How did you get started with solar energy?
I started my electrical career with a revelation. In 1989, while traveling through Australia, I realized that electricity was the key to humanity’s ability to thrive, and that learning to create it sustainably was the key to survival and the future. I received my degree in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont, about the same time as the Y2K phenomenon, and launched my career in the solar field.
What is your favorite part of working in the solar industry?
Being an apprentice was the best job I’ve ever had. I loved working with my hands and getting to know the trade. In 2006 I discovered Namasté Solar which offered a unique work experience. Its mission is to spread responsible use of solar energy, pioneer conscientious business practices and create holistic wealth for the company and its community. Solar was what first attracted me to Namasté Solar, and our culture and mission keep me here.
What has surprised you most about the solar industry in recent years?
Time and again, the industry has proven its resilience despite the many ups and downs we have faced, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertain future of the federal solar tax credit. One of our strengths is our adaptability, and the solar industry has proven time and time again that it doesn’t go anywhere.
What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?
We believe the solar industry will continue to grow and evolve, using programs such as the Federal Tax Credit. Public awareness of climate change is growing and will further stimulate interest in renewable energy. It finally becomes, I hope, a two-pronged issue. National wants to help consumers. As we grow, we promote more green jobs within the community and expand the community of customers and partners who have joined our mission to invest in clean energy.
How did you/your company stand out in the past year?
At Namasté Solar, we believe that the best investment we can make is in our people. While 2020 was a challenging year for many reasons, we learned that our people-centric approach works: when you take care of people, they take care of you. Our people came together in exceptional ways to navigate turbulent times. We’ve established a COVID Task Force to navigate change while implementing updates, policies, and best practices. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we offered additional unlimited sick time for recovery from COVID-19 and relentlessly pursued safety as a top priority for our employees and customers. By the end of the year, we had already exceeded our productivity expectations and our revised targets, despite quarantines.
We also restarted our community money giving program last year called Community Profit Sharing. Our co-owner voted to allocate 10% of net profit to our community stakeholder. Each year, these funds are given to organizations working for climate justice, environmental justice and improving our local communities. In 2020, Namasté Solar made over $75,000 in community donations. This included $48,494 to 10 organizations through the community profit-sharing program; $10,000 for Energy Outreach Colorado through our Keep the Lights On campaign; $2,000 to support Resource Central; $3,000 to The Alliance Center; and $12,000 to Cal-Wood Education Center to support them during the pandemic and 2020 fires that burned 10,113 acres and destroyed 26 buildings.
With our Keep the Lights on Colorado campaign, we donated $10,000 to Energy Outreach Colorado, a Denver-based nonprofit that will use the donation to provide community solar garden subscriptions (CSGs) to families across Colorado struggling to meet their utility bills. to pay. We then asked the business community in Colorado to join the campaign. Thirteen Colorado companies supported our campaign and together we raised $30,000, representing 120 families receiving a one-year CSG subscription. The plans provide long-term stability in the form of monthly bill credits that reduce the burden of home energy costs and free up dollars for other basic needs for these families — all while leveraging the cost-saving and environmental benefits of clean solar energy.
How do you help improve the industry?
We pride ourselves on being an employee-owned company and a Certified Benefit Corporation that strives to conduct its business in a way that works for all of its stakeholders. Our goal is to help transform businesses into a force for good in the world, not just for profit. I love working with my co-owners and enjoy the supportive environment we have created. Working as a team of owners ensures a high level of commitment and care, resulting in superior quality, time and money savings for our customers and partners, ultimately strengthening the communities in which we live and work.