PPC Solar, Taos, N.M.
For more than 30 years, Dan Weinman, president of PPC Solar (one of Solar Power World’s Top 100 Solar Contractors), of Taos, N.M., has watched the solar industry grow and prosper.
Weinman started at age seven by helping his father, who founded the company. The company’s goal was to provide electricity to those who lived far away from easy access to traditional power lines.
“When we got our first system, we were still burning kerosene lamps,” Weinman says. “It brought a lot of convenience to our lives. So I grew up with solar and living off the grid.”
New Mexico is not a densely populated state (at the time of the 2010 census, New Mexico had 17 people per square mile; the entire United States, in contrast, has 87 people per square mile), so it’s not hard to find people living far away from electrical transmission lines.
Weinman says the company’s philosophy is based around three central principles:
Protect the environment not only through solar installations but also through other sustainable business practices;
Being a part of and providing help for the community; and
Being solutions oriented.
“There’s definitely a sustainable community out here in New Mexico,” Weinman says. “We have a lot of artists and others in our area who don’t want to be in the middle of society. We help them live comfortably off the grid.”
PPC Solar serves northern New Mexico and southern Colorado (approximately five hours away) and has 10 employees. The company focused almost entirely on residential until 13 years ago, when Weinman saw a shift in the market. Weinman says his company has installed nearly three-quarters of all solar installations in Taos County (population: 33,000).
“When grid-tie inverters became available, we saw a significant shift in the business and opened up the market for us to move into other segments,” Weinman says. “We used to be 100% residential, but now we’re 75% commercial and 25% residential.”
What Weinman enjoys most about the industry is how it continuously feeds his love of technology.
“I’ve watched this industry grow exponentially since my father started the business, and that growth has been driven in large part by technology,” Weinman says. “I love technology, so this has been a great industry for me.”