Freedom Solar's revenue, employee growth surges in Houston | Fort Bend Economic Development Council

Austin-based Freedom Solar LLC has accelerated its growth in the Houston region.

Freedom Solar had office space in Houston but did not have permanent employees in the region until 2019. Since that time, Houston has ballooned into the solar energy company's second-largest market behind Austin, said CEO Bret Biggart.

Freedom Solar has around 100 employees working in its Houston office, up from about 15 local workers before the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenue generated from Freedom Solar's Houston market also grew by 117% over the past 12 months, Biggart said.

"Houston has been a great market for us," Biggart said. "Particularly in the last two years, we've seen it really grow a tremendous amount."

A few different trends have led to Freedom Solar's Houston market growth and greater consumer interest in solar in general, Biggart said. When Freedom Solar was started 11 years ago, consumers were motivated to install solar panels largely for environmental considerations.

Those environmentally friendly consumers still exist today, but many more consumers are choosing to go solar because they lack of confidence in the reliability of their electric grids. Others say they want to have greater ownership over their energy consumption by locking in electricity price rates.

"Those things have really driven solar a bunch in Texas and, in particular, in Houston," Biggart said.

One metric that guides Freedom Solar's analysis is attachment rates, or the rate of solar installs that include attached battery storage. Two years ago, the attachment rate among Freedom Solar's customers was around 10%. Over the past 12 months, the attachment rate has been around 30% across Freedom Solar's markets. The company's attachment rate in the Houston market ranges between 40% and 50%.

"That 40% to 50% of customers in Houston really care about backup power," Biggart said.

Freedom Solar currently operates in Texas, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. The company plans to expand into Georgia and other states in the future, Biggart said. Around 90% of Freedom Solar's customers are residential, and the remaining 10% are commercial.

Freedom Solar expects to generate $250 million in revenue this year, Biggart said.

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