Santo Alimo has technically been working for Lumina Solar since January, but his roots with the team go back nearly a decade.
“I have worked with most of these guys since 2011,” he says. That year, he started working at Astrum Solar, which was later acquired by what became Direct Energy Solar. A friend from Direct started Fusion Solar in 2017, and Alimo joined him when Direct Energy left the residential market. Lumina called up Fusion for installations, and a partnership was born. The two merged this year as a “solar powerhouse” under the Lumina name.
Today he is Quality Control & Safety Manager at Lumina, but when he started at Astrum, he didn’t set out looking for solar. Alimo, a Baltimore native, was driving a truck at the time, delivering appliances and maintenance products to commercial buildings in and around the Greater DC area.
“Honestly, I knew very little about solar,” he said. I was looking for a change of pace and a friend had asked if I was interested in a job working with him doing solar. He asked if I was afraid of heights and if I knew how to use power tools. I had worked with power tools before over the years and was not afraid of heights, but I had never been on a roof before. This was a big step from driving a truck all day!
“My very first roof I was on was a 40-degree pitched metal roof in the middle of summer. It was a rough, hot, and challenging first day, but it was all worth it when the job was complete and I got a chance to step back and take a look at what I had just helped build. It was a great feeling to see the happiness on the homeowners’ faces when the system was up and running, and the appreciation they had for us and for all of our hard work was very gratifying.”
Asked about this period, Alimo describes one installation that especially stands out for him, a job Fusion was doing for Lumina.
“On install day, upon arriving to the jobsite,” he says, “the customer seemed extremely happy and excited and could not stop talking about how great Lumina’s sales team and customer service were and that the experience he’d had up to that point had been stellar. In all the years that I have been in this industry, it is not often that the customer has had this type of experience before the actual install.”
Facing this, he says, “the pressure was on us. It was Fusion’s turn to knock it out of the park. Long story short, we crushed it!
“I could have chosen a thousand stories, but I chose this one because it shows the beginning of a beautiful partnership that was on the horizon between Lumina and Fusion Solar.”
Alimo’s career growth since then is nicely summed up with a story he tells about Unirac’s recently introduced Flashloc mount product:
“I worked in the field as an installer and crew lead for eight years before starting my new role. During this time, I found that one of the more difficult parts of our job was the process of prying shingles and installing flashing. I always found it odd that we would pry shingles, pop nails, install flashing, hammer the nails back in and seal everything you just did with roof caulk, all for one attachment. When you have a job that needs 100 to 200 attachments, this becomes very time-consuming. Also, I have always been a believer that most leaks that occur during the life of the system are not from the attachment itself but from the nail pops above the attachments that occur during the installation of the flashing. For years, I had hoped that someone would come up with a more efficient attachment that did not require any prying of shingles while still providing a leak-free install”, Alimo says.
“As part of my role as quality/safety manager, I was able to work alongside our director of operations to find a new, faster, and more efficient way to install our systems. After trying a few different roof-attachment options, Unirac Flashloc was the answer we were looking for. The Flashloc attachments provide us with a quality attachment that is versatile and efficient and super-easy to install. We really like the ‘all in one’ package that it comes in. And guess what else—no prying shingles!”
Alimo says that outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons. He’s also a huge sports fan and loves the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles. He plays competitive softball himself, golfing when he can, and also coaches his sons—particularly in baseball.
Teamwork and connection are themes he comes back to in describing what he loves about solar.
“I would say one of the big things that has kept me around in the solar game is the friendships,” he says. “The bond that you create with your team is something that is hard to match. For some of us, we spend more time out in the field with our coworkers than we do with our families. The stories, the challenges, and the laughs are something that I will cherish forever.”
This may be why Lumina on its website says, “We consider Santo to be the best solar installer on the East Coast, and his leadership acumen and skillset allow him to effectively mentor younger install teams.”
Unirac joins Lumina in celebrating installer heroes like Santo Alimo.
Lumina Solar, based in Baltimore, is a member of Unirac’s Certified Installer Program (CIP). You can learn more about the program here: https://unirac.com/certified-installer/.