Oregon Solar News

The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: The Value of Advocacy


By Tamara Staton, Thriving Solar - Clearly, in a market like ours wrought with uncertainty and fluctuation, there are multiple opportunities to communicate with legislators and do our best to influence solar legislation. For many business owners and solar players, this seems like a no-brainer, and the idea of calling legislators and asking others to do the same is akin to brushing their teeth twice a day. But for others, such a task may seem like a bigger undertaking, full of processes that seem foreign, awkward or futile, and wrought with the underlying question of how much to mix politics and business.

The intention of this article is not so much to advocate for the role of business in politics, but rather to highlight the value of advocacy not only for the industry as a whole, but for our individuals businesses and organizations within the space

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The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Reducing Stress through Exercise


With 80% of the US solar panel supply sourced from China, and the recent 30% tariff which many predict stands to hurt the solar industry, it's easy to imagine the high stress and tension you might be experiencing. It's often challenging to know what to do in these moments of high emotion, tough to know which decisions to make and how quickly. While it may be a great time to reduce stress through open dialogue, as addressed in the November issue of the Oregon Solar Review, it's likely a better time to focus on reducing your own stress and tension so you can think more clearly and make more solid decisions for the short and long term.

When stress is high and pressure is on, we're often inclined to dive into decision-making.

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The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Building Culture and Communication through Well-planned Meetings


We've all been in meetings that we wished would end before they even started. The air is heavy and the tone is dull. The information comes flying at us, with no room for input, questions or concerns. An agenda is missing, or lacking at best, with no flexibility to address what arises in the space. And there's certainly no laughter nor room for humor - a serious and focused leader at the front demands our silence and focused attention.

Is it possible to facilitate a meeting that people actually benefit from and enjoy?

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The Art of Maintaining Control in a Market Full of Uncertainty: Reducing Stress through Open Dialogue


By Tamara Staton, Thriving Solar -- As we continue to ride the tumultuous solar coaster, many industry professionals naturally wonder what lurks around the corner in this ever-changing solar market. While we can't predict the future, there are things that we can do as business owners, executives, and managers to maintain control under circumstances that are mostly out of our control.

There is clearly great uncertainty with the sunset of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) in Oregon on December 31, 2017, not to mention the recent (and controversial) trade case - it's hard to know exactly how things will look in this market in just a few months....

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Thriving Company Culture through the eyes of a Field Manager


The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Ry Heller, Field Manager at True South Solar which currently employs 18 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.

Tamara: What does a thriving culture mean to you?

Ry: I think about it along the lines of my community here in Ashland. Our company is a little thriving culture within that. We have like-minded visions, shared goals, and our job is environmental activism. Our little thriving culture is more than just a job where you show up and make money. It’s a little community within the bigger community of people who want to make a difference, and enjoy showing up to work everyday to make that difference. We’re not just coworkers, but we’re all getting to know each other better, doing things outside of work sometimes, providing a very friendly community of support for one another...

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Thriving Company Culture through the Eyes of a PV Installer


This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Anthoney Robinson, PV Installer and Energy Consultant at Elemental Energy, which currently employs 15 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.

Tamara: How would you describe your path to becoming an installer at Elemental Energy?

Anthoney: I was in the Marine Corps right after high school. I didn't particularly enjoy that too much, but I did learn that I like manual labor. I can't sit behind a desk – it’s something that I just can't wrap my head around...

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Thriving Company Culture through the Eyes of an Office Manager


This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Kelli Wolford, Office Manager at Synchro Solar, which currently employs 10 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.

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Thriving Company Culture Through the Eyes of a Project Manager


This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Katie Martin, Project Manager at Imagine Energy, which currently employs ~15 solar team members with 2 solar install teams. As you’ll likely glean from this interview, Katie, and the leadership at Imagine, clearly have a deep understanding of the deep importance of company culture matters and the direct impact that it has on performance.

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A Business Case for Thriving Culture


Many of us have heard the buzz about ‘corporate culture’ and the importance of focusing on team communication and employee well-being. The 'HR-stuff', as someone said to me at the Oregon Solar Energy Conference in May. In corporate environments, this is clearly the norm, and it’s a rare company that doesn’t have this on their radar, with a budget to match. But in solar, it’s a different conversation, particularly for small and medium-sized owner-operated outfits.

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