20 Years of altE Store – Part I

First official logo of altE Store

From Antarctica to Zimbabwe

(and most places in between)


Join the altE Store team on a trip down memory lane, as we celebrate 20 years of Making Renewable Do-able!


Back In The Day

First official logo of altE StorealtE began in Maine in 1999 as The Alternative Energy Store. The company specialized in off-grid solar systems, as the grid-tied market hadn’t really developed yet. Most early customers lived in remote locations, like islands and mountainsides. Soon altE had international customers as well! In addition to solar and wind products, we used to sell composting toilets, solar hot water products, light tubes, attic fans, micro hydro products, and solar ovens.

In 2006, Inc. Magazine named us as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. We ranked 440th in their Inc. 500 List, for a three-year growth rate of 335%. We also made the Internet Retailer top 500 list in 2007 and 2008. Things have slowed down a little, but growth is steady!


Focus on Education

Second official logo of altE Store

altE has always been an educational resource for customers. Things really took off when we uploaded our first educational video to YouTube in 2007. Since then we’ve uploaded webinars, how-to’s, installation guides, product overviews,and more. Now we have almost six million views from over 200 countries, and over forty-thousand subscribers.

Banner for the first altE Solar Conference in 2012

In 2012 altE hosted its first Solar Conference. We had about 10-12 vendor partners support us at the event. This annual conference continues to grow each year, and today we have 20-22 industry-leading vendors in an expanded exhibit area. We also have over 30 hands-on training seminars and workshops – many of which qualify for NABCEP Continuing Education credits. The altE Solar Conference provides Installers an opportunity to see new products, and talk directly with some of the industry’s leading vendors and manufacturers.  (We also have a lot of FUN!)


Growing Up

Early on we moved a lot – five times in three years! Now we’ve settled down. Our last move was during the Summer of 2014, from Hudson, Mass to Boxborough, Mass. The larger office  space and warehouse let us handle ever-growing sale volumes.

Third and current official logo of altE StoreTwenty years in, our friendly and knowledgeable staff has helped over one hundred and twenty thousand customers design renewable energy systems, providing high quality brand names at reasonable prices. altE panels have summited Everest. We’ve sent a wind turbine system to Antarctica, and a solar-powered buoy to the Arctic. We’ve sold systems on every continent, and we plan to keep growing!


More To Come

In the coming months, we’ll post in-depth retrospectives on our first 20 years. We may even try an audio post. Future releases will include everything from stories about altE’s startup days to an analysis of market trends from then to now. Stay tuned – we have a lot to talk about!

About Author

Seth Lockman
Seth Lockman has communications experience in offshore wind, aerospace, and now the world of solar. His favorite punctuation mark is the interrobang. Outside of work he loves playing music, hiking, and sailing. See more of Seth Lockman's blog posts.