Entrepreneur Of The Year® US National Award winner
Tom Brennan | Sol-Ark
Drive of a military veteran
Sol-Ark began, as many innovations do, with the conviction that something can be done better. But for Tom Brennan and his partners, starting the Texas-based smart energy company was personal. The group of military veterans and engineers wanted to provide their families and businesses with the security of reliable solar power: no power outages — and no utility bills. Simply put, they wanted to own their own power.
Existing energy storage solutions were cumbersome, expensive and overly complex, offering little power capability. Seeing opportunity, Brennan, an engineer, led the charge to develop battery-based nano-grids while working out of his garage. Then, a year after starting Sol-Ark, Brennan lost his brother to cancer. Growing the company while grieving for his brother, whom he described as his closest teammate, was the challenge of a lifetime.
Brennan’s determination drove him forward. During the early days, he wore many hats. In addition to his roles as CEO and CTO, he handled financials, business development and marketing. Today, Sol-Ark has scaled to become a leader in the design and manufacture of solar energy storage solutions.
Improving solar accessibility has broadened Sol-Ark’s user base, and the company is entering new markets, such as Puerto Rico, where hurricanes have increased solar energy’s popularity. Its 89 full-time employees share in these successes through an employee ownership program. The company has a five-year goal to impact 250,000 families. It’s all in keeping with Brennan’s dream from the start: to power families through life.
In the words of our judges
“Tom’s story is one of bootstrap success. Sol-Ark is an energy storage leader pursuing energy independence for both homeowners and businesses. With 50% women and minority ownership, Sol-Ark has achieved tremendous financial success, with runway to keep scaling.”