ITHACA, N.Y. — Local solar energy installer Renovus has announced furloughs that will affect about one-third of their workforce, mostly those directly involved in the construction of large scale projects.

A furlough is an involuntary, temporary layoff of employees. A company representative stated that the employees were furloughed while the company is awaiting the finalization of financing of several large commercial projects, and the staff for those projects are unable to continue with their work until funds are available.

Renovus expects to bring the furloughed staff back once the new projects have been financially secured. In the meanwhile, the company will continue its work with installations of small-scale residential solar projects.

Renovus, founded in Ithaca in 2003 and currently headquartered in Ulysses, has enjoyed impressive growth over the past several years. The company has grown from eight full-time employees in 2011, to over 70 as of late last year.

Here is a copy of Renovus’s press release:

“On Monday, August 8, Renovus Solar implemented a temporary furlough for a portion of our workforce. We did this because we are currently awaiting the finalization of financing for several large commercial projects as well as for our new Pay-As-You-Go Community Solar program.

Fundamentally, despite our tremendous growth, we are still a small, locally owned solar construction company. Temporary furloughs are a common part of the life of a construction company, especially as projects get bigger and bigger, and this is no different. Projects take time and funding to develop, and the timing simply doesn’t always line up without any gaps.

We love our employees, and we are doing everything possible to minimize the impact to them and their families as we await the finalization of funding for these projects. All of the staff affected will still be receiving their full benefits packages, including health insurance, CSA shares, access to company equipment and property, and all other regular benefits.

Our expectation is that this will only be for a short period of time, after which we will bring everyone back up to 100% so that we can execute on the enormous amount of construction necessary to meet the demands of the market.

We have seen a historic demand for solar over the past two months as we have rolled out our pay as you go community solar program. Our program saves ratepayers 10% on their electric bills while using energy from clean, local solar farms, built with local labor. In just the last two months alone we have received approximately 1,000 reservations on our farms, which are going to commence construction shortly.

In total, those reservations add up to nearly 10MW of solar – that’s almost 4 times the total amount we installed all of last year. By opening the benefits of solar up to everyone who pays a utility bill, we are now able to serve a much larger group, including low and moderate income families, while providing good jobs to our community.

We appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community as we forge forward to a clean energy future that offers everyone the benefits of solar power, and we very much look forward to the impending start of construction of the solar farms that will provide it.”

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.