For the 10th anniversary of the Top Solar Contractors list, we’re sharing Q&A’s with the people who make the industry run every day. Read more interviews here.
How’d you get started in solar?
Kenyon: I was accepted into the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s military transition assistance program called Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship. They partnered with the Solar Ready Vets Program to help military members transition from active-duty service into the exciting world of solar using a 12-week fellowship program. The program helps transitioning members with resume writing, interview preparation, job placement and finally benefit negotiations. The fellowship is a great way for companies and fellows to get essentially a trial run with each other to see if the job is a good fit for both parties. In my case, it was, and Core Development Group (CDG) offered me a position as Market Development Manager.
Nesbitt: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation accepted me into the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship, which is partnered with the Solar Ready Vets Program. The Hiring Our Heroes fellowship allowed me to serve as an intern with Core Development Group for about three months as part of my transition from Active Duty.
How was your transition from military service to the solar industry?
Kenyon: The transition from active-duty service into the world of solar development has been an outstanding experience. Core Development Group has been fantastic in helping me to convert the leadership skills I’ve gained over the last 20 years of active-duty service into a Market Development Manager position. I believe that my fellowship with Core Development Group was a mutually beneficial experience where I was able to learn a new business and CDG was able to gain a few proven strategic leadership processes.
Nesbitt: I can’t overstate how important Core Development Group and these programs were in supporting my smooth transition from the military. The programs helped me translate the skills I’ve developed over a 20+ year military career and provided excellent networking and education opportunities. Core Development Group provided outstanding support that enabled me to hit the ground running and immediately contribute to the team.
What’s your favorite part about being in the solar industry?
Kenyon: My favorite part of being in the solar industry is the constantly emerging efficiencies in both business and technology. A few years ago, a 200-W panel was a huge deal. Now, we are installing 450-W panels on new racking systems while adding battery energy storage systems at prices that were unheard of just a few years ago. The scale and innovation of the industry to serve communities, businesses and government renewable energy goals is progressing at a rapid pace. It is extremely exciting to be part of this rapidly growing industry.
Nesbitt: I joined the military out of an intense desire to improve quality of life for others on a global scale. As I completed my military service, that same drive led me to seek a career that expands global access to energy resources while accelerating the transition to a clean-energy future.
What has surprised you the most about the solar industry in the last 10 years?
Kenyon: The biggest surprise for me has been the rapid decline in pricing and increase in affordability of the systems. The renewable energy policies provided by government agencies to incentivize solar has been highly effective in encouraging the market to go green. The increases in market demand for large systems has enabled the industry to take advantage of economies of scale not seen before. This enables suppliers to provide quality products quickly and effectively.
Nesbitt: I am impressed at the innovation and policies that have led to solar arrays and energy storage systems rapidly becoming more affordable. This has increased access to energy resources for underserved populations — and does so in a way that supports environmental sustainability.
What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?
Kenyon: I believe that the increase in EV demand is starting to create large developments in battery technology that will translate into enhanced solar distributed generation reliability. The ability to shift the power curve of solar into periods of demand that were not previously serviced by solar will be game-changing. Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) will essentially be able to remove the peaky-ness of solar power and smooth out the current challenges of the duck curve on our transmission and distribution networks.
Nesbitt: I believe emerging technologies such as blockchain, digital currency and electric vehicles will lead to an unprecedented level of electrification world-wide — creating an incredible demand for sustainable and resilient grids and microgrids. Solar generation paired with energy storage will be critical to enabling these technologies.
How’d you/your company stand out in the last year?
Kenyon: Core Development Group has been excelling in greenfield, commercial and industrial markets. The company has a proven track record of completing canopy, ground mount and rooftop systems for large and small corporate and nonprofit organizations on time and on budget. We have been able to provide cost-effective systems to our customers through partnerships with some of the best names in the industry.
Nesbitt: Core Development Group is a rapidly growing company whose actions demonstrate a clear commitment to diversity, cultivating talent and promoting a culture of open communication across all levels of employees. I am constantly impressed with the high levels of morale and team cohesion.
How are you helping to improve the industry?
Kenyon: I am taking every advantage I can to learn about the industry and provide proven military processes and strategies where I can. This journey has been a humbling experience and I have been lucky enough to have a team like CDG to bring me along.
Nesbitt: At this point, I am in the early stages of learning as much as I can about the industry. With that said, I believe I bring a unique perspective for problem-solving as well as a strong work ethic with an emphasis on team building.