Pay Less For Power.


We offer a simple way for people to save every day.

Solar Universe is the smart energy choice. We make solar energy easy and handle everything from design to financing to installation. We’ve developed a unique solar franchise network which brings energy savings to consumers and businesses through our network of locally owned and operated franchises. Solar Universe is changing the face of the solar industry by giving customers a local choice to produce their own more affordable power for their homes and businesses. Since it was founded in 2008 by CEO Joe Bono, Solar Universe has been revolutionizing the solar market by matching innovative technology with customer needs. Forbes recently described Solar Universe as “Silicon Valley meets clean tech, with the consumer in mind.”

Meet our team

  • Joseph Bono - Founder and Chief Executive Officer

    Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Bono, has been applying his leadership and strategic knowledge at Solar Universe since January 2008. Bono has had the privilege of working in several successful business ventures and brings his diverse background in software, consumer lending, construction and franchising to Solar Universe. Prior to his career in the solar industry, Bono was a DRE licensed broker where he funded hundreds of new home purchases and construction builds from 2003 to 2007. He was also the owner and franchisee of two Bay Area Quiznos franchises, one in San Francisco and one in Walnut Creek, Ca. from October 2002 through August 2005. In his first career, from 1996 to 2002, Bono worked as a software consultant for KPMG Consulting based in Palo Alto, successfully started his own consulting business, ICSG Consulting based in San Francisco, and further worked for a venture backed mobile startup ViaFone, based in Redwood Shores. Bono earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied economics and computer science.

  • Joe Miller - EVP of Marketing and Strategy

    Mr. Miller heads our consumer facing marketing, sales and network development efforts. Miller and his team are focused on driving revenue and expanding the Solar Universe network while creating a branded experience for our customers. Prior to working for Solar Universe, Mr. Miller was SVP of Consumer Marketing and Sales for TiVo. As an early employee Miller led the companies go-to market strategy, created distribution and helped turn TiVo into a household brand. Before TiVo, Miller was a pre-market launch employee for (USSB) DIRECTV driving early sales and marketing strategies. Miller has also held key management positions at Cox Satellite, leading consumer sales and marketing efforts.

  • Michael D. Mahre - Chief Operating Officer

    Our Chief Operating Officer, Michael Mahre, has over 20 years experience in operations, finance, strategy and M&A including significant experience in materials distribution and construction management for the homebuilding industry. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Mahre was engaged in developing investment opportunities in energy and renewables for Devonshire Investors and then from 2010 to 2012 he served as Senior VP of Corporate Development for Devonshire's portfolio company, ProBuild, a 500-unit building materials dealer. From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Mahre worked for publicly traded Building Materials Holding Corp as Senior VP of Corporate Development and then as CEO of its wholly owned subsidiary, SelectBuild, a multi-billion dollar construction services business. Prior to 1999, Mr. Mahre financed leveraged buyouts for Citibank. He is also an investor with lower middle market private equity firms. Mr. Mahre was a nuclear engineer and submarine officer in the Navy. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Academy and MBA from Stanford.

  • Matt Hutchinson - Vice President of Sales

    Mr. Hutchinson leads our sales efforts focused on driving revenue and expanding our sales coverage across the U.S. via our Franchise partner network and extended sales teams. Hutchinson and his team are focused on developing pragmatic Go-To-Market strategies that drive growth in targeted high-value solar markets. Hutchinson has over 20 years of high-tech sales and marketing experience. He has held executive positions at Hewlett Packard, MegaPath Inc., 8x8 Inc., Logitech, Clarity and HJN Telecom. Hutchinson has ignited growth at a variety of technology companies by developing and implementing high-impact sales and Go-To-Market strategies. Most notably, Hutchinson drove significant growth during his tenure at HP Networking moving the company from #5 to #2 in the Americas LAN Networking space. Hutchinson holds a BA in International Relations from Syracuse University and MBA with a concentration in Technology Management from The University of New Mexico.

