A Man With a Motive



Pave your own trail by taking the road less traveled by…

-Utility Associate: “You have two options sir, pay your bill or don’t pay it”

-Steve Erby: “If I don’t pay, you’ll turn my power off”

-Utility Associate: “Exactly”

After one man noticed that his utility bill had been continuously increasing each month with no obvious explanation, he called his utility company to get some clarification. Except he didn’t get clarification, he got something better. He got a motive to find an alternative source of energy for him and his family so they didn’t have to continue to pay into this monopoly. He turned his blazing obsession to outsmart the utilities into an astonishing passion to share with the world, which ultimately became an extraordinary example of success.

In 2009, Monolith Solar Associates, LLC was born.  The two founders, Mark Fobare and Steve Erby– one a Niskayuna-native, the other a US Army veteran– started the company out of a garage operation in East Greenbush, NY. Since then Monolith Solar has grown to be one of the most successful solar firms in New York State. Both Mark and Steve met through Hudson Valley Community College’s solar program. Mark has a background in engineering, while Steve’s background is in sales. Together they formed an unstoppable team.


From left to right: Steve and Mark. Photo credit: Donna-Abbott-Vlahos.
A photo of Steves house. This is the first solar system they ever installed and this is where the company started.
A photo of Steves house. This is the first solar system they ever installed and this is where they started the company out of.

To date, Monolith Solar has installed more than 530 distinct solar PV projects for commercial and residential clients and they don’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, Monolith is expected to double in size in just one year! This means they will be growing from ~60 employees to ~120 employees.

Monolith Solar associates at one of the company’s solar farms, Schenectady, NY.

This is an extraordinary example of how you should always try something. For some of you, you may already know what it is that you want or need to try, and for others you may have no idea yet and that’s ok too. Both Steve and Mark were in their mid forties when they founded Monolith Solar. So if you think it’s too late for you, you’re wrong.  What sometimes starts off as a mere imagination turns into a life changing endeavor. If Steve did not fight to reduce his energy costs and just gave in to the utility like so many of us do, he may not have become obsessed wth solar energy, he probably never would have met Mark and Monolith Solar would most likely not exist today.

What you need to keep in mind is that this was by no means an easy ride for Mark or Steve. In fact, they fight for their company and its growth every single day with the utilities whose main motive seems to be to halt their progress. They also have a lot of people rooting against them who just want to see them fail, some local, some national.

Check out this video here: The Secret Dirty War on Solar

But it’s important to remember that being defeated is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent. So what’s your motive? What do you want your story to be? It certainty does not have to be as extravagant as this, but I hope you realize that you can make it whatever you want. If you set your mind to something, you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish. Whether your legacy is a solar company that is changing the world, or it’s simply sharing your journey as you travel the world, its your journey, your happiness, your life, so make it worth living, and above all, try something.

Please email us at abovall.trysomething1@gmail.com or tweet us with your story and maybe we will feature it on our site! – JC

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