Now in their fourth year in business, and just voted Outstanding Small Business of the Year by the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, Skylit say their mission is “to provide the highest quality and most aesthetically pleasing solar installations in Nova Scotia.” The Grapevine recently asked Amanda Brulé of Skylit all about the solar panel business in the Valley, and what inspires her about renewable energy:
The Grapevine (GV): How did you get interested in solar panels and renewable energy?
Amanda Brulé (AB): I’ve always had an interest in social responsibility and environmental sustainability. When the owners, Andrew and Christine, approached me to work with them on launching this business, I jumped at the chance to help bring a new business to the Valley that would provide good jobs in an industry that was very new in Nova Scotia, but one that they could see was poised for huge growth. They have incredible vision, and being able to help usher in a new energy frontier in Nova Scotia, and doing our part to help fight climate change, has been one of the main driving forces behind launching this business and continuing its expansion.
GV: How has your customer base changed since you started your business?
AB: The number of installations has certainly increased over the last three years, and we do have a higher proportion of those systems being installed here in the Valley. We’ve also seen the demographics change some – in the beginning the majority of our customers were near retirement age, and they were looking to lock in their power costs for the long term, while doing the right thing for the planet at the same time. The addition of the SolarHomes rebate through Efficiency NS has broadened knowledge and accessibility of solar, and we now have a younger cohort who are very much concerned about climate change and wanting to do their part, and see solar as a way they can make real, measurable change on that front.
GV: What do you think that says about renewable energy in the Annapolis Valley today?
AB: I think that Nova Scotians in general and certainly Annapolis Valley residents are concerned about climate change. We see the effects that changes in weather patterns and more severe storms are having on our agricultural industry here, and people often wonder what they, personally, can do to mitigate climate change. I think they understand that changing their personal energy consumption to renewable sources is a really big thing they can do in addition to the small everyday things to reduce their carbon footprint.
GV: What would you like people to know about Skylit?
AB: We see ourselves differently from other solar companies out there. Our focus is to deliver customers an extraordinary experience, and our people are hired and trained to make sure our customers are our best form of advertising. We take pride in providing the best quality solar installations in Nova Scotia, and that includes the materials, workmanship, and the aesthetics of the finished product.
GV: What’s something that might surprise people about your business?
Our employee demographics might surprise people. We are committed to equality and diversity in the workplace. Of our eight salaried employees half are women, and half are immigrants to Canada. We also have a female electrical apprentice, and a woman was part of our installation crew this year.