By Tricia Witkower
He·ro (noun) a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
When the Riviera Palm Springs experienced an electrical outage on June 4, the day of our original CV Weekly Music Awards, it seemed all hope might be lost. Thanks, in great part, to generous donors such as Vincent Battaglia (CEO and President at Renova Solar), we were able to reschedule the Awards Show and it went off without a hitch this time. So who is the man under the superhero cape? We sat down with Vincent and asked him twenty questions (more like twenty-eight) to get to know him better.
Vincent was born and raised in Oceanside, New York, but moved to Southern California in high school. As most do, he fell in love with the constant sunshine and never looked back. After attending undergrad at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Vincent received his MBA here in the desert at UCR Palm Desert. Vincent always had a passion for sustainability and conserving resources. In his own words, “It may sound corny, but I have a deep passion for open-source and free availability of renewable sources of energy generation. The positive impact on mankind and the planet of having limitless sun, wind, waves and more to satisfy all human need until the end of time drives my purpose to deliver solar solutions to my customers every day. No need to have wars over limited resources anymore. No need to live in the dark.”
Ever the visionary, Vincent insists that looking ahead and working to anticipate and lead, rather than getting bogged down in the day-to-day and end up following othersâ€™ leads is what keeps Renova on top in such a competitive business. This philosophy has served him well, as he was awarded Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year 2016 and Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Among other honors, Renova has been named Best of the Valley for the last three years, recently received the SunPower Customer Excellence Dealer of the Year out of 450 dealers nationwide, and has previously been named their Residential Dealer of the Year as well. Vincent attributes his strong work ethic to his father, who emigrated from Italy as a result of political and economic strife.
In talking to Vincent, it becomes clear immediately that the success his business has was born out of pure altruism more than anything else. Recalling the most exciting moment of his business career so far, he cites when Renova Solar hit 100 employees and he knew by this point that by starting this business he was positively affecting so many families and his company was going to be a success for that reason. On a more personal level, the most exciting personal moment has been publishing his first book “Cut the Cord,” a book that tells the history of solar and the bright tomorrow with battery storage in our lives. If you’re getting the impression that he eats, sleeps, and breathes solar. well, you’re not wrong. When asked what he would do if he decided not to be in the solar business anymore, he replied “Influence solar and battery storage policies for the greater good on a state and national level.” Or in other words, still work in solar.
In the rare moments he’s not thinking about solar or running one of Coachella Valley’s most successful companies, Vincent is going to events and supporting many local charities. When asked what his motivation is for giving and being charitable in his community, he shared that he feels very blessed to have achieved a comfortable level of success and enjoys being in a position to share and offer others a step up. He has many charities that are close to his heart and is too fair to pick just one. “There is so much need here that it would be hard to choose, but I love the change that solar is making in lives around the world -lighting up homes and villages, helping to provide clean water, even making sure medication that needs to be refrigerated can be transported to remote villages.” In his down time, he loves to do Bikram Yoga, resistance training and technical reading on energy, and of course he lists Renova Solar as his biggest hobby, proving the old adage, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” to be true. His persistence and determination drive his one-track-mindedness in his field, but there is more to him than that. We did a rapid-fire Q&A to get inside the mind and heart of this CV Music Awards hero:
What would people be surprised to know about Vincent?
That I tear up easily when people move me.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Italy – it’s where my family is from and has a special place in my heart. As it turns out, an ancestor of mine, Alessandro Battaglia, had the first patent for solar and storage in 1886 in Italy, so I guess it runs in the family!
What qualities do you look for in friends and business associates?
Enthusiasm and a willingness to have each other’s backs.
What are 5 things on your bucket list you have yet to do?
Expand Renova to other states and countries, sky-dive, live off-grid (Mycrogrid) on an island for a year, complete a full triathlon, become a father.
Favorite genre of music?
Tie: Classic Rock and EDM
Pink Floyd “The Wall”
The Godfather II
Favorite Local Restaurant?
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur/business person just starting out?
Surround yourself with the smartest people you can find who will be comfortable enough with themselves to tell you the truth. And hire only the BEST Attorney and Accountant.
What is your favorite motto or mantra?
Character is what you do when no one is looking.
Thank you again, Vincent, for your dedication and generosity to the CV Music Awards. To anyone in the Coachella Valley who doesn’t have solar yet, here’s the link: http://www.renovasolar.com/. What are you waiting for?