How is it that the marketing leading commercial and domestic Solar PV company in Ireland finds its roots in Killanne, County Wexford?
In 2011, lifelong entrepreneur, Tom Foley was looking to begin a new business. He had previously built-up and sold the successful Go-Play enterprise that had been constructing high-quality children’s play spaces across Ireland.
In conversation with a friend and business contact from UK, Robert Goss, he happened on solar PV. The use of solar panels for domestic and commercial electricity production had been tried and tested in Germany for some time and recent advancements in the technology had led to a boom for the industry in the UK. The rapid expansion of the UK market and clear market niche available in Ireland spoke to Tom’s entrepreneurial spirit and Solar Electric was born.
The next step was for Tom to install the first system on his garage at home. The system was straightforward to install and was very soon producing enough electricity to make a significant impact on his family’s daytime usage. In the early days of the business’s existence, Tom dealt with all projects personally. Solal Electric remains grateful to those “solar pioneers” who showed faith in technology before it had proven to work here in Ireland.
In order to gain a deeper insight into the industry he was taking the first tentative steps into, Tom participated in a Conergy training session at Ecobuild in London where he was joined by current Design and Operations Manager, Paul Murphy. Paul’s practical knowledge of roofing types was soon supplemented by an in-depth understanding of inverters and mounting systems and to this date he oversees all installations from initial design through to the commissioning and sign-off.
The breakout year for Solar Electric came in 2014 as we participated in the largest Solar PV project in Ireland. The project was led by Tipperary Energy Agency on behalf of Tipperary County Council and involved the design, installation & maintenance of up to 199kW of PV panels and associated works on 11 Tipperary public buildings in order to eliminate base load energy use.
In the intervening years, Solar Electric has continued to lead the Irish Solar PV market, installing more solar panels than any of our competitors and helping our customers to reduce their electricity bills by up to 50%.
Join us and be part of a large family of people who have opted to harness the sun’s power to produce their own electricity at their homes and businesses.
Robert Goss, Director
Robert is the director with special responsibility for marketing. He is also involved in commercial projects and the solar farm scene.
He commutes to Killanne “over the mountain” from Thomastown, County Kilkenny. He is also a regular visitor to Dublin.
Previously Robert has worked as Managing Director for Conergy UK – building that company from zero to 200 MW of installed capacity in 5 years.
His previous management experience has been: the playground equipment sector, shop-fitting and working in the U.S. and the U.K. for a commercial division within the Danish LEGO company.
He has academic qualifications in Marketing and Management, holding an MBA from Anglia Ruskin University.
Outside of work, he confesses to a love of country rock music and German cars of the 1970s and 80s.
Tom Foley, Director
Tom started the Company with his family and has had Managing Director responsibilities to grow the Company to be Market leader. He now has responsibility within the Company as Sales and Operations Director
Tom previously worked as Owner, Director and Manager in a broad range of industries from agri parts supply, steel fabrication and maintenance to the playground industry. Most recently from 2001 up until 2012, Tom along with his brother in law started and grew Goplay limited, the market leader in the playground industry in Ireland which still trades strongly.
Tom, his wife Anne and two children and his extended family live in Killanne, Rathnure area of County Wexford and are active Community members of rural life in the area. The Foley family have been active members both on and off the field of the Rathnure St Annes GAA club over a long period and Tom is presently working with Wexford Senior hurling squad.
Tom`s activities outside of the Solar PV industry covers a broad spectrum of interests: local and County GAA, on road and off-road motorcycles, equestrian sports and a love of anything mechanical.
Paul Murphy, Design and Operations Manager
Paul oversees all installations from initial design through to the commissioning and sign-off.
Thirteen years of site management experience in the roofing sector give Paul an edge when tackling the challenges of domestic and commercial roofs of all types.
Since joining the company in 2012 he has participated in numerous training programmes with our suppliers. He is an accredited technician capable of fault-finding and setting up all kinds of SMA inverters.
Away from work, he is a family man first and foremost, with a keen interest in rugby.
Michael Norton, Commercial Design and Sales Manager
Michael is the Commercial Design and Sales Manager for the company. Born in Kilkenny, Michael holds a masters degree in Renewable Energy the University of Oldenburg in Germany and joined the Solar Electric family in 2014. He cut his teeth in the Solar PV industry on projects throughout Europe and South America.
From working in solar research, to develop highly efficient solar cells in Belgium, to working on demonstrating the capability of solar PV above the Arctic Circle in Norway, not to mention the 2 years spent on rural electrification projects in remote southern Chile, Michael has seen and done it all.
When not thinking about solar panels, Michael likes to play 5 a side soccer with his friends and sometimes attempts other sports with limited success.
Anne Carty-Foley, Finance Manager
Anne Carty-Foley has been involved with Solar Electric since the company’s inception. She is responsible for all aspects of business finance and administration.