John Schaeffer started selling solar energy products and earth-friendly tools to his neighbors, and opened the first Real Goods store in Willits, California in 1978. By the 1990’s Real Goods was rapidly growing by presenting a clear message about the benefits of solar energy. In 2001 Schaeffer merged Real Goods with Gaiam Inc. which started the company’s growth into the national solar company it is today. In 2008 Real Goods separated from Gaiam and completed an initial public offering, Real Goods Solar Inc. is now traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol RGSE and does business as RGS Energy.
Real Goods Trading Company Opens
1978 John Schaeffer invested $3,000 of his savings along with a $5,000 loan from his father to open the first Real Goods store where he sold the first solar panels in retail at over $100/Watt.
First Source Book Printed
1982 First Solar Living Source Book is printed. The book was written as a one-stop information source for renewable energy and sustainable living.
Launched Mail Order Catalog
1986 John Schaeffer invested $3,000 to launch the first Real Goods mail order catalog. The 16 page catalog reached new customers and rejuvenated the company as a mail order business selling solar and sustainable living products.
Opened Solar Living Center
1996 Founded a nonprofit education institute called the Solar Living Institute with the mission of promoting sustainable living through inspirational environmental education.
Merged With Gaiam
2001 Real Goods, catalog and five brick and mortar stores merged with the sustainable lifestyle company Gaiam Inc. in a stock swap worth $8.7 million.
Launched Residential Division
2003 Launched the residential division in California and Colorado.
2008 On May 8, 2008, Real Goods completed an initial public offering as Real Goods Solar and raised $55 million. Through holding 100 percent of Real Goods’ Class B shares, Gaiam maintained control of Real Goods Solar.
Acquired Marin Solar, Carlson Solar, IES, Regrid Power
2007-2008 Acquired Marin Solar, Carlson Solar, IES, Regrid Power to expand the residential and commercial business and position Real Goods Solar as a major competitor in the growing solar business.
Acquired Alteris Renewables
2011 Real Goods Solar Merged with Alteris Renewables– became a major national solar company (Alteris was created from the merger of Solar works and Solarwrights in 2008). The Merger severed the Gaiam control.
New Headquarters In Louisville, CO
2012 Established new headquarters in Louisville Colorado and built up our Inside Sales, Engineering and Customer Service functions in one centralized location.
Surpassed 15,500 Installations/100+ MW
2013 Surpassed 15,500 installations/100+ MW of solar energy deployed since inception
Acquired Syndicated Solar
2013 Acquired assets from Syndicated Solar – provided entry into Missouri
Acquired Mercury Solar Systems
2014 Acquired Mercury Solar Systems and re-branded Real Goods Solar as RGS Energy.
2014 Acquired Sunetric – one of the largest and most established local solar developers and installers in Hawaii
Launched RGS Financing, Inc.
2014 Launched RGS Financing, Inc – began offering in house financing with Solar Leases and Power Purchase Agreements
Launched Strategy To Exit Utility Scale Commercial Business
2014 Launched strategy to exit utility scale commercial business to focus on core Residential, Small Commercial, Sunetric and Leasing businesses.
Awarded Several East Coast Solarize Programs
2015 Awarded several east coast solarize programs including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island – Spreading solar with a community focus
Expansion Into Maryland
2016 Expansion into Maryland. Maryland is one of the newest and fastest solar markets
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