Astrum Solar

  www.astrumsolar.com
  www.astrumsolar.com

Astrum Solar Reviews

Updated September 28, 2014
Updated September 28, 2014
14 Reviews
3.8
14 Reviews
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Vadim Polikov
8 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great, young, rapidly expanding Solar company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Solar Systems Designer in Hopkinton, MA
    Current Employee - Solar Systems Designer in Hopkinton, MA

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Consistent 40 hour work week with overtime opportunities, as much work as you're willing to do, you can rise through the ranks as fast or slow as you want as long as you work hard and do a good job, great culture of nice, knowledgeable and young staff, respectful office environment and opportunity to conduct field and office work.

    Cons

    Overtime and expense form have long lag time after work completed to money deposited, some days are long and hot up on the roof, some upper management is hard to get in touch with but for good reason as busy always expanding territory.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you're doing and never forget your employees on every level of the company ladder are the back bone.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    What is the secret sauce?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA
    Former Employee - Systems Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA

    I worked at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    People were very relaxed and easy to get along with. Everyone was a phone call or email away if I ever had any questions, unless they elect not to respond after 5:00 p.m.

    System Design Specialist (surveyor) is a good entry-level position for people with little or no solar background.

    Surveyors do get promoted eventually. I recall seeing two of my coworkers getting promoted to different roles within the company: one became a sales consultant after 3 years as a System Design Specialist and the other became a Solar Engineer I after 2 years.

    The Regional Sales Manager in MA goes way out of his way to encourage surveyors and create a better environment for them. Senior Manager of System Designs told me no when I asked if I could attend a solar conference; Regional Sales Manager of MA told me to come talk to him directly next time I see a similar opportunity. He's just more personable and resourceful. He's one of the few people that made me think twice about leaving this company sooner.

    Cons

    My experience and opinion come from being a System Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA office from Feb to Sep of 2014, so this may not apply to everyone and everything. Please read it with a grain of salt. None of the items are new--they are all existing problems that the company has heard from multiple past surveyors.

    Astrum Solar feels like a company run by a group of sales consultants who just happen to sell solar systems, not by a group of people who are knowledgeable and/or passionate about green energy. There are some, just not as many as I hope there would be in a solar company. As Astrum Solar becomes a part of Direct Energy and plans to increase in size, I'm afraid it will lose the personal touch that comes with being a small company. More resources will be allocated to hire more people and automate processes. So.. inevitably, Astrum Solar will try to do what SolarCity, Sun Run, and other solar companies do, just differently enough to avoid legal troubles..?

    Astrum Solar really needs a separate department for the surveyors, in which surveyors report to one manager, not three. Scheduling can be more efficient and preferably done by someone with surveying background. The sales coordinators really deserve managerial positions and/or at least a raise. Imagine how much they have to put up with once Astrum Solar really doubles in size, aka 70+ surveyors. I would pay not to be in their shoes, as would anyone who reads this review.

    Frequent feedback is essential to monitoring the efficiency and quality of surveys and designs. Having one manager and two senior surveyors from coast to coast is not enough. There has to be a senior surveyor/designer per branch location. Having the physical presence of a local senior member is beneficial on so many levels. The Senior Manager of System Designs feels like an online class professor: available through phone and emails only because he's 3,000 miles away and 3 hours behind. I can only imagine how busy he is, but he is busy from 3,000 miles away and 3 hours behind.

    I have come across dozens of surveys and designs in which I would have to re-visit the property or fix designs that are done by other surveyors. If sale is made, it goes under the original surveyor's name. It's teamwork if it happens once or twice; this is a common practice that has been going on for years. This created an environment in which surveyors are better off doing the best they can to avoid getting on steeper surfaces and just complete as many designs as possible because someone else will climb it. This is the kind of environment in which you'll be more successful if you just get molded into a certain idea of surveyor, rather than constantly pushing yourself to do more.

    As of September 2014, surveyors are still not required to tie in after getting on roofs. The company is probably looking to get by without implementing it for as long as possible, probably until someone actually falls and gets hurt.

