Inside Columbia


The Face of Solar

By Inside Columbia
Dogwood Solar

For Dan Shifley, working in the solar energy field allows him to solve problems every day. As the owner of Dogwood Solar, Shifley is able to assist people with high energy bills who want to improve our environment. “We get to help solve these problems, and it is gratifying,” he says. “Clients are excited to talk about solar and what it can do for them.”

Shifley founded Dogwood Solar in January 2010 to promote solar energy alternatives and provide both homeowners and business owners with sustainable options. “I love that we can put equipment outside in the sun to create energy,” he says, noting the self-reliance and technology that go into solar projects. “It ranges from super simple, like charging a phone, to complex, like powering an entire neighborhood with solar and batteries without a utility connection.”

Shifley says the solar industry is poised for tremendous growth over the next five years, noting that the federal tax credit for solar projects was increased and extended in August 2022. That move only further helps homeowners and business owners to see a great return on their investment. Plus, he says, the credit is now available to nonprofits, which receive a check for 30% of the total project cost. Shifley says he also is seeing an increase in electric vehicle charging station installations at homes and businesses.

Shifley says one of the more memorable projects he’s worked on was for Boone County Lumber, where Dogwood Solar made installations on two buildings and lighting upgrades in six buildings. “It was a fast-paced project to complete in their fiscal year,” he says. “However, they were great to work with. The result was a happy client saving money and making a difference in the environment.”

Throughout his years working in the solar energy field, Shifley says he’s learned a few valuable lessons. “Always check your multimeter before testing,” he says. “Ask questions until you understand what a client wants. And zero pressure, consultative sales processes are valuable for my clients and me.”

Outside of work, Shifley is committed to serving in Columbia and abroad, supporting Habitat for Humanity, Be The Change Volunteers and Global First Responder, a nonprofit that seeks to improve humanity worldwide through mission trips that focus on health care delivery, health education and improvements in community infrastructure. Shifley’s first trip with Global First Responder was in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane that devastated portions of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, in 2017. “The devastation and destruction were immense,” Shifley recalls. “However, helping people in the aftermath was incredibly rewarding, and I met wonderful people. That trip permanently changed my mind about what is truly important.”

Working with organizations like Global First Responder also allows Shifley the opportunity to come that much closer to achieving his personal goal of installing solar on every continent. “It doesn’t have to be a large installation, but I want to experience solar everywhere,” he says. “I love to travel.”

At home, Shifley describes himself as “a proud girl-dad” with three daughters he shares with his wife, Maigan. And he has one key piece of advice to share: “Be kind, be interested and do what you love,” Shifley says. “We have one planet we call home, and I’d love to see us all thrive.”


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