Owner of CalSun Electric and Solar Systems Inc., Chad Stern, started his business to bring solar power to his community but that dream plays second fiddle to his first love, writing and creating music.
Stern grew up surrounded by musical talent. Each member of his family either strummed a guitar, tickled piano keys or used their voice in song. Much like the environment he was raised in, Stern makes sure there are plenty of instruments around his house for his children to experiment with. He said kids naturally gravitate toward making music. His 8-year-old daughter loves the trumpet, something he would never have known if she did not have the opportunity to fiddle with one.
“We have four kids,” Stern said. “I have every instrument I can think of just sitting around and they pick and choose what they want to do.”
Stern continues to pursue his musical career as a contemporary solo pianist while running CalSun. He is set to release his second album later this year. He said that his records tend to do better in China than in the United States.
Almost ten years ago when he was starting his business, solar power had not gained the popularity or ease of purchasing that it has reached in 2019. To help boost business, Stern said he fell back on his electrical experience but maintained his desire to bring solar power to as many people as he could.
In the past, people interested in solar would lease the equipment but Stern says in today’s green energy market more people are opting to buy the system by taking advantage of programs such as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) or low-interest solar loans through credit unions.
Stern said that CalSun keeps its pricing competitive by minimizing the company’s overhead but also said that owning a small business does not leave a wide margin of error.
“We have to work a little harder,” Stern said. “I have to make sure that things are balanced as far as overhead and income. As a small business, we have to make sure that every single one of our customers is taken care of to the best of our ability; 100 percent.”