Living: Power producing

Former UTA man reps solar energy

Working at a Hollywood agency may be a super-charged experience, but one ex-bizzer is getting a bigger jolt out of his new job.

After seven years at UTA as head of operations, Roby Pettit decided to turn to a higher power — the sun.

He now sells and installs solar energy systems via Brentwood-based PermaCity.

“I wanted to get outside,” he says with his affable Texas drawl and a wink. “I’m a power producer now — only it’s not a movie and I don’t have to worry about the backend or whether we’re going to make any money on opening day.”

His Hollywood connections come in handy. He’s been discussing solar options with producer and former UTA agent Marty Bowen, who’s also an old Texas school chum. Others looking into going solar are Joaquin Phoenix, Jimmy Kimmel, Mario Van Peebles, and most of the producers behind “An Inconvenient Truth” — Lawrence Bender, Scott Burns, Laurie David and Lesley Chilcott.

Meanwhile, PermaCity, which puts the cost of installing solar at roughly $10,000 a kilowatt (before significant rebates), is currently powering up the Bel Air estates of a wind farm billionaire and a major studio honcho (who preferred not to be named).

Looking down on Los Angeles off of the studio chieftain’s residence the other day, Pettit says, “I saw so many flat roofs with the sun beating down on them. I’m not saying it’s a gold mine, but look at the opportunity.”

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