Pineland Electric – Straightforward Solar Energy Solutions

Pineland Electric is a Nova Scotia run business that offers solar energy systems and other electric services for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. They know that with energy prices always increasing, more and more Nova Scotians are looking for straightforward reliable solar installation that can eliminate their power bills and give them reliable green energy for many years to come. That’s where Pineland Electric comes in! We had a chance to sit down with Doug Penner, owner of Pineland Electric, to find out more about how he is continuing his dad’s work, while at the same time, staying relevant and adapting to the ever-changing Energy Market.

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While passing down a business from father to son is something that happens a lot in the business world, the entrepreneurial spirit clearly runs deep in the Penner Family. Doug’s father started the business back in the mid 70’s in Manitoba, with the family making the move to Nova Scotia in 1993. For some time after that, Doug and his father explored other interests and opportunities until his dad started in electrical work again, along with Doug, just around the millennium.  Over time, Doug and his wife took on more control of the operation of the company and in 2016 when he and his wife Crystal bought the company from his parents and are now co-owners.  Three years after taking control of the company the pair decided to venture into offering solar energy systems in 2019.

Doug says, “When a customer asks, Is this possible? We say yes. Anything is possible. Usually, if someone tells me something can’t be done, I find a solution to fit their needs.” And that’s what Pineland Electric’s customers have come to expect. With the right amount of the time, and the right budget, Doug says, “They are capable of making any project a reality!”

One of the most intriguing parts of talking with Doug, is how running this family business just sort of happened. He is very humble in saying that he just lives his life day to day, there was never a big long-term plan to become a business owner, or to take over Pineland Electric, it was a natural progression, and it was something that felt right for him and his family. “I wouldn’t say I had a dream or a focused plan for where I wanted to be in a year, five years or ten years. I’ve always been happy with my life in general, the business just kind of naturally progressed into what it is.”

Doug describes himself as a problem solver, always looking for an answer to a question. From the time he was little, he would watch his dad come up with unique and inventive tools for his customers, often creating or adapting tech to create a new solution. So, it is easy to see that solutions-based innovation runs in the family and it is something that Doug takes very seriously. Doug prides himself for having the unique ability to think outside the box, when looking at an energy solution for a customer. 

Doug didn’t spend years and years in schools studying this trade, it was part of his life, he grew up around it, immersed in it, every day. “I have very little specific training and schooling on technology items. But I’ve learned a lot by just not taking no for an answer. And going forward.”

We think that one of the biggest differences, when working with Pineland Electric, is that you know the team has learned their trade through experience and the sharing of knowledge and that Doug and the team continue to learn everyday to offer their customers the best possible products and solutions.

Innovative and creative solutions and the ability to work on unique projects is what every Pineland Electric customer can expect. Doug and his team prides themselves on providing the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to projects or when fixing problems with current systems. He describes how many times he’s walked into buildings and looked up at the ceiling, saw the work done by someone else and thought “why did they do that?” but it is that vision and attitude of Doug’s that has helped help him provide solutions to his customers that has saved them money and maximized their ROI.

As a consumer that is one of the best things to hear from a business, not only do they have the knowledge and the skill to make your energy dreams a reality, but they want to do it in an efficient, straightforward manner, saving you as much time and money as possible. In an ever-complicated world when businesses try to oversell and underdeliver, hearing Doug talk about finding the faster, simpler and cost-effective solution, is unbelievably refreshing. 

Pineland Electric, well the entire solar energy industry had quite a scare this past year, when Nova Scotia Power attempted to introduce their proposed net-metering charge in their most recent rate application. The charge would directly affect green energy solutions, like solar power, which of course would discourage many from even attempting to explore the option. With Climate Change at the forefront of pretty much all we do now, the Nova Scotia government said this change will not come into effect. The provincial government has also brought in more measures to grow the solar network in the east, something Doug said he was so encouraged to see. “Seeing how much support the solar industry received during when these proposed changes by NSP were coming out was really encouraging.  The government of Nova Scotia supported the industry and stayed true to their green energy initiatives to try and reduce greenhouse gases and make sure that these are financially viable options for people to invest in and diversify their energy sources.”

Later this year, Doug and his team will be exploring more agricultural energy installations, with five projects slated for this year.  In classic Doug style, they are cautiously optimistic and excited to take on these projects. “I think we’re fairly well versed in what’s available for these larger installations, which is a completely different ballgame than residential, but we are open to the challenge.”

When talking to anyone from Pineland Electric, one point you hear over and over is how much they are committed to maximizing your ROI by keeping their energy solutions affordable especially when compared to some of their larger competitors. The reason for that, is their smaller size makes the difference. Doug and his crew have kept their overhead low, allowing them to stay increasingly competitive in an increasingly competitive market. It also circles back to their innovative solutions-based process. Because they are able to avoid unnecessary costs, they are not passing them on to their customers.  They do not just look at a project and think about what it is, they explore what could be! “We like to work with the customer to find that solution that’s going to provide them what they want from that solar energy system, ” said Alex McCarthy.  Alex goes on to say, “We’re a solutions-based company. And part of that is having people come to us with their projects and current problems and we are happy to help them out.”

Caring, attention to detail and clear genuine love for the work and industry are palpable when you talk to Doug and the team at Pineland Electric. That’s been the biggest takeaway for me when listening to him talk about the business and the industry. There is never a drive to get bigger, more powerful, or to take over the market. That’s just not how Doug is wired. When talking about the future he shares hopes that grants for clean energy solutions will be explored so that the industry can grow, and more people look to make the switch to solar and become potential customers.  

It’s clear that at the heart of this business, is a genuine love for the province that they call home, and simple wish, that through their business, they can help all of us learn more about green energy, what resources are available to the average Nova Scotian, and ultimately so more people consider taking on a green energy solution.

by Allison McKinnon