Benoy Thanjan - Bridging the Solar Story
We met Benoy Thanjan at last year’s GJC Wellness Day. Since then he has been a devoted follower of Growing in Jersey City, connecting us with many of his favorite businesses in the area. Thanjan is a Jersey City enthusiast who loves his local cuisines, parks, and businesses. Because of this love, he brought his company to Jersey City and works out of the coworking space, &Co.
We wanted to learn more about his love for Jersey City and his understanding of solar energy and consulting. So we dug in and learned more about his passion and how we can use solar energy
Tell us about Reneu Energy?
Benoy Thanjan: I am the Founder and CEO of Reneu Energy, a five-year old solar energy consulting firm, which primarily focuses on assisting companies looking to evaluate going solar.
We source solar project opportunities for developers and investors, providing assistance in due diligence and negotiation. Reneu also assists with sourcing financing for solar projects. Reneu helps clients with energy hedging and environmental commodity brokerage. For our clients, we create customized research regarding solar markets in different states.
You live and work in Jersey City, which came first? And, what are the benefits or downside to both?
BT: I lived here in Jersey City first and then when I started my company I wanted it to be in Jersey City. The benefits are that I save a lot of time and money from commuting. I work at a co-working space called &Co, which is a beautiful space and offers a great network of people who work there. There are two other companies in solar at &Co and we partner and collaborate on opportunities.
People are surprised to hear that New Jersey is the fifth biggest state for solar in the US due to high state level incentives and New York state is going to be a big state for solar. Our office location in Jersey City is ideal for these two markets. Basically, there are no downsides for living and working in Jersey City.
Most companies that are solar are direct to business or homeowner. Instead, you work as a consultant. What made you decide to focus on renewable energy in this way?
BT: I work as a consultant to help commercial and industrial business owners with going solar, which adds significant value to our clients. It’s a complicated process that has federal tax and state incentives with many financing options. There are numerous technological and equipment options without standardization in the market. We simplify the process for our clients and educate them on the best option. We also add value by running the proposal process with best in class installers and they are able to get a lower cost system with the best equipment.
Two examples of how we work with our clients as a representative: 1) We assisted a leading pharmaceutical company with organizing a proposal process for solar installers to bid to build solar at their corporate headquarters.
2) We created a financial and technical feasibility report for a Real Estate Developer who was considering a solar project for a new apartment complex.
How did you get into solar energy?
BT: I worked in consulting in the energy industry at Deloitte & Touche and I wanted to work in renewable energy since it is something I am passionate about. After Deloitte, I worked at a private equity firm analyzing investments in renewable energy projects and I thought solar was going to be the fastest growing sector in renewables energy and the cost of installation would go down dramatically. After working at the private equity firm, I wanted to understand solar technologies more so I worked at two solar developers, which were SolarCity (now known as Tesla) and Vanguard Energy Partners before starting Reneu Energy.
Are there any interesting developments in solar energy?
BT: The cost of solar has gone down dramatically and is less costly compared to fossil fuels with federal and state incentives in many states. In the near future, solar will be less costly than fossil fuels without incentives which will be a game changer.
If a homeowner or condo association wanted to transition into solar, what is your advice to them?
BT: The main considerations for homeowner or condo association to evaluate a building for solar is if there is significant open area on the roof free from obstruction and shade caused by trees or adjacent buildings. They should also consider the age and condition of the roof since the solar project lifespan is 25 to 30 years. You don’t want the roof to be replaced during that time period. Also, the homeowner or condo association should look at how much their energy usage is during the day to determine whether it is worthwhile to invest in solar.
What is next for Reneu Energy?
BT: Our goal is to continue to add significant value to our loyal clients. Another long-term goal is to develop and own commercial, industrial, and utility scale solar projects.
Back to Jersey city to finish our interview -
What are some of your favorite places in JC/What do you do for fun?
BT: My favorite places to hang out are Hudson Hall and Porta. Both places have great food, drinks, and décor. I like the falafel and fava medames sandwiches at Gypsy Grill, the sushi at Honshu, and I really like Mango and Almond Bubble Teas at The Big Straw. I love to go bike riding in Liberty State Park during the summer and I enjoy working out and taking classes at Base. Finally, I really like taking guitar lessons at Metropolis Music.
There are so many great places in Jersey City and there are many other great places that I did not mention!