    Minimum wage is $15 in some places. I believe surveyors deserve more than flipping burgers or deep frying french fries. Wish all the remaining surveyors at Astrum Solar best of luck. Don't fall. Take care of yourselves. During the exit interview, I was told a bunch stuff about how things are going to get better soon, none with dates. Hope it's because all of them are already happening.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Congratulations on getting acquired by Direct Energy. Some say 3 out of 4 start ups fail, so clearly you guys know what you're doing and have some smart people working with you. Please facilitate in creating a separate department for System Design Specialists (surveyors) ASAP. Senior Manager of System Designs (or the sales manager of CA? What exactly is he now?) really needs a new phone. My exit interview was conducted over the phone and the line dropped more than seven times in 30-45 minutes.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Astrum Solar Response

    Oct 25, 2014Talent Acquisition Representative

    Thank you for your constructive feedback and time and hard work you contributed with Astrum Solar as a System Designer. We value our employees as our most important resource and are always looking ... More

  3.  

    Astrum Solar is a great company that really strives to put themselves at the top of the industry.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA
    Current Employee - Systems Design Specialist in Hopkinton, MA

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Everyone here is really friendly and goes out of their way to help you succeed in your role at the company. Everyone also has a great sense of humor, which can be really relieving in a sometimes stressful industry such as this, however, everyone here at Astrum also is very serious about their work. This is definitely a company that demands a lot from their employees, but in return, we all get to work for a highly successful company which has unlimited growth potential.

    Cons

    There is definitely not much room for slack or failure here, which might be considered by some as a Con. Also, I think the compensation for System Designers could be a little higher considering the potentially dangerous nature of their position. I think there could also be more room for growth in the company for people in the design sector, because as of now there isn't really another level to advance to past System Design Specialist.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As i mentioned earlier, it would be nice if Designers could have a little more compensation for the work that they are doing up on the roofs. It would also be nice if there were more positions to advance to for those who stay longer in the company.

    I also think that Astrum could do a better job of having standards for communication across the web that is salesforce. For instance, it's very frustrating as a designer when I'm looking up my meetings for my survey days, and as I'm checking the notes that the sales people have left about the property owners I often times see that they leave out a phone number for the person. So, that means I have to take extra time to navigate through to the original account page to find their phone number. A lot of time could be saved on our end if the people inputing those leads could always follow the same template and do so with detailed information to help make our jobs as designers just a little easier.

    I also have noticed a lot of inefficiencies with salesforce when I'm creating my designs and surveys. First off being the fact that we cannot delete surveys or designs that have been previously created. That makes no sense to me. A lot of time a design is created by accident and cannot be deleted, so it just exists on the property page and confuses everyone else.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great vision but need satisfied employees to continue carrying premier customer experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Lead
    Current Employee - Project Lead

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fast growing company in a fast growing industry. A lot of the people that work at Astrum are friendly and have great ideas on how to grow as company/industry. Astrum was just purchased by the very large energy retail and services company Direct Energy so the futures looks even brighter.

    Cons

    Biggest CON is compensation, employees are not compensated enough for the amount of time they put into the rapidly growing company, whether through salary or poorly designed bonus programs it just doesn't add up. This should change with the influx of money coming from Direct Energy. Hoping the weak benefits/vacation packages will change for the better too.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    "Premier customer experience" can only be achieved when also producing a Premier Employee Experience

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    High expectations, low delivery.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I really like the people in my department, but the work itself is a little blase. Interesting field to learn about, especially given my educational background in environmental sciences.

    Cons

    Would have been nice to have been given a little more responsibility, especially since I was hired with the expectation of doing more over time. Pretty poor communication and constant worry over whether we would get paid the amount we were promised was a little disconcerting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow us to do more, trust the smart people you have hired to give input and communicate up the chain of command to help fix problems along the line.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Astrum Solar Response

    May 14, 2014Talent Acquisition Representative

    Thank you for the valuable input.

    We strive to provide meaningful career and project growth opportunities to those that are proactive in seeking more out of their current roles.

    As a part of
    ... More

  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    A dynamic growth scenario, with vast opportunity for "doers" and "can-do" professionals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    I've recently played an active role in quadrupling the size of our Inside Sales team in under two months.

    I was given the strategic input necessary from senior leadership, but also given the reigns to innovate and execute autonomously.

