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St. Louis-based firms Azimuth Energy, Aschinger Electric launch solar-focused joint venture

Two St. Louis-based companies, Azimuth Energy and Aschinger Electric Co., said Tuesday they’ve inked an agreement to form a joint venture focused on expanding their footprint in the solar energy sector.

The two firms said the new partnership will focus on bidding on and building utility scale and commercial solar projects. The agreement is the “first of its kind in the St. Louis region between a solar engineering and construction firm and an electric contractor,” officials said.

Azimuth, a solar engineering and construction firm, and Aschinger aren’t strangers to each other. The companies have previously worked on nearly 100 solar engineering projects dating back to 2009. Their relationship began as a prime and subcontractor arrangement before becoming more formalized, said Azimuth President Marc Lopata.

“About two years ago, we started structuring our projects as joint ventures so that we could be more competitive and efficient. Then, about six months ago, we decided to join forces on a company basis rather than a project basis,” he said.

The two companies said their partnership will provide them with the ability to more competitively bid on projects and to operate more efficiently by reducing costs and sharing resources.

“In the renewable energy field, you find that a lot of companies are engineering only and hiring out construction or the other way around — they are only constructing but not developing or engineering projects,” said Aschinger President Emily Martin. “To have both of those capabilities with one team allows us to be more competitive and react more quickly to the market. We see a lot of growth in this market coming forward in the next 10 years for certain, but even over the next 30.”

Azimuth and Aschinger will operate out of adjacent office spaces in Fenton.

“We look forward to working even more closely with Aschinger and parlaying our strengths to better serve the community and region,” said Lopata. “I am particularly excited to have Mike Seger aboard as vice president of renewable energy for Aschinger Electric. Mike and I have built hundreds of solar-energy projects together, like the solar roof of the Moonrise Hotel, and Mike is one of the most capable professionals in the industry.”

Azimuth has 12 employees. Clayton-based private equity firm Oakland Capital Partners in 2019 made a majority investment in the energy firm. Aschinger has about 170 employees and is among St. Louis’ largest women-owned companies. It had revenue of $56 million in 2019.