” said Crump. “There are a lot of stimulus funds hitting the ground [for construction projects].”

Crump also plans on making a push into Maryland and North Carolina, where incentive programs are strong.

“I want to build a regional capacity in the Mid-Atlantic, with the vision of having a national presence,” he said.

He said competition has increased in the past couple of years as more contractors have gotten into the solar business. Demand is strong, he said, evidenced by the depletion of $15 million worth of rebates provided by the state of Virginia.

“Our hope is we will see more rebate programs like that,” he said. “It has had a significant impact.”

Crump has also launched a companion business with Urban Grid vice president Erin Hensley called One Planet REC. That company sells and trades renewable energy certificates for clients.

To meet portfolio requirements for renewable sources, utility companies will buy the RECs. One REC is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and the going rate is $250 for a certificate. The company takes in a percentage basis of the certificates that are sold.

For businesses that install solar or renewable systems, those certificates can add up and create a positive cash flow. For example, a 14.4 kw system Crump installed for the Children’s Museum of Virginia will earn $25,000 over five years at the current price.

That price will go up if Congress passes a cap and trade bill, Crump said.

Al Harris covers alternative energy for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]

One of Richmond’s solar contractors has started a firm that he hopes can better compete for work across the Mid-Atlantic region, and another local builder is investing in the company.

Blue Crump is the founder of Cityspace Solar, but now he is focusing his energy on a new solar firm called Urban Grid Solar.

Crump said he has stepped away from Cityspace Solar, a division of his construction firm that eventually became a separate company. Last year, developer Justin French partnered with Crump and bought half of Cityspace Solar.

But that venture has been sidelined. Crump said Cityspace Solar is reserved for work with future French-related projects. For now all projects under Cityspace Solar have finished.

Crump transferred the equipment and 10 employees to the new company.  He also has an equity partner, Greg Haley of Haley Builders, who owns an eighth of the business.

Having Haley’s backing helps the firm tackle bigger projects, Crump said.

“We are building several contracts on federal buildings in D.C.,” said Crump. “There are a lot of stimulus funds hitting the ground [for construction projects].”

Crump also plans on making a push into Maryland and North Carolina, where incentive programs are strong.

“I want to build a regional capacity in the Mid-Atlantic, with the vision of having a national presence,” he said.

He said competition has increased in the past couple of years as more contractors have gotten into the solar business. Demand is strong, he said, evidenced by the depletion of $15 million worth of rebates provided by the state of Virginia.

“Our hope is we will see more rebate programs like that,” he said. “It has had a significant impact.”

Crump has also launched a companion business with Urban Grid vice president Erin Hensley called One Planet REC. That company sells and trades renewable energy certificates for clients.

To meet portfolio requirements for renewable sources, utility companies will buy the RECs. One REC is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and the going rate is $250 for a certificate. The company takes in a percentage basis of the certificates that are sold.

For businesses that install solar or renewable systems, those certificates can add up and create a positive cash flow. For example, a 14.4 kw system Crump installed for the Children’s Museum of Virginia will earn $25,000 over five years at the current price.

That price will go up if Congress passes a cap and trade bill, Crump said.

Al Harris covers alternative energy for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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Carter snipes
Carter snipes
12 years ago

Why is this news? The guy changes biz partners more often than I fill my car with gas. 🙂

Has this ‘new’ venture landed any big accounts?I don’t see the relevance other than just gossip.

Harold Jones
Harold Jones
12 years ago

How does this guy keep getting this kind of positive press over such small events? This is a joke. How much do you have to pay for fluff pieces like this?

Ron Thomas
Ron Thomas
12 years ago

So if your company goes belly-up and your partnership sours, just change the name, drag in another unsuspecting partner, and it’s suddenly newsworthy? I’m curious how a Solar contractor with just ten employees, no capital, and no noteworthy bids awarded plans to become a national presence…C’mon Bizsense, there are way better stories in this town than this guy and his ego, how he keeps getting press is beyond me. Stop wasting our time.

Jake
Jake
12 years ago

Ron I belive you hit the nail on the head. I’d also be interested to know how Mr. Crump was listed in Style Weekly as a “Green Hero”? Are candidates able to nominate themselves? I have heard nothing positive about this company in months from credible sources, only drama and financial issues, minus the press Mr. Crump manages to drum up for himself. How is it even possible that a new company is eligible for federal projects?
Bizsense, would love to see a follow-up on the competition in the area.

Jimmy Jones
Jimmy Jones
12 years ago

Did you look into why Mr French pulled out of the company? Mr Crump had 40 employees at one time but has 10 now? Mr Harris why no interviews with some of the customers in the Richmond area?

Brian Gilman
Brian Gilman
11 years ago

Mr. Crump never had 40 employees and doesn’t have 10 now. He has an active imagination.

R Sweeney
R Sweeney
11 years ago

Hmmm…. SREC’s go for 25 cents/KW-hr. Dominions PRODUCES power wholesale for 1.4 cents/KW-hr and SELLS it retail for 8 cents/KW-hr. Imagine your electric bill 18 times bigger than it is today. And let’s look a little closer at that Children’s Museum deal. 14.5KW is 64 230 watt panels, which sell for $600 each by the pallet load, without shipping. So the panels themselves cost $39,000 without installation, wiring, or inverters. At 5% interest, that $39000 will cost $2000/yr in INTEREST alone. Forget paying the principal. PVWATTS, the federal solar calculator tells us that a 14.5 KW system in Richmond will… Read more »

James Birch
James Birch
11 years ago

Urban Grid Solar installed a solar array at my house in the Southside. I have 22 panels and although production is lower in the winter than in the summer, the production has far exceeded my expectations. In fact, during the summer months I am producing a credit that Dominion rolls forward onto my next month’s bill. So heading into this winter I will have a surplus of energy built up with my utility company. MY calculations for what MY system is producing (in real life, not a bunch of numbers on paper) will pay off in Year 9. Year 9… Read more »