  • Chadwick T. Forrest - Vice President of Finance

    Mr. Forrest has led Solar Universe Finance since December 2012. Prior to joining Solar Universe, he served as Director of FP&A for Blinkx, Inc. from 2011 and held the same position at Triformix, Inc. from 2009. From 2005 to 2009, he was VP of Acquisitions and Finance for Heisman Properties where he oversaw project underwriting, development and financing. From 2001 to 2005, he was a Principal at Regent Pacific Management Corp, where he worked on multiple tech and Internet projects assisting clients with process improvement, restructuring and financing. Mr. Forrest holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA.

  • Tom Harper - Vice President of Supply Chain and Field Operations

    Mr. Harper heads our supply chain field operations efforts. Harper and his team are focused on getting the lowest landed cost of materials to the Solar Universe network while reducing installation times for our customers. Prior to working for Solar Universe, Mr. Harper was Vice President of Supply Chain for ProBuild Holdings, the largest building material distributor in the United States. In this role, Harper helped centralize purchasing and supply chain operations for over 400 locations. Before ProBuild, Harper held key leadership roles with US Build and Richmond American Homes where he focused on supply chain and labor efficiency. Harper began his career as a logistics officer in the United States Army.

  • Stephen M. Schmidt - Vice President of Corporate Development

    Mr. Schmidt has been our Vice President of Corporate Development since July 2012. Mr. Schmidt was a corporate and securities lawyer with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati in Palo Alto for 8 years, representing numerous technology companies in all aspects of their businesses, from start-ups and acquisitions to the Initial Public Offering stage and beyond. Before Wilson, Mr. Schmidt was a corporate lawyer working on leveraged buyouts with Winston Strawn in New York. Mr. Schmidt graduated from Dartmouth College with an A.B. in History and Religion, and graduated from Northwestern University School of Law with a J.D. Mr. Schmidt is licensed to practice law in New York and California.

In the News

Press Releases

November 25, 2014

Solar Universe Puts Power On Sale With The Industry's First Ever "Bright Friday"

Solar Universe, the leader in solar franchising announced the industry’s first-ever Black Friday sale on power. Read more >

May 13, 2014

Solar Universe Launches New Franchises in Seven Key Solar Markets to Continue Exponential Growth

Solar Universe Launches New Franchises in Seven Key Solar Markets to Continue Exponential Growth. Read more >

April 02, 2014

Solar Universe Partners With GHS Interactive Security, LLC. to Make Smart Home Automation More Energy-Efficient

Solar Universe partners with GHS Interactive Security to make it easier to lower overall home energy costs and allow users to smartly manage their homes. Read more >

December 19, 2013

Solar Universe Exceeds Growth Expectations Capping Off Successful 2013 Year

Key Acquisitions and an Increase in Franchise Offices Across the Country Lead to Impressive Year for Bay Area Company. Read more >

October 2, 2013

Solar Universe Expands Reach Throughout East Coast with New Franchises

Leading solar provider announces two new locally-owned and operated businesses in New Jersey and New York. Read more >

September 5, 2013

Solar Universe Becomes Top Player in Solar Industry with Acquisition of Gen110

Acquisition Equips Solar Universe with the Ability to Reach Potential and Existing Customers in Multiple Ways to Drive Growth in New Franchise Markets. Read more >

June 05, 2013

Solar Universe Announces New Online Design Center to Meet Growing Demand for Improved Solar Shopping Experience

Leading solar provider develops seamless estimate and design process for consumers. Read more >

May 30, 2013

Solar Universe Names Elton Hart as New Vice President of Sales

Former Comcast Director of Field Sales Will Help Foster Solar Universe’s Presence in Communities. Read more >

May 22, 2013

Solar Universe Announces Franchise Expansion in Key Solar Markets Across the United States in Boston, Denver and Northern California

Leading solar provider announces three new locally-owned and operated businesses in Boston, Denver and Northern California. Read more >

May 1, 2013

Solar Universe Enters International Market and Debuts First Franchise in Puerto Rico

The leading U.S. solar company opens its doors in Puerto Rico, offering a critical energy solution for the economically emergent island. Read more >