We all follow in someone’s footsteps

Today would have been my dad’s 71st birthday. It’s hard for me to believe that he passed away 3 years ago.

My dad was an incredible influence in my life. He was an entrepreneur, and thinking back it was him that inspired me to be one too. He helped me and A&R Solar through difficult times.

When we started I didn’t know how to write a contract, or an estimate, or just about anything. I had a passion and a vision I shared with my business partner Andy, and we had emotional and physical energy to pour into our business. If I had a problem big or small, my dad would help at the drop of a hat.

When we had early successes it was my dad who I called first. He of all the people in my life understood the hardship and hard work it took for us to achieve what we did. He was always hesitant to give too much advice, but I was always willing to hear what he would say. Well, I was always willing to hear his business advice…

He taught me how to have a healthy debate, negotiate, and have empathy for the people around me. He new how to lead just by being someone that people could look up to; by being generous; by being thoughtful; by caring. I hope that as I continue to grow up that I can follow in his footsteps.

Yesterday the Small Business Administration featured me as a success story. Yesterday I wish I could have called him with the news. Yesterday I would have heard his smile on the phone.

Today, I won’t celebrate my successes. I’ll celebrate his.



Now Hiring

Journeyman Electrician for Solar Company (Seattle)

A&R Solar is a Seattle-based, employee-owned solar installation company seeking licensed Journeyman Electrician to join our team. We have been installing solar for seven years and continue to grow quickly. As a member of our electrical crew, you will be helping us install solar energy systems for residential and commercial applications. We are looking for someone who is dedicated to their work and has a strong sense of pride in the quality of their craft.

Solar Jobs

-Excellent at bending conduit.
-Comfortable with heights and working on roof tops.
-A licensed 01 or 02 Electrician in the state of Washington.
-Able to e-mail a Resume and personalized Cover Letter.
-Have a good understanding of the NEC

-DC and AC electrical runs, including work on roof tops, tall ladders, and tight spaces.
-Mounting inverters and laying out other electrical components in a clean, organized manner.
-Bending and routing conduit.
-Replacing service panels, adding subpanels, and tying systems in to the utility grid.
-Training our technicians as electrical trainees to guarantee that our commitment to quality is upheld throughout all installations.
-Interpreting PV line drawings, product literature, and referencing the NEC.
-Communicating with utility companies and inspectors.
-Having a working knowledge of OSHA standards, company safety programs, and policies relative to the installation of these systems, and enforcing these safety standards with all personnel under your supervision.
-Representing A&R Solar in the field and being a point of contact for our customers.
-Maintaining a professional appearance and attitude at all times.

-Knowledge of electrical, building, and roofing systems.
-Basic blueprint/schematic reading.
-Basic computer skills.

-Ability to take a Supervisory role on projects
-Customer service/communication skills
-Scheduling/planning skills.

-Must have WA 01 or 02 Journeyman Tradesman License.
-Must have current driver’s license.
-NABCEP PV certification desired.
-Must have own hand tools and an operating vehicle.

We’re a close knit team and do what we do because we’re passionate about sustainability. We hope you would be too.

This is a full time position; compensation depends on experience.  Health, dental, vision insurance, paid time off; retirement benefits; and other company perks are available after 90 days.

Please e-mail your RESUME and COVER LETTER to jobs at a-rsolar dot com and one of us will get back to you. Applicants without both of these requirements will not be considered.


NABCEP Conference Day 3

Today is another full day of electrical code. It’s taught by Ryan Mayfield of Renewable Energy Associates. He taught the other code class I took recently up in Renton. Washington State is moving to the National Electrical Code (NEC) 2014 in July of this year.

I’m sitting in the class again because the more often I see the material the better prepared we’ll be for the switch to the new code.

One of my jobs as electrical administrator is debating inspectors on interpretations of the code. The more knowledgeable I am in the code the easier the more defensible our methods are.

Passing inspection is one thing. The inspectors make sure that our installation is “up to code” and “safe.” We see this as a starting point in our solar arrays. Code is a minimum standard for safety. Our best practices go above and beyond the code. Best practices combine serviceability, longevity, beauty, and craftsmanship with safety.

The biggest difference between take the last class for code officials and this class is the audience. Code officials need a breadth of knowledge across all sections of the NEC. They approach the articles specific to solar (Article 690 and 705 for those that care) in other ways than we do.

As solar pros we need a depth of knowledge to be able to achieve our best practices. I’m sitting in a class room with 100 other solar professionals with 1,000s of solar arrays of experience under their belts.

The questions and comments I’m hearing from my colleagues are insightful. It has been helpful to hear both sides of this code: inspectors and solar installers.

Amazing enough, we (solar pros) and the inspectors agree the majority of the time. Even so there are still complex murky parts of the code that are going to cause heartburn for everyone involved. That’s why the code gets updated every 3 years; to provide clarity.

Am I done with code update classes? Likely not. Myself and our head electrician, Jason, still need to review the material and do our own internal training. Our installers will be taking their own classes, but (some of) our non-electrician staff need to know the updates too.

Yesterday: NABCEP Conference Day 2

The Day Before: NABCEP Conference Day 1