SunLink History

SunLink founder John Eastwood has spent more than three decades building successful companies that have transformed the energy industry, bringing innovative technologies in the fields of energy storage, wind and hydroelectric power to the market.

In 1986, he founded Eastwood Energy, focusing on wind and hydroelectric energy development. A decade and a half later, as the solar market began to ramp up in the United States, he jumped on the opportunity to serve a commercial market that was looking at solar as viable option for the very first time. Eastwood Energy shifted its focus and soon became a pioneer in the solar energy field.

Richmond, California was the site of John’s first installation. After procuring more than 900 Sharp modules, all the inverters, and bringing on an electrical contracting partner to complete the 140kW roof-top installation, all that was left was to buy the mounting system. John reached out to the leading racking manufacturer at the time, only to learn that each module required a tie-down. That meant that in order to complete the installation, he would have to drill more than 900 holes in the roof!

John believed that he could create a better solution himself, so that’s exactly what Eastwood Energy set out to do. The team completed the Richmond project with its own mounting system.

 

John Eastwood showcasing the Sunlink proprietary mounting system.

John Eastwood showcasing the first Sunlink mounting system at ASES in 2004.

Detail from the first Sunlink proprietary mounting system promotional brochure.

The first SunLink non-penatrating roof-mount system was “a marvel of engineering.”

Subsequently, using the Richmond experience to inform design, John invested heavily in wind tunnel testing to optimize his roof mount system and brought on seasoned engineers to lead product development. By July 2004, the first SunLink proprietary mounting system was born. After months of work, the roof-mount system was unveiled at the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) conference in Portland, Oregon. Having held an internal contest before the conference to name the product, the roof-mount system debuted under the employee-suggested name “SunLink.”

The ASES show and subsequent customer outreach generated a great deal of interest in the new product. Eastwood Energy finished its first 29kW “SunLink” installation at Whole Foods in Rhode Island, which was soon followed by a 1 MW project at a refrigeration facility for Tony’s Fine Foods in Sacramento, and a number of projects throughout California for BP Solar. By the end of 2004, the company had expanded to 10 employees and was actively seeking more financing to keep up with rapidly escalating demand. The resonance of the SunLink product name resulted in the decision to change the name of the company from Eastwood Energy to SunLink. With that, more transformative racking and mounting solutions would soon follow.

 

Aerial shot of Tony’s Fine Foods refrigeration facility 1 MW project.

Aerial shot of the 1 MW roof mount installation at Tony’s Fine Foods refrigeration facility in Sacramento.

Rooftop panels installed at Tony’s Fine Foods in Sacramento, California 2004.

The first “SunLink”commerical roof mount installation atop Whole Foods in Rhode Island.

Since then, SunLink has worked relentlessly to move the solar industry forward. Driven by meaningful investment in R&D, the creativity and commitment of a very talented team, and collaborative relationships with installer customers, SunLink has been catalyst for change and progress.

From its original roof-mount focus, the company diversified its product mix to include a full range of trackers and fixed tilt ground mount systems. This diversity of solutions ensures that no matter the project type, ground/roof conditions or environment, SunLink has the optimal system to make a commercial or uility-scale solar project successful.

Today, SunLink has grown to an organization of more than 85 people while its engineering and product solutions remain the most trusted in North America and around the globe. Moreover, the company has evolved to become far more than a mounting and racking supplier. With the addition of PowerCare geotechnical, installation and O&M services and the VERTEX energy asset management platform, SunLink now delivers full-scope, turn-key energy solutions that are focused equally on making solar projects more successful today and ensuring renewable energy solves grid challenges to lead the way into the energy future of tomorrow. SunLink believes in the power of what’s possible – in the solar industry, and beyond.

 

 

 

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