Kristin Thomason, Maine Solar Solutions
How did you get started in solar energy?
I had worked in retail for over ten years and was no longer happy. I was more than ready for a career switch. I quit my current job, left my apartment, traveled around the country alone for a few weeks, and then came back to Maine. It was really easy how I got into the solar industry. My wanderlust was satisfied and it was time to look for a job for the first time in 12 years. I started applying to places that looked appealing on Indeed. My criteria were pretty short: it had to be a company I saw value in, and the work had to be something I thought would make the world a better place in the long run. Working outside was a plus and I wasn’t afraid to try something new.
What is your favorite part of working in the solar industry?
My favorite part of working in the solar industry is the obvious fact that by installing a solar system, people can offset their energy needs with an infinite resource… well, at least another billion years! It is a critical step to reduce our reliance on dirty or finite fuel sources. While the idea and concept of solar energy is not new, it is finally more accessible to people and is a sound investment financially and morally.
What has surprised you most about the solar industry in the past 10 years?
I am most amazed at how affordable installing a solar panel can be now as opposed to 10 years ago. We see manufacturers producing more efficient modules every year as the world navigates solar energy. These companies can reduce the cost of the panels as the technology becomes more efficient, which is a win-win situation.
What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?
I think the world as a whole will continue to move more heavily toward more solar energy as a major resource. It will eventually become more cost-effective than the fossil and nuclear energy on which we have depended so heavily. There have been creative programs such as tax credits, financing and renting your roof and having them installed for free, while splitting the energy they produce. With these incentives, more people will be able to afford these systems, which is essential. It will be great to see solar power and renewables in general become a major source of energy for manufacturers and large companies. The closer to net zero, the better.
How did you/your company stand out in the past year?
Maine Solar Solutions had a record year with solar installations and our business continues to grow steadily along with that success. I am proud to be a part of that. We have hired and trained several new employees in all areas of the company. This includes solar consultants, electricians and installers. We also weathered the pandemic with grace and adapted our business practices in a way that has kept our employees, customers and communities safe. This year I was able to be a part of New Ventures Maine’s “Totally Trades!” online conference. The purpose of this conference was to inspire and educate young girls about the profession. It meant a lot to me to be a part of something like that.
How do you help improve the industry?
I help improve the industry by helping to install the systems, while also educating friends and family about the benefits solar power has for those who are not yet aware. By choosing a profession in commerce, I will personally ensure that there are agencies in this field to continue the growth in this industry. By being involved in the aforementioned professional conference and with World’s Solar Energy Top Solar Contractors problem, this only perpetuates the dissemination of knowledge around the solar industry.