Aug 28, 2016

Coffee Conversation about Asheville Solar

On August 12, I was down in Asheville, NC visiting my brother and sister-in-law. While they were finishing up their Fridays at work, I met with one of their guitar-playing, Ultimate Frisbee friends. He works for a solar company that installs panels for homes and businesses around North Carolina.

We spoke for an hour in the Green Sage Cafe (downtown Asheville). We covered everything from the company's history to Power Purchase Agreements to how North and South Carolina compare on solar.

My coffee date was extremely knowledgeable--he's been with his company for 5 years--and taught me a lot about the ins and outs of the solar industry in North Carolina.

We focused particularly on how business ebbs and flows with legislation. A couple years ago, I read that North Carolina was third in the country for solar installations. He told me all about how this came and went because of State Tax Credits--incentives that North Carolina put in place for solar a few years ago but that recently expired. Selling solar in North Carolina was hot and now it's not. In fact, he told me he went from selling to 1 out of every 7 potential customers to 1 out of every 25.

Eventually, I'm looking to support a solar company but I would prefer to handle communications or policy. This is an option in larger companies but Small and Medium-sized Enterprises like ones in North Carolina hire people that can sell or install panels. It's a growing industry but difficult route I've chosen. This is what conversations with salesmen like this remind me of.