Florida installer hopes to leave lasting legacy on community through charitable causes
Of the many cultural virtues, kindness and charity would be associated with Florida installer Solar-Fit, no question. President Bill Gallagher started the company in 1975 and is still proud of everything Solar-Fit (No. 318 on the list of the best solar contractors of 2021) from the nearly 20,000 installed projects to the support for both the solar industry and the local community.
“We’ve been so lucky. We’re doing this for the 46th time. We’ve seen a low and we’ve seen the peak,” he said. best feeling knowing I have employees coming to work in new cars and they’ve bought houses because of Solar-Fit, that’s what drives you.”
Solar-Fit has expanded that community support to more causes, more recently with the Race to stop suicide initiative through the Daniel Dye charitable foundation, 71 MVP. Solar-Fit has committed $50,000 (or $500 per solar customer through the first half of 2021) to the initiative and plans to expand support in the future. Gallagher, who lost a friend to suicide, saw the need to support the Race to Stop Suicide initiative after seeing increased individual seclusion during COVID-19 lockdowns.
“You always have these thoughts, ‘What if I could have been there? Why couldn’t I do more?’” he said. “If we just open up, and people start talking and find out what they can do. We just want do something, we want to make a difference.”
The relationship between Solar-Fit and the Race to Stop Suicide blossomed thanks to their support of Dye’s racing efforts. Dye, a 17-year-old super late model driver well known in the Southeast and a rookie in the national ARCA Menards series, is a volunteer spokesperson for Halifax Health’s suicide prevention program at Florida Hospital and has donated more than $30,000 to the hospital through the charity of his family efforts. His cars, which are sponsored by Solar-Fit, also prominently broadcast Dye’s support for the Race to Stop Suicide.
“People have contacted Daniel and said things like, ‘I was in Pensacola and I saw your car. I thought about doing it, but it really got me thinking,” Gallagher said. “How can it get any better than that? When you talk about being able to give back and save someone, that’s what we’re all about.”
“I don’t want anyone to think we’re pushing the price up” [of a solar system] to do it. We are not,” he said. “We take money from our profits and put it into what we believe is a good cause.”
With more than four decades of business experience to ponder, Gallagher wants Solar-Fit’s legacy to continue as a virtuous member of the community.
“I look around at what is happening in Florida and I see this rapid expansion [of solar]. Not everyone will feel the way we feel,” Gallagher said. “But for the people who really want to [prove] they’ve done something that will affect a huge number of people…when someone commits suicide, it’s not just that person. It is all those people who have been left with the nagging thoughts. My suggestion is just to take the time to ask the questions, to give.
“It’s not something that makes you feel good to talk about, but once you talk about it, you think, ‘Maybe I can do something here,'” he added.
This story was featured exclusively in our Top Solar Contractors 2021 issue. Check out the issue and full list of the best solar installers in the US here.