New home for solar component provider
As Published in: San Francisco Business Times
To push research and development to the next level at Quick Mount PV, CEO Claudia Wentworth knew that her company needed to make a big move.
Wentworth’s Walnut Creek-based company, which designs and manufactures solar cell mounting systems, has evolved since its initial days as a general contracting business, which focused on green remodeling and new construction for 20 years before transforming into Quick Mount PV in 2006.
Wentworth said that Quick Mount evolved naturally from its early days of installing panels, to patenting and manufacturing solar mounts. The company left general contracting behind long ago and focuses on the manufacturing of roof mounts for solar, thermal and photovoltaic panels. In recent years, the demand has warranted a new space.
“We got a small business loan to help fund the purchase of property in Walnut Creek,” Wentworth said. “It allowed us to physically grow.”
The Walnut Creek property includes two buildings, one that is 89,900 square feet and another at 43,702 square feet, on 12 acres. Quick Mount, which started in Emeryville, moved into the larger building earlier this year with plans to sublease the smaller building. The move to Walnut Creek is the third move for Quick Mount, which left Emeryville for Concord in 2008, before searching for a larger space.
Quick Mount helped finance the deal with a U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan for $3 million that went toward the new property at 2700 Mitchell Drive, which the company purchased for $7.5 million.
Moving into a new space and securing an additional building to rent out has enabled Quick Mount to hire new talent and develop new products. Quick Mount now has 62 employees, up from 45 before the loan was granted.
Wentworth said the company has been able to put new products out on the market, such as a new roof mount system that doesn’t void the roofing manufacturers’ warranty, and a low slope mount that works with membrane roofs.
Located in the Shadelands business park, the new building includes office, lab, and research and development space. Formerly, the building housed Varian and then Agilent Technologies, two Bay Area companies with similar manufacturing needs as Quick Mount. Since there was no need to remodel, the company avoided spending money on improvements.
“We were able to hermit crab our way in,” Wentworth said.