TenneSEIA gives Lifetime Achievement Award to LWS Founder

Published October 20, 2017

TenneSEIA President Matt Beasley with LightWave Solar Founder, Steve Johnson

At their annual meeting in Nashville on October 18, the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA) presented their 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Steve Johnson, Founder of LightWave Solar. 

TenneSEIA is the state chapter for the national Solar Energy Industries Association. The mission of TenneSEIA is to make solar energy a mainstream energy source and realize the full potential of the solar industry in Tennessee. 

TenneSEIA President, Matt Beasley, presented the award to Steve, who was surrounded by TenneSEIA members, colleagues, friends and family.

Steve has contributed greatly to Tennessee’s solar industry because he is passionate about utilizing the most abundant resource available, sunlight, to generate clean electricity. Along with this passion, his contributions have risen from his intelligence, forward thinking, and long, hard work. 

Back in 2006 Steve designed and installed his first grid-tied solar system on his home. Later that year, he boldly switched his business from electrical contracting to 100% solar PV. On July 5, 2006, LightWave Solar Electric was born! 

Now, 11 years later, LightWave Solar is one of the most experienced EPCs in the country with over 700 PV systems installed, totaling more than 34MW. As a testament to his company’s growth, LightWave Solar recently commissioned a 3.9MW project – 1,000 times the system size of Steve’s first customer.

Steve helped pioneer Tennessee’s solar industry by training rigorously, achieving NABCEP certification (the 2nd in the state behind Thomas Tripp), and meeting the small but growing demand of early adopters in our state. Steve coordinated the first solar interconnections with over 40 local power companies in the TVA area.  He has worked with (and against) TVA to improve numerous solar programs including, Generation Partners, Green Power Providers, SSI, DSS and more.

As Steve’s business doubled in revenue and employees every year for the first 5 years, Steve lead solar advocacy as President of TSEA for one year, then as a charter member of TenneSEIA, of which he has helped lead for 7 years. In 2011 Steve co-founded the Amicus Solar Cooperative, the first purchasing cooperative in the U.S. solar industry. Amicus now has 43 member-owners across 28 states nationwide including Puerto Rico and Canada.

Steve’s list of awards and accomplishments is long and includes the recent ranking of LightWave Solar on Solar Power World Magazine’s 2017 Top 500 U.S. Solar Contractors list – No. 103.

Congratulations, Steve, and thank you for playing an instrumental role in growing solar energy and solar jobs across our region.

Steve with fellow TenneSEIA board members