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A First: Fieldtrip to Poway Mike's
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September 4, 2014
As a member of the Sullivan Solar Power team, each day brings on new quests to surmount. Not too long ago was my chance to step out of the office again, but this time, into the field. Once more, this was a day for firsts. IT personnel may not have much business doing any other tasks than those that include sitting at a desk, typing, coding, even scripting away, or putting together yet another workstation as the company continues to grow. However, if an employee is even the least bit intrigued by the industry they work in, then sure enough gaining knowledge on its purposeful progress will drive them to enter other arenas of the business.
My long awaited fieldtrip to a job site had finally come. I knew little about solar when I began working at Sullivan Solar Power almost eleven months ago. Today, I can barely get enough. At the time, I had not yet seen a residential installation in person, nor had I been given the opportunity to speak with customers to get a direct vibe of just how happy they are. Additionally, of all the images of solar arrays I put on the company website about each work day, none could top the view that I finally beheld up close and personal.
I rode with project manager Mike DeCarli to a residence in Poway. On the way, he schooled me on the process of getting solar for a household. From the community developers educating the public, to project developers closing a sale, then onto the point where PMs like him get permits issued, plans drawn out and the construction crew ready. I viewed it as busy work that by the end of the trip seemed well worth it.
The point of progress that DeCarli was on this day was that of the site inspection. During this visit he evaluated the solar power system on the path to being switched on. While doing quality control he continued to educate me on solar by showing me parts of the installation that were not in clear view on the roof. The inverter located on the side of the home was presented to me as the means for converting the DC energy the solar panels produce into the AC power that can be used for the residence.
While all that is essential for a solar power system, my interest soon fell upon the happy customer, Mike. He pulled up a chair in front of his home and watched with satisfaction the work that was continuing on the roof. After DeCarli finished answering the last of my questions regarding the installation, I prepared inquiries for Mike.
Much of the exchange regarding his 6 kilowatt system seemed to continually circle back to how impressed he was with the team working on his project. On Shayne, a project developer, he raved about how smart he was, how well he listened and what a relief it was to know he did not follow a script. Josh, the field tech on his roof was also given five stars for his seemingly endless knowledge and exceptional work ethic. I almost could not stop Mike and decided to collect proof of his excitement and recorded the remainder of our conversation.
When DeCarli finished doing quality control he told me it was time to go. Like any kid who has enjoyed a fieldtrip away from the familiar confines of a schoolhouse, I was slightly reluctant to leave. This introduction to the field of a residential project has only heightened my curiosities concerning what a commercial site may entail, but until then, it was back on the yellow bus… or truck in my case.