People of the 10th anniversary Top Solar Contractors list: Thomas Glenn, Solar States
How did you get started with solar energy?
I started solar by going through the E3 North program in Philadelphia to get my GED. After I got my GED, I did an internship with the Philadelphia Youth Network, which introduced me to a program called Powercorp PHL. I have done three cohorts of AmeriCorps service through Powercorp PHL. My fourth cohort was spent working in a fellowship with Solar States.
What is your favorite part of working in the solar industry?
My favorite part of working in the solar industry is the hands-on experience I gain from working with electricity. The people I have daily contact with in my hometown and meet people from all walks of life; the complex problems I solve when I install solar energy in the inner city. Not to mention the rewards of working in an industry that helps reduce our carbon footprint.
What has surprised you most about the solar industry in the past 10 years?
I am especially surprised by how many people have ridden the green wave in this city. The efficiency of solar panels has increased enormously over the past 10 years, while costs have remained relatively the same, making it more suitable for inner-city homes.
What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, I think that the efficiency of solar panels will increase even further and the demand for solar energy in general will increase as more and more people become interested in clean energy.
How did you/your company stand out in the past year?
Solar States has distinguished itself by completing major projects here in the Philadelphia area. Notably Yards Brewing, SEPTA’s trolley maintenance facility and Greenfield Manufacturing, to name a few. We partner with Powercorp PHL and OIC to provide education for people from low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. While doing all that, we installed 50 low-middle income projects through a partnership with the Philadelphia Energy Authority and the Solar Savings Grant. Solar States hopes the work with this program can be emulated by other installers in the United States to bring solar power to lower and middle income residents on a much larger scale.