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Reflections: Our First Year in Business

Anniversary Blog:

Katie & Lyall

As the Annapolis Sailboat Show is in full swing, Lyall and I are reflecting on our first year of business since launching Sun Powered Yachts in Annapolis last October. Since Annapolis 2018, we attended San Diego Sun Road Marina Show, The Pacific Boat Show in Richmond, CA, the finish of the 50th Anniversary TransPac Race in Honolulu, the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, WA and finally closed out the year debuting at IBEX in Tampa, Florida! All along the way we were connecting with incredible sailors, boaters, and marine industry professionals about going solar. It has certainly been a whirlwind first year as business owners. Lyall has essentially earned a degree in Amazon selling and fulfillment, while we also had to learn the ropes of all new sales tax nexus laws, as well as both becoming website developers. No one said starting a company was going to be easy, especially while managing two young daughters and living off-grid in Hawaii.

We wanted to share some of the highs and lows of our first year and also thank all of our customers and followers who have supported us along the way. We are so grateful! Certainly the best part of our job is helping people go solar and seeing their install photos. To know that we are inspiring others to use the free and silent energy from the sun to power their lives aboard is why we started the business in the first place.

Please keep sending us your photos and stories as to how going solar has allowed you to disconnect from the dock! One of our goals this second year is to create a testimonials page on our website featuring all of our customers solar installs. One of our other favorite parts of the business is connecting with all of you at boat shows, events, and on the phone and email. We will continue to focus on excellent customer service and offer free consultations to anyone interested in going solar. We started out last year with no one knowing about these panels. And now the SunPower® 170Watt panel is featured in the Gear section of SAIL magazine's October issue. I would say that is a great example of what we have accomplished this first year.

Some lows were often the things that were completely out of our control, such as pallets of panels being misplaced in shipping and not found for weeks, doing our taxes for the first time... and then realizing why all other businesses have Quickbooks and an accountant, so we now have those too! There is so much learning and research that takes place the first year in business, everyone is bound to trip up and make mistakes. We had our share of sleepless nights, minds filled with thoughts of solar panels, amps and volts, numbers and margins etc. We certainly learned a lot in year one and will carry those lessons with us into this second year.

Our heads are high and are hearts are full as we sail into this next year of business! Lyall and I are more excited than ever as panel pricing has come down on the whole SunPower® E-flex line. We also wanted to share some exciting news that we will now be an exclusive SunPower® marine dealer of the X-Series 370Watt fixed frame panels!

14x170W on an Alibi 54

Much of the past year was spent working on opening up this channel to the marine market, as SunPower® has only sold panels through their elite dealer and installer network. This will be the first time the X-22 370W are available to the marine world! As the most power dense solar panels being manufactured, they are an ideal offering for this market where 'roof space' is a premium. As we update our website please email us for the SunPower X-22 370W spec sheet.

You will continue to see us at boat and trade shows as we plan to attend the Seattle Boat Show in January as a vendor specialist at Fisheries Supply booth, and will be exhibiting again at the Pacific Boat Show in April. We are still planning out the rest of our year's events but will keep you posted.

Thanks again to everyone who took time to connect with us this first year! Email us your SunPower install photos or tag us on Facebook & Instagram @sunpoweredyachts We received this photo from a customer of their Alibi 54' with 2.38kW (14x SunPower E-flex 170W)

We look forward to helping more of you go solar with SunPower!


Katie and Lyall Burgess

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