The Power to Do Good
Aztec Solar Power gives back to the community
by Phil Gianficaro

At Aztec Solar Power, the mission is to warm hearts as well as homes.

“I believe we should always remember to give back to those in need,” says Jerry Wenger, a consultant for the King of Prussia-based company that’s the industry leader in residential and commercial solar applications in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. “That’s why we’re involved in so many charities. People are more important than money.”

While the most integral part of Aztec Solar Power’s business is the sun, located 93 million miles from Earth, the company remains well-grounded in what’s truly important. Its philanthropic arms embrace a diverse group that serves those in need.

Among the organizations and agencies that benefit from Aztec Solar Power’s caring philosophy are the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Philadelphia branch of Turning Points for Children, which provides assistance and programs to at-risk children and their families.

At the annual Southwest Airlines Plane Pull at Philadelphia International Airport, a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser at which teams compete to find out which can pull a Boeing 737 50 feet in the fastest time, Aztec Solar Power provides desserts for the competitors and organizers.

Aztec Solar Power also advertises in Philadelphia magazine’s House of the Year issue, in which 100 percent of the ad money is donated to Ronald McDonald House. Aztec also participates in the construction of the House of the Year, installing a solar system free of charge. When the house is sold, a percentage of the proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

“Ronald McDonald House is special to us because we have an employee on our sales staff that has a child that needs special care,” Wenger says. “When they needed a place to stay to be near their child in Philadelphia, the Ronald McDonald House put them up.
“This spirit of giving is ingrained in everybody at Aztec. The employees are a special bunch.”

Aztec Solar Power’s philanthropic endeavors also extend to the smallest community church.

“One of our employees belongs to a church that provides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches once a week to people who otherwise might go hungry,” Wenger says. “We provide the church with a case of peanut butter, a case of jelly and all the bread they need.
“Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches don’t sound like much. But I chose that because it’s something that won’t spoil right away and gives a lot of nourishment. People can make them, put them in a plastic bag and carry them around without worrying about them going bad.”

The sandwiches are particularly important for the church during the months outside of the holiday season.

“People are always in a giving mood in December,” Wenger says. “But some people forget about the rest of the year after that. We have to remember that people are hungry all the time.”

Aztec Solar Power is a growing company. Earlier this year it opened sales branches in Florida, and plans to expand business to South America. According to a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer in May, total sales have reached $3 million, with another $10 million in business under contract.

But despite its growth, the solar power company continues to extend its giving hands. Aztec supports the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides awareness and services to seriously injured servicemen and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Case in point: Marine Corps. Sgt. Harold Court of York, Pa., was seriously wounded in the war in Iraq when his Humvee was struck by a bomb. Aztec is planning to install a solar system in his home free of charge.

“These are the people who deserve our help,” Wenger says. “He served our country and was wounded. This is a man who has a wife and a couple of kids, one with autism. He shouldn’t have to struggle from time to time to play his electric bill. Now, with the solar system, he won’t have to.”

Aztec plans to provide a Wounded Warrior with a free solar system each year.
“That system would cost between $25,000 and $30,000,” Wenger says. “But that’s OK. It’s just our way of giving back.”

So just where did this sense of benevolence in Wenger originate? It finds its roots with his father, who worked in the marketing department at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“He was a great guy who got me involved at a young age in raising money for families who lost fathers and husbands in the fire and police departments,” Wenger says. “He showed me that people need to worry about other people. I’ve never forgotten that.”

Call Aztec Solar Power for a free consultation, and find out how you can start saving money on your electricity bills.

Aztec Solar Power

Phil Gianficaro is an award-winning writer based in Doylestown.