Q&A with Trey Jarrard (AB ’93)
6/29/20: Renewvia continues to grow its work in Africa. Find out more on the company’s plans to expand in Kenya, Nigeria and all of Africa.
Trey Jarrard (AB ’93) is the CEO of Renewvia Energy. He founded Renewvia Energy in 2008 to develop solar power systems in financeable favorable regions across the United States. Under his leadership, the company expanded internationally in 2013 to develop utility-scale solar in Uruguay and then, hybrid and standalone solar photovoltaic and battery-powered microgrids in the Marianas Islands in 2016, Kenya in 2018 and Nigeria in 2019. Today, Renewvia operates under an expanded mission not only to add value to its U.S. clients, but also to improve the quality of life for people who live in power challenged areas while providing above market returns for investors.
Trey came to Athens recently to speak to several classes and tour campus. We asked him a few questions to find out more about what he does, his company and how his time at UGA shaped his professional path.
What made you want to start your own business? And why this particular business?
Opportunistic timing with target market. Specifically the activation of substantial commercial tax benefit for renewables in the US led me into the solar sector.
How did your time at the University of Georgia impact your professional and personal path?
Peer connections made at UGA directly introduced a unique track that would otherwise not have manifested in any form. One specific UGA connection changed my professional path completely from one sector over a short period of time that resulted in me identifying the current opportunity I am pursuing.
What is your favorite part of campus to revisit? What brings you back or keeps you connected to UGA?
The campus has grown so substantially over the last 25 years, some areas are difficult to recognize but old campus remains my favorite.
What are you most proud of professionally?
Being part of the initial funding of a large publicly traded company and starting an international company.
Many governments, non-profits, and individuals are working to create a more sustainable society and a more sustainable economy. Where do you see Renewvia fitting in to these efforts? What role can your work play in building a better future?
Renewvia is directly contributing to multiple governments in sub-Saharan to help solve poverty through provision of affordable and reliable sustainable power. Every solar microgrid Renewvia builds in Africa directly replaces a form of fossil fuel, disposable batteries or solid fuel, thus avoiding and reducing carbon emissions. Providing power in these communities directly impacts health, productivity, safety and gender equality. Improvements in each of these areas provides the people of these communities a critical element for improving quality of life in multiple forms.
If you could give one piece of advice to students, what would it be?
Meet as many people as you can, get to know them, learn from them and stay in touch.