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Meet Maxwell Neely of Maxed Out Solar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maxwell Neely.

Hi Maxwell, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Maxed Out Solar is helping Maryland switch to solar panels and save tons of money and the planet. In 2022, I moved from Frederick to Washington DC to pursue my calling to do solar energy advocacy work. Previously, I lived in Maryland for over 30 years. As a result, I have strong community ties. I invested in making solar energy easy and accessible for Maryland residents. When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit in the Spring of 2020, I stopped driving and delivering. I wanted to start locally and take action instead of waiting for someone else to solve the problem.

I founded Maxed Out Solar in 2020 to prevent climate change and help people build wealth. I know many homeowners are struggling with money right now. I believe that solar energy has the power to change people’s lives for the better. Most people know solar is good for the planet. Most people don’t know how much money it can save you. I want to make going solar the easiest decision you’ve ever made. Energy shouldn’t be expensive. It should be easily affordable, renewable, and widely available. These are the main problems that Maxed Out Solar aims to solve.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made doing business harder. Out of respect for community health, I don’t go door to door to talk about solar. Instead, I rely upon digital outreach and word of mouth. My customer referral program has helped me overcome some of these challenges. However, doing business can still be difficult because of the rising costs of digital transformation. Online advertising costs more and more money, which has led me to develop alternative strategies. Holding and holding attention can be challenging in the era of information overload and always-on connectivity, even if a product or service may save people tons of money. Discussing business when so many people are struggling and feeling overwhelmed with life is challenging. Many people I want to help are also struggling, making for stressful conversations about high energy costs.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We make it easy for Maryland homeowners to switch to solar energy and save money instead of paying extra for dirty energy. Often, many people we help are working from home, at least some of the time. This means higher energy costs. Solar can help people build wealth, pay less money for electricity, and have less stress about money and climate change. We want to help people lower carbon emissions and get paid. Switching to solar is one of the best climate solutions; our goal is to make it so easy that almost anyone can do it.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
Dylan Petrohilos is my business partner. He handles design, creative, and coding work. We met during the Occupy Wall Street movement in Frederick. We are both concerned about the environment as well as the economy. We also run a digital design, creative, and conversion optimization agency together. Even though we disagreed online when we first met, Dylan has become one of my best friends, and doing business together. Dylan has been influential in teaching me about worker cooperatives and the concept of a sharing economy. Our business ventures are structured as worker cooperatives because we believe in solidarity and mutual aid. Everyone we meet has something to teach, something to learn, or something to offer. In our case, we teach about solar energy, learn what our customers need from us, and offer an easy way to save money and the planet. We share the responsibilities of running a solar company and the rewards. Our cooperative worker structure incentivizes us to work harder since we each have an ownership stake. It also forces us to work through disagreements and make smarter decisions as a team. Dylan has been hugely influential in my life, and we each bring skills and insights to the table that the other may lack. As a result, we work well together, and work is much more fun.

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Dylan Petrohilos

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1 Comment

  1. Michael C Neely

    July 15, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    MaxedOutSolar rocks at every level–as a model of an enterprise based on shared values, as a way to save money on energy, and as a way to help mitigate climate change. Check it out.

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