Fairfax County solar panel installation company aims to fight climate change: Interview with Ipsun Solar CEO Herve Billiet

Merrifield-based Ipsun Solar, a company that installs residential and commercial solar panels, was started in 2016 with a lofty goal: fighting climate change, said Herve Billiet, CEO, who co-founded the company along with Joe Marhamati.

“The core mission is installing as many solar panels as we can to fight climate change,” said Billiet.

“We’ve grown from just two people to now 60 people — and we keep growing,” Billet added. “There’s a lot of demand for it.”

The company’s name ‘Ipsun Solar’ was derived from the Latin word “ipsum” with the last letter changed to an “n,” Billiet explained. “So we have ‘sun’ in our name, but ‘ipsum’ means ‘yourself.’ So the idea is to generate your own power, your own clean power from the sun.”

Ipsun Solar installs solar panels in an approximate 60-mile radius of Fairfax County, in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

And Fairfax County is a great place to base its operations, according to Billiet.

“Fairfax County is a great location for us because we want to stay local. We have our kids going to school here. We have friends and family located here. So we want to have a business that stays here,” Billiet said. “Our customers also, when you look at a map, are all surrounded by our warehouse [in Merrifield]. It’s nearly 60 miles around — nearly a perfect circle. And we want to stay local and serve our customers so that we are quickly able to reach them because we are located close to the Beltway.”

Fairfax County’s climate change goals align with the company’s objectives, Billiet emphasized.

According to the Fairfax County Government, in 2021, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors accepted the county’s first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP). This plan outlines greenhouse gas reduction goals for the community for the coming decades. Carbon-Free Fairfax is the county initiative that turns the words of CECAP into action, implementing the strategies identified in the plan. Click here to find out more about Fairfax County’s Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan.

In June 2022, the Fairfax County School Board  approved a contract to install rooftop solar panels at Annandale High School as a pilot program for Fairfax County Public Schools.

“Fairfax County has some clear goals about fighting climate change. And we are also part of that, We are part of a larger contract to put solar in Fairfax County Public Schools. Fairfax is a very large county, so they take their time to do it right,” he said. “Eventually we will be going out and installing solar in all those schools. So that is also being part of a county that is very progressive in their regard and wants to fight climate change makes a big difference.”

Fairfax County is also a great location in terms of recruiting talent, Billiet noted. Currently, 60 people are employed at the company, from sales and marketing to engineers to installers and maintenance people.

“So far we were spared from the difficulty of finding people. We are close to Washington, D.C., and Fairfax County has a very diverse population,” he said. “And now we have actually ongoing solar projects that we need more people… So if you’re interested in finding climate change and getting paid to save your planet, just reach out to Ipsun Solar.”

Opportunities are available for electricians, engineers, inside salespersons, and customer service representatives. Click here for more information.

Not only is the company working to fight climate change but Billiet explained that solar panel customers are doing their part.

“A lot of people reach out to Ipsun Solar, not only to fight climate change, they know that it’s helping, but it helps them more directly in the way, more impactful ways to save money. You’ve seen the gas prices go up, and when the gas price goes up a few months later, utility bills will go up because that’s how most of the electricity is being produced around the nation. So if you don’t want your utility bill to go up and up and up forever, you can also just install solar panels,” explained Billiet.

“So be part of the solution and fight climate change in a meaningful way. Protect your own financial assets. Just go solar and do the right thing. You support a local business. You create jobs, you fight climate change, and you save your own money,” Billiet added. “So there’s a lot of good reasons to go solar.”