Knoxville Business Leader Launches Solar and Renewable Energy Company

Ed Rottmann

As the former Chief Operating Officer at Stowers Machinery Corporation, East Tennessee’s Caterpillar equipment distributor for 60 years, Ed Rottmann may seem like an unlikely entrant to renewable energy leadership. But after 10 years of growing the family business, Rottmann brings a unique perspective and entrepreneurial acumen to his launch of Chroma Energy Group.

“Sustainability is an important consideration, and I try to bring a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to this venture,” Rottmann said. “Solar energy can increase energy reliability and work in tandem with lower-carbon fossil fuel and technology like natural gas engines as communities work toward decarbonization.

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Ed Rottmann

“The United States needs a reliable base load of carbon-free electricity, but we have to prioritize cost-effective solutions. Accomplishing this requires us to find a way to augment and diversify our existing energy infrastructure while promoting economic and workforce development.”

Chroma Energy Group acquired Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN), a full-service solar engineering, procurement and construction contractor that has operated from Knoxville for the past 14 years.

“I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Robbie Thomas and have Efficient Energy of Tennessee on board to launch Chroma Energy Group,” Rottmann said.

Under the leadership of president and owner Robbie Thomas, EETN established itself as trusted solar photovoltaic (PV) experts who provide general contracting services for utilities, government and industrial and commercial businesses across the southeastern and midwestern United States.

“I am proud of what we’ve built, our team and the impact we’ve had for our customers, this industry and the future of sustainability,” Thomas said. “As a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, this has been a dream realized. And now, the next chapter of the dream is seeing Ed take the reins and lead our outstanding team.

“Our people have always been our biggest asset, and he’s getting an excellent, quality-driven and hard-working group.”

Chroma Energy Group will hit the ground running by completing existing EETN projects and honoring upcoming commitments.

Rottmann plans to focus on solar installation but hasn’t ruled out future growth into additional renewable energy sources and products, including storage, sustainable fuels and other clean technology initiatives.

“I see the trajectory of the energy sector, and I’m excited,” Rottmann said. “We’re going to be adding new power sources, building on proven technology and creating the infrastructure that will serve future generations. I’m confident in what we are building and eager to explore its potential.”

Prior to joining Stowers Machinery Corporation, Rottmann worked as a financial analyst for Missile Defense Agency and as an account manager for NCR Corporation. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. Rottmann serves as president of the board for The Tennessee Theatre and as a board member for the Tennessee Road Builders Association. He resides in Knoxville with Lisa and their daughter, Natalie, and sons Gabe and Owen.