Daniel Sullivan Named San Diego's Irish Man of the Year

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Photo of Daniel Sullivan wearing hard hat and kneeling next to rooftop solar array with downtown San Diego in background

Nearly 16 years after founding Sullivan Solar Power, Daniel Sullivan has been recognized by the Irish Congress of Southern California as the 2020 San Diego Irish Man of the Year. As a native San Diegan with Irish ancestry and a vigorous supporter of Southern California's Irish community, the recognition is an honor. Mr. Sullivan will be recognized at the 40th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in San Diego on Saturday, March 14.

This year's theme at the San Diego St. Patrick's Day parade is “Irish Building America”, dedicated to the remembrance of Irish immigrants who came to the United States and worked to help build it into the beautiful prosperous country it is today. Daniel Sullivan's dedication to building San Diego's clean energy future is certainly in-line with this theme. “It is one of the greatest honors I have received to be recognized by the community I care so deeply about” said founder and President Daniel Sullivan. “I know that I was able to make the impact I have made in San Diego only because my Irish ancestors paved the way for me to be here today.”

Daniel Sullivan founded Sullivan Solar Power in 2004, with only $2,500 in the bank while living out of a client's garage. He was a journeyman electrician, who had dedicated his life up until that point in mastering his trade. In 2004 two important events occurred, one was the birth of his son Noah and the other was the United States' entry into the Iraq War. Inspired by the hope to create a secure future for his son, and understanding that much global conflict and suffering was over energy resources like oil, Daniel realized he could pave a better future for his son, San Diego, and the world through his trade. From that moment on he dedicated every moment to learning about solar power.

Similarly to his Irish forefathers before him, Daniel pulled himself up by the bootstraps and worked ceaselessly. He began teaching the first photovoltaic class at the San Diego Electrical Training Institute in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and founded his own company, working on every job himself. Since then, Sullivan Solar Power has become a landmark business in Southern California, installing nearly 9,000 solar power and energy storage systems in the region, including the largest solar power system in the MLB for Petco Park, the City of Chula Vista, Camp Pendleton, the Navy, UCSD, SDSU, UC Irvine and many more institutions, businesses and residential homes.

However it is Daniel's community legacy that he is most known for. A supporter of the San Diego St. Patrick's Day Parade for almost a decade, even winning “best float” several times, Daniel has been an active member of the Irish community. Beyond the Irish community's reach, he has developed partnerships with dozens of local organizations, including the Center for Children, Sierra Club, Climate Action Campaign and more, to help educate and support the local community's future in a clean energy world, freed from our reliance on the global fossil fuel industry.

“Our 'Irish Man of the Year,' Daniel Sullivan, has been a strong supporter of the St. Patrick's Day Parade and has contributed to our Program Book and the Irish Festival for many many years” said Thomas Cahill, the 2020 Parade Chairman from the Irish Congress of Southern California. “Our Parade honorees this year are centered around our Parade theme of the 'Irish Building America' and the construction industry. Dan is a perfect fit as not only does his solar construction company support 'Going Green' in our community, but also 'Going Green' in a big way on parade day.”

Southern Californians can join the full day of celebration at the St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 14. The full program includes a flag presentation at Balboa Park, with the parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. After the parade the Irish Festival will continue at Balboa Park and feature an authentic Irish food village, beer garden and craft booths. Residents can learn more at stpatsparade.org. To learn more about how Sullivan Solar Power gives back, including efforts with the Irish Congress of Southern California, visit our community support page.

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