by Heidi Riley
Sunly Energy sells and installs solar panels for residential buildings. The company started on PEI in 2019 and is growing quickly.
“Islander’s power bills are going up every year, which is quite an incentive to install solar panels,” says Tyson Nicholson, Co-owner.
Tyson says the government incentives that are available and the willingness of people on PEI to engage and put solar panels on their homes are very encouraging to the solar power industry.
“In the past two and a half years we have done 800 home installations on PEI, and we have a healthy backlog.”
About the team
“We now have 45 employees,” says Tyson. “There are four full teams covering the Island, installing solar panels on one or two buildings per day.
“Our Team Leads are very experienced. They work together with teams of four to five people who have varying experience levels.”
The company is busy year-round. “In the past year and a half, there has not been a week where our employees have not worked full time with opportunities for overtime as well.”
“We are constantly in a battle to find more employees to serve the demand for our services. We are always looking to hire Installers for our teams. If we could find 10 more people, that would be great. Because we are growing, it can be a little difficult to find enough people.”
Sunly is looking for people who are comfortable working with tools and are not afraid of heights.
“We have a lot of safety protocols in place so that everyone is safe while working, but it can be a challenge if someone feels confident they can work at a height and then get up on a roof and find out it is not the job for them. Sometimes you don’t know until you are in that situation.
“The ability to listen and learn is one of the most important qualities we look for. We can train for the actual tasks.”
Workers need transportation to the warehouse on Brackley Point Road, and then travel by company vehicle to the work site.
Training on the job
“We don’t find many people who have previous experience working with solar panels. We will teach you the skills you need on the job, and how to install everything from the racking to the panels.
“You will grow with us to understand how to be a Team Lead and how to put a whole solar system on a house. We try to help you develop a lot of good skillsets as you work with us.
“You will understand how the complete solar panel system works. These are skills you could take to another job, but ideally, we would love you to stay with us.
“We don’t look for relevant formal education, but we do appreciate people who have taken the Energy Systems Engineering Technology program at Holland College. We try to source students from that program and give them opportunities with us.”
New hires get safety training courses such as Fall Arrest. “Everyone is fitted with a five-point harness connected to the roof for working at heights so that you will be as safe as you can be.”
Pay and benefits
Pay starts at about $15 to $21/hour, give or take, based on experience. Employees are offered an extended benefits program that they can access after working for three months.
“We believe that all our people should be invested in us, so each team member is given shareholder options. After three months, each employee owns a small part of the company. It makes everyone feel like they will benefit from the success and growth of the company.”
“You need to have energy on the job – there can be some long workdays. It is outdoor work on buildings that could be quite high. The work is a bit weather dependent, and we will call it a day if it is too windy or conditions are not suitable.
“Everyone has their own particular strengths, and the Team Leads try to work within those strengths.” The team has a four-day work week, and work 40 to 50 hours a week.
HOW TO APPLY
Apply by email with a resumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
First we do a phone interview, talk about what the job entails, and ask how they feel about working at heights. If that goes well, we will move on to an in-person interview with one of our experienced installers.
To check out all the available opportunities at Sunly, visit www.sunly.ca/careers