Renewable Energy

May 9th, 2012

Basic Technical Training for Renewable Energy Pros is Key (see bottom for training discounts)


Basic technical training is key for anyone interested in the renewable energy industry. Whether you are an entrepreneur who wants to sell energy services, a student looking for a job after graduation, a professional career changer, an existing business looking to expand into renewable energy, or a product or service provider that wants to sell products to EPC contractors, you MUST understand the basics of how the technology works.

For this reason, I want to give Green Light Distrikt readers some discounts on geothermal and solar training. Read more about this below.

I firmly believe that the bottleneck in the cleantech industry is NOT technical in nature. The real challenges are policy, marketing, sales and business model innovations. This is what is holding us back. However, basic technical training is extremely useful and needed to understand WHO is the best customer for a specific technology and how to sell them.

The reason I feel confident when talking about, marketing, and selling these technology is because I’ve installed them with my own hands. I’d encourage others in the industry to gain the same experience, in whatever way you can. If you’re in Massachusetts, give Co-op power a call. They have an apprenticeship program for solar thermal, and energy audit field work.

In New England, the Massachusetts Solar PV market is on fire, the thermal renewable industry (solar thermal and geothermal) are also picking up steam in Massachusetts.

Here are a few trainings coming up quickly in Massachusetts that would be useful to anyone who is serious about the industry.

Use the code “GLD” to get $100 off any of the below trainings.

NABCEP Solar Training Boston: This training course is made for people who are new to solar. You’ll learn how to design a solar PV array from a to z, how to quote a project, the installation process, and solar code.

Solar Sales Training: Learn how to sell solar from an expert, Keith Cronin. Keith build and sold his solar company to SunEdison. Keith knows how to sell jobs profitably.

IGSHPA Geothermal Training: The IGSHPA certification is the standard in the industry. In this training, you’ll learn how to design and quote residential and light commercial projects by 1) determining building loading 2) sizing equipment 3) sizing the group loop 4) sizing the distribution system and controls 5) and what sort of equipment so spec in each of the prior steps.

NABCEP Solar Thermal Training Boot Camp: The solar thermal boot camp is similar to the PV boot camp, but just that it’s based on solar thermal systems.

Selling Clean Energy to the Government: The federal government, and specifically the military, has become the largest single renewable energy customer in the US with a goal of 3GW of installed capacity, among various technologies, by 202.

 Other Free Resources

Free NABCEP Study Guide. If you’re studying for the NABCEP Solar PV installer or just want an in-depth review of solar basics this will be a good resource for you. If you want to buy the full guide, you can find it here NABCEP Study Guide.

Solar Reading List 101: A useful list of free article on solar sales, marketing, design, installation, policy and finance.

Geothermal Reading List 101: A useful life of free articles on solar sales, marketing, design, inst


February 28th, 2011

Low Tech Rally: What I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2011


My wife has a female friend who wore a turtleneck to a party at the Playboy mansion. It was a work event and she was not psyched about going – “I decided to zig where they zag”, she said. The genius of that quote has always stuck with me.

I’m currently working on publishing a print magazine for my business. In the age of social media and digital publishing it’s a curious project to embark on, but I think the death of traditional publishing has been oversold. Rather than dying, I think it’s just changing. It’s not about actually delivering news, it’s more like a big, huge Christmas card / love letter we’re writing to anyone who cares enough to pay attention to us. It’s been a great excuse to connect with the people who are important to me and think about what the company values. Most of all, it has been fun.

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November 11th, 2010

From ‘Green’ Dreamers to a Profitable, Respected Supply House


Cambridge Alternative Power Company was founded in 1978 at the corner of Concord and Walden by a dentist, a Harvard Business School MBA, and the editor of the Christian Science Monitor.  The first employee hired by the three principals was Tim Malarkey, a recent college graduate.  The company sold solar panels, wind turbines, and a variety of other alternative energy products.  Jimmy Carter was president and the second oil embargo launched this start-up business into the spotlight of the national media.  They were the ‘Talk of the Town’ in the May 1980 issue of the New Yorker Magazine, and as sales skyrocketed they all started to believe their own media hype.

None of the principals had a business background, so Cambridge Alternative Power Company operated unprofitably for years, running on cash from investors and a growing top line.  Sales peaked in 1985 when a 60% federal tax credit for solar hot water systems made the investment a no-brainer for most homeowners.  They were selling truckloads of solar panels through a well-coordinated direct sales channel.

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September 27th, 2010

The Ups And Downs of Renewable Energy in Connecticut


“What’s the latest cleantech news from Connecticut?”

This past week I asked that question to a lot of smart people on my trip to Connecticut.  I attended three events in three days: 1) a Solar Connecticut member meeting, 2) a Solar PV certification training, and 3) a Geothermal heat pump certification course.  Here’s what I heard:

  • Last year a comprehensive energy bill passed the state house and senate, only to be vetoed by Governor Jody Rell because her advisers told her it would cost too much.  The bill would have been a huge win for the solar industry, so the group is watching to see who the new Governor is.  The group resolved to pass something in the coming year.

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September 15th, 2010

Sell! 7 Awesome Renewable Energy Pitches


Renewable energy needs sales. Sales, sales, sales, sales, and more sales. Sure, we could use some better technology. But lets have the researchers do their job, and have the rest of us focus on increasing the adoption of our current technologies.


As far I see it, the more panels on roofs and turbines in the ground the better and it’s our job to get it done. I want to share with you a couple pitches I’ve found that have been very successful at getting property owners and contractors interested in investing in renewable energy.

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