T.R. Ludwig, CEO, Brooklyn SolarWorks

At a time when solar power is coming of age, he found a way to make it work on urban rooftops

T.R. Ludwig, founder and CEO of Brooklyn SolarWorks (Photo by Patrick Smith)

You can see the evidence poking out from New York City rooftops: metal canopies perched like hats atop brownstones commercial buildings. Solar power is booming here right now. And T.R. Ludwig, CEO and co-founder of Brooklyn SolarWorks, could see it coming. A longtime environmentalist and self-proclaimed “solar enthusiast,” Ludwig has been in the industry for more than a decade, beginning in sales for large companies, where he helped transform the market for both residential and commercial solar technology in the Northeast. Ludwig, a longtime Brooklyn resident, founded Brooklyn SolarWorks in 2015 with his longtime colleagues Gaelen McKee and Mark Cunningham with a specific mission: to tailor the solar revolution to Brooklyn’s particular needs. “The best way to engage is to do it at a local level,” Ludwig told us in our podcast (see link below). “There is this danger of trying to start thinking internationally or nationally about ‘How are we going to solve this problem?,’ [but] the reality is you’ve got to do it where you are.”

Based in Gowanus, Brooklyn SolarWorks specializes in the installation of solar canopies designed specifically to meet local regulations and urban building features like flat roofs. Ludwig sees the solar canopies as a built-in marketing campaign of sorts. At pivotal moment for renewable energy, he hopes that the canopies’ unique look will start more conversations about solar power and its benefits, including including the financing options that are available. Beyond its appeal to individuals, Ludwig notes that solar power has a beneficial effect on the city’s electric-power infrastructure. “The grid here in New York City–it’s old, it needs extra capacity,” Ludwig said. “Every solar system we put in it reduces the need to install a giant substation. Not to mention [New York] is a rich hunting ground from a psychographic perspective. A lot of people are very in-line with wanting to help save the planet.” Listen to our podcast below and read our earlier profile of Ludwig and his company here. By Kim Thornton