This blog has always been about solar marketing and advocacy, and so it’s always fun to report on Solar Battle of the Bands, an annual Intersolar sold-out tradition that harmoniously incorporates both.

Yes, there is a marketing aspect to this event, but let’s not be cynical here. If you’ve ever been to a Solar Battle of the Bands, you know the event is genuinely about music and bringing our solar community together for four wonderful hours that’s frankly like no other event in the industry.

You really have to be there to fully “feel” the solar community spirit, but if you didn’t make it, here’s a small taste of it in this highlight video below. –And keep in mind that all of these musicians have day jobs at their respective solar companies:


As much as the bands play their heart out, that solar magical mystery tour doesn’t happen without support and a great deal of time and effort from the event organizers, QuickMount PV and this year, S-5.

In addition to their regular solar company jobs, Quick Mount PV’s Meghan Vincent-Jones and Johan Alfsen did the event heavy lifting, finding qualified solar bands, sponsors, and coordinating the event before and after. It wouldn’t have happened without them, so if you loved this year’s Solar Battle of the Bands, thank Johan, Meghan and the entire Quick Mount team for continuing to go all out to make this solar tradition so memorable. S-5 also joined in the producing duties this year, so be sure to sing their praises, as well.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Solar Battle of the Bands without the bands and the solar people brave enough to get up on that solar stage in front of all their solar pro peers. The bands and their members are listed below. While all were truly winners, by a texting-based audience vote, Sungevity’s The Killa Watts! won for the second year in a row for bringing in “da solar funk” again.

I’d also like to give special props to Inovateus Solar’s “Reverend Ray and The Everlasting Incentives,” who accepted my public challenge to create an original solar-themed song for this year’s SBOB. They rocked the solar house with “New Paradise,” an original rock-n-roll anthem for a clean energy world in the style of AC/DC. Perchance we’ll have even more original solar tunes next year.

The SBOB Marketing Side

I said that Solar Battle of the Bands was also a unique solar marketing opportunity, especially for brand awareness for the band’s brands. Case in point: I’d never heard of the French solar tracking company Exosun…until I’d heard The Exoband. If you’re a solar startup or an international company breaking into the U.S. Market, what a great way to get some instant brand recognition by performing at SBOB in front of 1200 solar pros. Not only was the band musically excellent, they were also authentic to themselves, performing songs in French as well as en Englais.

Even for residential-facing companies like Sungevity, SolarCity, and RGS Energy, being one of the SBOB bands is still great PR for employee recruitment and retention campaigns. It’s a great way to support company spirit, as well as show employees and prospects that the company isn’t all business and that they can be a part of a creative, fun, team.

So I’d certainly recommend attempting to get into Solar Battle of the Bands, but be warned that the competition is tough, and even when chosen, it costs several thousand dollars to participate.

If performing great music is beyond your solar company’s expertise, by all means, see if you can’t sponsor the Battle. You’ll get your name on a large screen throughout the event, plus on-stage shout-outs from host Johan Alfsen, not to mention getting your name on the free 100 percent cotton tee that every attendee receives as they exit the show. You also receive a certain number of tickets to hand out to your best customers, a huge perk for this always sold-out event.

In any case, expensive events like this couldn’t happen without generous sponsor support, so kudos to Inovateus Solar (also a band competitor), Wiley, AEE Solar, ReneSola, Mounting Systems Inc, and S:FLEX, as well as media/nonprofit sponsors SolarPro, Solar Power World, Intersolar North America, and NABCEP.

During a time of solar trade wars and industry consolidation, we need more solar events like Solar Battle of the Bands that actually put aside our serious industry battles and bring all of us together. In terms of solar event marketing, SBOB is a fantastic way…to UnThink Solar.

Here’s a list of all of the performing bands and their employee-members (All photos by Todd Coleman. See the whole SBOB photostream here.)

Exoband from Exosun

Frédéric Conchy – Bass and back vocals

Gilarno Perrin – Guitar and vocals

Luc Vuchot – Drums

Adrien Lucas – Keytar and back vocals


Public Energy #1 from RGS Energy

Kate York – Vocals

Ian Leavitt – Vocals

Bill Giebler – Keyboards

Joe Ostrowski – Guitar

John Karamanlis – Bass

Raphael Schiffman – Drums



The SoulMetrics from SolarCity

Brian Cilenti – Guitar, Vocals

Brian Taylor – Bass

Allum Ross – Sax

Carl Moren –  Keys, Trombone, Backing Vocals

Heather Krainer – Violin, Backing Vocals

Kelly Wolf – Vocals

Nate Walker – Guitar, Vocals

Nick Duffy – Drums

Rodrigo Calvo-Leni – Trumpet

Yoseff Tucker – Banjo


Rev. Ray & the Everlasting Incentives from Inovateus Solar

Nick Kovach- Harmonica, Vocals

T.J. Kanczuzewski- Keyboards, Vocals

Tyler Kanczuzewski- Drums

Miki Mihailovich- Guitar, Vocals

Connor O’Sullivan- Bass

Smanatha England- Vocals


The Killa Watts from Sungevity (Winners of SBOB, Round 4)

Chris Connolly – Vocals

Kelcey Gavar-  – Vocals

Colleen George – Vocals

Andrew Adelman – Drums

Jeff Cleland – Bass

Joss Jaffe – Guitar

Felix Fernando- Congas

Krystian Muroya – Trumpet

Travis Richardson – Alto sax

Misha Balmer – Baritone sax

Stephanie Smith – Flute

Sam Hernandez – Trombone


Northerner & The Rafters (The Official House/Host Band from Quick Mount PV)

Johan Alfsen – Bass, vocals

Nich Pak – Guitar, vocals

Ruben Rios – Drums

Robert DaValle – Guitar, vocals

Jack Kent – Trumpet

Henri Holbrook – Saxophone

Josh Sunderland – Keyboard

Jennifer Alfsen – Vocals


As per tradition, SBOB co-founder Christie McCarthy opened the show with her solar anthem Rise and Shine with a little help from Northerner.


Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is a solar marketing and communications consultant and the author of Solar Fred’s Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. Sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter, or contact him through UnThink Solar. You can also follow @SolarFred on Twitter.