This blog post was written by our Digital Marketing Intern, Ben Joslin.
If you've ever considered going solar, you've likely interacted with a salesperson - but have you ever met a Solar Designer? At ReVision, our Solar Designers are not traditional salespeople. They’re a diverse group of people with varied backgrounds and a common passion for sustainable energy. They understand the technical nuances of solar power and prioritize educating people and building strong relationships with Solar Champions.
I'd like to introduce you to a few of our Solar Designers - Erik Mitchell, Calen Perkins, and Cole Phillips - who all have unique stories to share about site visits and their journeys to becoming Solar Designers. As an intern at ReVision for the summer, I’ve been able to shadow solar designers at site visits to gain a better understanding of the solar process from start to finish. It is clear why site visits are such an important part of our process.
Erik uses a SunEye to measure the roof's solar access.All three Solar Designers emphasize that a site visit involves much more than just an assessment of a property's solar potential. It's an opportunity to understand a homeowner’s energy goals, learn about their house, and discuss the best ways to achieve their goals. It’s also an opportunity to show how much ReVision cares about its mission. This was made clear in the site visits I went on. Solar Designers block off two hours for the visits to ensure every question can be answered. Site visits are a chance for broader conversations about solar power, energy efficiency, and other potential electrification prospects. The focus here is on education because informed individuals make the best decisions.
"We're not pushy salespeople," Erik says. "We're educators armed with facts."
Erik has a solar array of his own, as do many ReVision employee-owners. He often shows homeowners his own monitoring portal, giving people a look into the in-depth analysis they can get on their solar production and consumption.
The journey to becoming Solar Designers can often be a winding path. After working as a snowboard instructor in Tahoe and on tugboats in Portland, Erik joined ReVision Energy during its early stages, working as a solar installer for seven years. His hands-on experience lends knowledge and depth to his current role as a Solar Designer.
Calen, who also spent time in California before moving back to New England, often emphasizes that transitioning away from fossil fuels isn’t a sprint but more of a marathon. “I like to give folks the feeling that the process is something they can do over time, giving them the confidence to take smaller steps in that direction.” He sees himself as a teacher, guiding people toward sustainable energy solutions.
Cole worked as an educator at Camp Kieve (a summer camp I attended and which also has ReVision-installed solar panels!) and then moved to Wyoming to continue teaching as a ski and fly-fishing instructor. Cole returned East after a few years and landed at ReVision as a Solar Designer, a position he says empowers him to continue pursuing his altruistic dreams of being an educator.
“The beauty of this job is that I talk about this stuff at work in the same way I would at a family barbecue,” says Cole.
Calen meets a horse while taking measurements at a recent site visit. Erik’s favorite part of being a Solar Designer is the balance between fieldwork and office work. Site visits allow him to escape the confines of a desk and meet interesting people. He gets to help homeowners achieve their renewable energy goals and he gets to meet some pretty cool people along the way.
"It's awesome when you connect with people," Erik says. "It's a good feeling when you leave."
One of Cole’s favorite parts about the job is that he gets to see so much of Southern and Western Maine. After connecting with Solar Champions, he often leaves with recommendations for tasty local food spots or sightseeing locations that encapsulate everything Maine has to offer.
An example of a SunEye solar analysis. The green coloring symbolizes tree shading throughout the year.Solar Designers use tools like the Solmetric SunEye, a device that analyzes how much solar energy is available at a given location, how much shading occurs at various times of the day or year, and how much energy can be produced by a solar system. The SunEye’s integrated camera and fish-eye lens capture a 360-degree image of the entire horizon and it automatically processes the skyline to determine the solar access of the location. This tool is crucial for accurate shading predictions and helps homeowners understand if their roof is suitable for solar. I think of it as having a crystal ball that tells us if your roof and solar are made for each other, like a matchmaker but with science and data.
Calen uses a SunEye to assess a home's solar potential.When remote work is required, the Aurora software program steps in. By utilizing satellite imagery and LIDAR (light detection and ranging), Aurora can generate roof measurements and shading predictions from afar.
These tools help Solar Designers assess a house’s solar possibilities, but more importantly, they show people ReVision’s process. Getting to see the tools Solar Designers use provides transparency, a crucial aspect of a ReVision site visit.
Overall, being a Solar Designer at ReVision Energy means establishing long-term relationships with people, evaluating their renewable energy goals, and providing a comprehensive solution. As we continue the fight against the climate crisis, ReVision's dedicated Solar Designers play a crucial part.
We're currently hiring for this position in New Hampshire, and if you're based elsewhere, keep an eye on our Career Page for future openings.