Greeners bring Solar Power to the South Sound

From left to right: Solar Specialist, Bruce Hargrave; VP, Dever Kuni ’12; and President & Owner, Kirk Haffner ’88 -photo by South Sound Solar

Since 2007, family-run South Sound Solar has been in the community installing commercial and residential solar panels. Earlier this month we connected with company execs Dever (Haffner-Ratliffe) Kuni ’12 and Kirk Haffner ’88 to learn what they’ve been up to and talk about how The Evergreen State College has influenced the shape and success of their company.

Even customers make the connections between their lives and their Evergreen experiences.  Case in point: When South Sound Solar V.P. Dever Kuni ’12 interviewed new clients Eliza Alexander ’11 and son, Jeremy Alexander ’12,   Eliza positioned the family project this way:
“Our Evergreen educations helps us think more clearly about the systems we exist in…Solar power seemed like one great way to harness the largest and definitely coolest energy source that we know of — the sun!”
When it came time for the Alexanders to hook up to the sun’s power, they called South Sound Solar.

Installing solar panels on the Alexander’s roof. -Photo by South Sound Solar

“You know, when you share similar values, like environmental concerns, you can communicate in a kind of short hand,” noted Owner/President Kirk Haffner ’88. “It really saves time in the [client] education process. This was good because Eliza and Jeremy’s roof gave us the perfect opportunity to try a completely new rack system and they were open to learning about it.”

“We put in a completely unique low-pitch rack system to give the panels a better pitch so their solar system would perform more effectively. It turned out great; the panels blend in and look beautiful. I’m pretty pleased with it.”

Kirk gives a lot of credit to his Evergreen education: “I took full advantage of the Evergreen system, taking regular courses and doing independent contracts; I was the academic entrepreneur. The strongest elements I took away with me were how self reliance translates into success, and the importance of effective communication.”
Dever is not only the company VP, she is Kirk’s daughter.
“Through my family’s business, I found I had a passion for environmental sciences and sustainability. That was my original reason for going to Evergreen. I worked for our company all through school and soon realized I needed to gain business-building skills as well. Because of how Evergreen is structured, I could take the classes I knew to be necessary for my education.”

Learn more at South Sound Solar and share your experiences with alternative energy sources

2 thoughts on “Greeners bring Solar Power to the South Sound

  1. Would like to hear about the feasibility and cost of installing a solar system on the roof of our rural and maybe subsequently on our barn roof. I believe both roofs face due south or close to it. My husband is much more reticent about big purchases than I am. I travel out of town frequently. We currently spend about $ 200/month on average on utilities for 2-3 people. We have electricity rather than natural gas and have already have had energy efficient advice from PGE, have bought energy efficient appliances and light fixtures as well as an energy efficient water heater. We have a heat pump and have also insulated the house as much as we know how. Looking for the next step.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *