Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Considering a career in PV?

If you are considering a career in photovoltaics, here are some things to consider:

1. You have to "do" PV to be "in" PV. A lot of PV workers don't have PV on their homes or offices. Would you buy a Ford from someone who drives a Toyota?
2. PV professionals practice their profession (like doctors and other practicing professionals) which means a commitment to life-long learning about PV.
3. It takes time to develop a good reputation "rep". Plan on spending at least 2 years eating, sleeping and working PV full-time before you even begin to earn the reputation as the “PV guy”. You know you've made it when solar is mentioned in your service area and people say, "You've got to talk to (your name here). He's the solar expert."
4. You can make more money doing something else. If you are getting into PV because you think that someday PV will make you rich, forget it. "Someday" never happens.
5. Do what you love to do and do it well. People reward competence. In a capitalist society, people reward competence with money. You won't get rich, but you can earn a good income.
6. Understand the difference between vocation and an avocation.
7. Love, work and knowledge are all there really is to life.
8. Under-promise and over-deliver.
9. Make your customers your friends.
10. Know more electrical engineering and electronics than the next guy, but also know what you don't know.
11. Laugh a lot. It's good for the digestion.
12. Watch your back. There really are bad people out there.
13. Read everything written by people who actually work with PV.
14. If you can’t memorize the National Electrical Code, then at least know how to find rules in the code book.
15. Respect your competition. Remember, you look like them to them.
16. Pay your bills on time. Better yet, pre-pay and ask for discounts.
17. Give more than you get.
18. Don't be self-righteous, unless you never ride in combustion vehicles, don't use utility power, grow your own food, and do volunteer work at the orphanage or hospice. Then you can brag.
19. Visit PV factories, distributors and dealers. See live PV.
20. Take hands-on PV installation classes.
21. Work for a custom homebuilder for a few years to learn contracting and how homes are built.
22. Work for a commercial electrical contractor for a few years to learn how the big boys do electrical work.
23. Visit every PV installation and take lots of photos.


Happy trails,
Joel Davidson

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