by Jordan Green

Monitoring the economic pulse of the Triad

Solar equipment company looking for a few good franchisees

Since entering the solar-energy industry in 1992, SunWize has become one of the largest distributors of solar equipment in North America, says senior Director of marketing Matt Ziskin. About three years ago, the company acquired one of its customers, an installer, in southern california. SunWize has since acquired some expertise in installation, marketing and sales.

With warehouses on both coasts, the company is interested in franchising in North Carolina.

Ziskin said North Carolina is considered one of “the most promising solar states,” thanks to a No. 10 ranking in solar energy production from the solar energy Industries Association. North carolina has a 35 percent credit for solar installation that is capped at $10,500, which Ziskin said is ideal for the cost of most residential solar installations. combined with a 30 percent federal credit, about half the cost is subsidized.

“Effectively, it turns any of these homes and businesses into miniature power plants,” Ziskin said. “most states and a lot of utilities have net metering agreements. During the day, when people are at work or out of the home is when you get the most sunlight, but they’re not using energy. Your electrical meter is spinning backwards, and the utility is giving you credit for that. At night you’ll use some of that energy. At the end of the month, they’ll take a look at it and equal it out. You’ll get a credit for the excess you’ve produced. In the summer months, people will build up a credit, and in the winter they’ll use it up.”

A variety of factors ranging from environmental disasters such as the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and concerns that coal and oil use are contributing to climate change have led to a national focus on alternative energy sources, but Ziskin said economic factors also make solar energy more viable than its been in the past.

“You’ve got this combination of attractive incentives, increasing utility rates and [solar] equipment costs coming down,” he said, “which makes it a very attractive time to consider solar.”

SunWize is currently reviewing its first set of North Carolina applicants. Ziskin said the company is targeting the three largest urban areas in the state, but has probably fielded more inquiries from Greensboro than any other city.

“One of the things that is attractive about North Carolina is you have an educated and fairly progressive population,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve seen in the Greensboro area. People are very environmentally conscious.”

To learn more, visit

Bissell’s withdrawl from Greensboro market yields two commercial brokers.

When the Bissell Co. eliminated its brokerage business in Greensboro and Charlotte, it left Fred Preyer and Garth Marshall without employment. Preyer contacted Bonnie Rimmer at Equity Commercial Properties and she offered the two sales agents office space and her company’s name to do business under. Preyer said equity is one of the top property managers in the region, and he and Marshall “bring a considerable amount of commercial brokerage experience.” much of the property Preyer represents is in the Highway 68 corridor near the airport, including offices and warehouse. Now the signs will bear the equity commercial Properties name. “I’ve got a beautiful 18 acres that’s never been cut over near Pleasant Ridge Road and Alcorn. Portrait Homes put it under contract, and then the housing market went bust. If you know any developers that are interested, let me know.”