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Aug 14, 2014  | Tom Cheyney  | 0 Comments

Planting the solar crop

Solar Power World’s “A Time to Shine” video celebrates PV installers while promoting publication of top solar contractors list

As solar value proposition analogies go, this one’s a doozy. “I was explaining the concept of solar to a farmer, and I used the following analogy,” explains Mike Schmerl of Harvest Energy Solutions. “It’s a crop that he plants once, never waters, never fertilizes, that produces revenues for 30 years.”

The quote comes from the new Solar Power World video, “A Time To Shine,” which has been released in conjunction with the publication’s well-parsed 2014 Top 400 Solar Contractors directory list. Mike (whose company ranks 189 on the list) joins Bailey Wagner of Third Sun Solar (#135) and Joe Morinville of Energy Independent Solutions (#254) to talk on camera about their perspectives on the solar installation world.

Clocking in at just under 4-1/2 minutes, the slick production intersperses interview and installation footage, with the installer trio’s comments often serving as voiceover narration. The workplace scenes showcase various types of project sites and stages of construction, and even manage to drop in some solar panel and inverter brand vogueing. Titles like “The Job,” “Solar Rising,” “The Challenge,” and “Advice” help to topically divide the film.

An applause-worthy aspect of the video is the choice of the companies’ locations and their relative lack of name recognition. These are Midwestern grassroots small businesses—based in Ohio, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania—that serve a mix of residential and commercial customers. California may be my home (and I have been known to brag about the Golden State’s solar preeminence) but I enjoy seeing and hearing these photovoltaically powered perspectives from the heartland.

One of my top-tier talking points—quality—gets solid airtime during the video. “As an industry, we need to focus on quality,” Joe notes. “We need to stop putting up what is cheap and convenient, focusing more on what is high quality and what will last and stand the test of time.”

Bailey’s youthful exuberance charms and inspires, as she enthuses about the multifaceted challenges of her job and the joy of helping people go solar. Her comments about one of the final topic titles, “In 2030,” made me smile. “I hope that by 2030 that solar is boring,” she opines. For an even more guffaw-inducing quip, check out Mike’s deadpan riposte on the topic.

The video (embedded below) is an enjoyable–and educational–supporting promo piece that can stand on its own, an upbeat slice of installer life and apt celebration of SPW’s monumental effort in putting together the latest Top 400 Solar Contractor list.


Sources: Solar Power World, Energy Independent Solutions, Harvest Energy Solutions, Third Sun Solar, SolarCurator

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