    It's been a hugely satisfying accomplishment and it has been recognized by senior leadership appropriately.

    It makes me extremely excited about future growth prospects moving forward, and I've enjoyed the challenges profusely thus far.

    The future growth prospects for Astrum Solar are truly inspiring.

    Cons

    As I'm somewhat new to the company, I don't really feel there are glaring "cons" to speak of.

    However, I believe there are opportunities for optimized company-wide communication from our senior-most leadership.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to communicate with the entire team, and deliver transparent communication (both good and bad) to the entire team on a more frequent basis.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Awesome company and culture with very good opportunities for growth and development!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Consultant in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Consultant in Annapolis Junction, MD

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Very good opportunities for growth and development.
    - Unique blend of autonomy and teamwork creating both ownership of and collaboration on lead development and sales.
    - Friendly, accepting, relaxed culture. I think it works out this way because although there are a variety of different people at Astrum Solar, it is pretty apparent that everyone values hard work and the reputation of excellence we've earned.
    - Clear expectations.
    - Respect regardless of position.

    Cons

    I don't have one to list at the moment actually.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I appreciate all you do to make Astrum Solar an excellent place to work. It's the first time I've worked for a company that means it when they say it,

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Astrum Solar Response

    May 14, 2014Talent Acquisition Representative

    Thanks for your encouraging review and we will continue to strive to be an exciting, successful, and transparent workplace.

  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Disastrously executed processes

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Astrum Solar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Growing industry with great potential growth. Rank and file employees all perform admirably and seem focused on the task at hand

    Cons

    Management seems deluded into believing they understand the market place. Senior management does not want an open dialogue seemingly for fear that they will be deemed wrong. Very little communication, management isolates themselves

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Accept that you do not have all of the answers and accept that other companies execute far better in the market and seek to emulate their success.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Astrum Solar Response

    Apr 23, 2014Talent Acquisition Representative

    Thanks for sharing your review with us. We share similar reviews with the appropriate team members as a learning opportunity as we continue to evolve as a company.

    Senior management will continue
    ... More

  10.  

    Talented, Motivated, and Customer-Dedicated Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Astrum is a rapidly growing company in the exciting renewable energy industry. The company's focus on residential solar systems means everyone is dedicated to customer satisfaction. No matter the circumstances, Astrum does right by its customers. This customer-centric outlook promotes a positive customer service attitude among employees.

    The company founders and executives have successfully established a culture that values hiring candidates who are independent, driven, and bright. The start-up atmosphere means there is opportunity to take on whatever challenges you wish and find plenty of room to grow and learn.

    The renewable energy industry, particularly in small-scale distributed generation, is fluid and growing. Working at Astrum means constantly getting to learn new and interesting aspects of the industry and how to best take advantage of them.

    Cons

    Though Astrum has not been the size of a start-up for more than a year, the company has not established a culture of effective management, employee development, or strategic planning and execution. Frustration and confusion due to lack of communication and accountability is widespread and contributes to what is at times a negative atmosphere. Though the company is very good at hiring talented employees, it is bad at further developing their skills and talents and supporting transitions into positions of leadership and management. If there is a strategy, it is not communicated. Instead the company often feels as if it is careening from one crisis to the next. Compensation and benefits are sub-par.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior management should establish a strategic vision and communicate it across the company. An empowered middle management should focus on accomplishing its portion of that overall vision. Management should also focus on employee development and growth. Significantly improve compensation and benefits.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Dynamic, quickly growing company with smart, caring people and a great product

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Lead
    Current Employee - Project Lead

    I have been working at Astrum Solar full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - The people are great. Its really nice to work with coworkers who are hard working, care about their jobs, and help each other out
    -The company and industry is growing very quickly so there is lots of excitement and growth potential
    - The company is very focused on serving the customer well. Company philosophy is to do things the right way and customers really like that
    -Management is good at taking feedback and providing tools for employees to use to make their jobs better
    - Stock options for every employee

    Cons

    - State agencies and panel manufacturers are constantly changing their protocols and products so there is a lot of work to keep up
    - Customers are homeowners and some can be a real pain
    -Upper management doesn't communicate as often as they could (but generally run the company well)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have more company calls to share the company strategy and growth plans

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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