November 24th, 2010

Don’t Let Renewables Take Over your Life

Chris Williams

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I love, love, love renewable energy, energy efficiency and all that good stuff. I recently realized that I like it so much that it was taking over my life. If you’re like me, you may have noticed this too. Or maybe, you’re where I was two years ago and you want it to take over your life, but you’re just not there yet.

Here’s the real test. Tell me if this sounds familiar to you, you go to a party or bar on the weekend and it turns into a policy debate about feed-in-tariffs versus tax credits or the extension of the 1603 cash in lieu of grants program. If you’re in a crowd of newbies, the night turns into you giving a renewable energy 101 lecture to those in the room that don’t know what the difference is between solar PV and solar thermal. Gasp! Those people exist? I know it seems crazy to me too, but they are lurkying around out there.

You see, when I was going through college, I learned that most people “hate their jobs” and they just do it for the money, for retirement, you know the story. And because you “hate” your job, naturally you’d rather be doing other things most of the time.

When I started working, I realized that I loved my job(s). I’ve really liked every job I’ve had since school. I figured that becasue I didn’t and don’t hate my job and that I actually like it, I mean really really like it – like a kid reading his favorite comic book under the sheets with a flashlight – it was okay for me to do it all the time. Most of my good friends work in cleantech, I go to events, I read about it, I write about it. It’s everywhere all the time. It was like 24/7/12 cable news.

This 24/7 renewable energy bubble that I was living in finally got to me and I had to take a break. I realized that just because you love something doesn’t mean you can sustain the energy to being doing it all the time. If you try, like I did, you’ll only get burnt out and loss interest.

I realized that if I really want to make a difference keeping my passion and energy high when I’m working on a project is critical. When I’m there I need to be 110% there. This was impossible I was also on all the 100% of the time. Your body, and brain need a break. No, I’m not a crazy spiritual type person like this sounds.

It’s hard to not let it take over your life. The main difference between cleantech and other industries – say finance or retail -  is everyone is so passionate about it. There is a feeling of community amongst everyone involved because of the scale of the problems being faced.

Mount Everest is a huge challenge and it’s impossible to hike it in one shot. You can only summit by taking rests along the way. The problems we’re facing seem even harder then hiking Everest and we must take breaks in order to keep our passion and energy levels high and our focus sharp.

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.