The Stellar Solar Team
With over a decade installing residential and commercial solar, Stellar Solar is one of the oldest and most experienced solar energy companies now operating in San Diego – we specialized in solar before it was hot! Our contractor’s license has been active since 1998 and we put that expertise to work for you with over 600 San Diego residential solar panel installations, 40,000+ solar panels, and over 6 megawatts of commercial solar installed in California.
"We carry a C-10 contractor’s license, considered the gold standard for PV solar electric installation. Many other companies hold only a C-46 plumbing license (for solar hot water installer). We are also a Better Business Bureau accredited member and hold an A+ rating."
Stellar Solar is wholly-owned, managed and operated by the experienced team below. We concentrate our residential business here in San Diego and have the flexibility to make decisions in our clients’ best interests, quickly and effectively. We run a lean business with low overhead that enables us to offer the lowest priced solar in San Diego.
Our solar energy consultants are the best and the brightest in the industry and strive to make the process of installing solar panels on your home or business easy and educational, with no high-pressure sales pitches.
Kent Harle, President
Founding partner Kent Harle has over 20 years experience in electrical contracting and project management, with an emphasis in PV Solar Energy, Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management. He is a successful entrepreneur, launching Redline Performance Products and its line of Low-Emission, High-Performance Snowmobiles. He was also involved in several other start-up businesses including Energy Masters International which later became Chevron Energy Solutions. Solar power is his passion leading him to found Stellar Solar over 10 years ago. His business savvy has enabled Stellar to experience consistent growth and has positioned the company as one of the leading residential and commercial solar integrators in San Diego. Kent holds several design patents and is currently working on a new, non-penetrating commercial solar mounting system. Kent is an avid motorcyclist, riding and also collecting vintage European bikes. He lives in Carlsbad with his wife and two sons.
Brian Grems, VP Operations
Brian is an experienced electrical engineer and licensed electrician. He is a Purdue graduate, who studied at one of the world’s top PV research labs at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He began his career designing solar cells in a research & development laboratory then later moved into the field, to specialize in systems design and installation. Brian is a founding partner in Stellar Solar.
Michael Powers, VP Sales and Marketing
Michael is a former marketing manager at Home Depot Supply and helped to launch the national solar program at The Home Depot. Since 1999, he has been a board member of Global Energy Network Institute (GENI). In 2007, Michael was invited to speak on renewable energy at Stanford University and World Economic Forum in London. He trained in PV solar sales and installation at AstroPower (now GE Solar) before becoming a founding partner in Stellar Solar.
Walt Virack, Operations Manager
Walt joined the Stellar team in November, 2010 and has made a quick impact on our processes and operations. Being part of Off Road, IndyCar, and NASCAR pit crews including drivers such as Robby Gordon for the past 20 years probably had something to do with that. Walt also worked with Stellar President Kent Harle at Redline Snowmobiles where they built that brand from the ground up. When Kent told Walt about the explosive growth at Stellar and offered him an opportunity to be a part of it, he jumped at the chance. Walt had this to say about his decision to join Stellar Solar, “While San Diego is crowded with solar installers, Stellar has what many of them don’t, longevity, a very experienced team, a good mix of residential and commercial solar projects, and solid long term growth prospects. Those attributes made my decision an easy one.”
David Boylan, Marketing Director
David has marketed solar power all over the country for integrators and manufacturers with an annual revenue from $1 - $100 million annually, working with any size marketing budget. He has an extensive playbook of what marketing, events, and PR produces for both commercial and residential solar. He has worked with or for HelioPower, Borrego Solar, Siliken Solar, Bauer Power, Mercury Solar, Sequoia Solar, Third Sun Solar and is currently heading up Stellar’s marketing and business development efforts. His experience is not limited to solar as he also brings 20 years of corporate and agency marketing experience to the table.
John Darlington, Project Manager
John has over 25 years of Construction Management experience in projects ranging in size of up to 22 million dollars. He graduated Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, CA with a degree in Construction Management and has managed construction at commercial and residential construction companies ranging from startups to established companies with up to $30 million in annual sales. He is fully versed in project management and exerts total control over the estimating, bidding, scheduling, and budgeting on a project. In the 1990s, John was part of Martin Building Company, the firm at the forefront of the live-work loft trend in San Francisco, and in the early 2000s he served as VP Construction for a large condominium conversion company. His work has been featured in Sunset Magazine, Space Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times and other noted design publications. John is managing our 500kW solar system at the renowned Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.
Joe Bowden, Operations Coordinator
With a longtime passion for the solar industry, Joe has been a member of the Stellar Solar team since 2011. Prior to joining Stellar Solar he worked for 1 year in Operations with Occidental Power, a solar installation firm based in San Francisco, and for 10 years as a Mortgage Consultant with Wachovia & World Savings.
Joe is a graduate of UCSB with a B.A. degree in Law & Society and is currently attending Kaplan University in pursuit of his MBA. In his short time with Stellar, he has become an asset to the company and his versed in the processing of rebates, lease and interconnection documentation for the company. Joe is excited about building a bright future with Stellar and helping customers save money while reducing their carbon footprint.
John Stemmerman, PV Systems Engineer/CAD Specialist
When John joined Stellar in August 2006, he worked installing solar panels for residential and commercial clients. Today, he is a PV solar energy systems engineer and a CAD specialist managing the engineering team responsible for site surveys, systems design and engineering, permits and city inspections.
Committed to delivering the highest quality and most efficient solar energy system that will benefit clients for the long term, he is pursuing NABCEP certification, the “gold standard” for the renewable energy industry. This certification reassures Stellar customers that they have highly qualified, trained, and skilled professionals working on their behalf.
On the weekends, John makes time to give back to the community by supporting local charities by competing in 5k and half-marathon races.
David Gersz, Solar Energy Consultant
Dave Gersz is quickly becoming a rising star in the solar industry. In his first year, he helped 25 San Diego homeowners generate their own energy with a solar panel installation. He is a blogger and frequent solar expert on the Dr. Fixit Radio Show. Dave not only recommends the perfect solar power solution for his clients, but lends his knowledge in financing.
Dave graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Business, majoring in Finance and Real Estate. He is active in the San Diego political community and attends many young Jewish networking events. In addition, he enjoys wine tasting, Ohio State Buckeye football and crossfit.
Dave strongly believes that he does not sell solar panels, rather an energy solution that is a great investment for any San Diego homeowner who is looking to create their own clean energy from the sun.
Zac Dowell, Solar Energy Consultant
Zac is certified by the California Home Energy Efficiency Rating Services (CHEERS) as a HERS rater, and is a LEED Green Associate (GA). Zac also has an Associate’s degree in Architectural Engineering with over 9 years of work experience and apprenticeship training in the land surveying field.
Zac's versatility has allowed him to wear many hats for Stellar since late 2009. Zac has spent time on the installation crew so he truly understands all the little details. He has Stellar design experience drawing and permitting PV systems from the ground up. Zac is the acting office manager for Stellar Solar and has helped develop Stellar's document processing standards, and customer resource management. His musical background has enabled him produce Stellar’s radio ad campaigns, working closely with the marketing department.
Zac is passionate about sustainability and efficiency and finds great satisfaction in sharing these values with his customers. He is analytical, detail-oriented, hard-working, and focused. Zac will always meet critical deadlines while providing you with superior service. Zac understands every phase of the solar process, and he will make sure that you do too!
Barry Cooper, Solar Energy Consultant
Barry has been with Stellar since April, 2007. He provides project needs analysis and turn-key contracting of solar energy systems for commercial and residential projects. Barry is also the Solar Alliance program manager for Stellar/Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association. Barry is the former President of The Cooper Group Sign & Lighting Systems, which provided custom manufacturing and installation for individual projects as well as ongoing programs for companies such as Jack In The Box, American Restaurant Group, Stuart Anderson's Black Angus, Disney's California Adventure Theme Park.
Barry has a degree in Business Administration from Kent State University. He has been intrigued by solar power since first reading about it around 1980 and enjoys contributing in the effort to achieve our country's energy independence for our collective economic and ecological health.
Brian Nagel, Solar Energy Consultant
A Graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Community and Regional Planning, Brian truly wants to find the best option for each customer. His straightforward and educational approach to sales can likely be attributed to growing up in the midwest. He first began working in the solar industry to be a part of something progressive, important to the future and a benefit to everyone, with the understanding that even those who don't go solar themselves benefit from renewable energy. Brian feels he is both helping to solve a problem and opening people's minds every day.
In addition, Brian has worked for the largest residential solar installer in the country, as well as the smallest. From that experience he is confident that a local mid-size company like Stellar Solar offers the greatest flexibility in solar solutions and best customer service for the best price.
Kristin Kirk, Solar Energy Consultant
Recent hire Kristin Kirk is our newest PV Specialist. Kristin grew up outside of Chicago and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colorado State University with a degree in Fine Arts/Graphic design. She went on to work at Colorado State on social marketing campaigns, bringing awareness to such issues as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence prevention, and drug abuse prevention. Her passion for helping people, bringing awareness and her interest in renewable energy led her to begin her solar career in October of 2010 in Phoenix AZ. Kristin excelled immediately in sol ar with her ability to educate consumers and business owners on the benefits of solar while connecting with them on a personal level. She believes that solar power is a win-win, especially with the new Stellar Solar lease that brings solar energy systems within reach of nearly every homeowner.
Gabe Gonzales, PV Designer
Gabe Gonzales has been in solar since 2009, starting out as a site surveyor and quickly moving towards designing and permitting. As a skilled AutoCAD designer and permitting specialist, he enjoys the start to finish of getting solar systems up and running throughout San Diego and Riverside County. His goal is getting that meter to spin backwards, which makes a happy customer save a lot of money. In his free time, Gabe is out on the water fishing or wakeboarding, while in wintertime he hits the slopes, snowboarding out in the mountains.
Hector Holguin, PV Designer
Hector is a PV Designer with over five years of Auto CAD experience, and holds a degree in architecture from Woodbury University. He has a passion for evolving architecture into a discipline that is not just about aesthetic design, but increasingly inclined towards creating more efficient and eco-friendly structures. He’s happy to be involved as a residential and commercial solar designer within an industry that has a positive clean impact on the environment. Hector is proficient in photography and graphic design and enjoys them professionally and as a hobby. He is keen on outdoor pursuits including hiking and kayaking, and also enjoys athletics, most of all being soccer.