People of the 10th anniversary Top Solar Contractors list: Randy Schantell, SWT Energy

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?

I was earning a degree in architecture when some of my classmates and I became inspired to strike out on our own designing highly efficient buildings and homes using thermal solar and passive solar systems. We designed and built everything from additions, houses and commercial buildings with various atriums, trombe walls, thermal air collectors, eutectic salt thermal storage and thermal solar and hot water systems throughout Southeast Nebraska. Things were going well until Reagan got elected and eliminated all the incentives for renewable technology.

What’s your favorite part about being in the solar industry?

This technology is so cool and the innovations are what keep it interesting. Plus, it’s really fun seeing all these things finally start coming to fruition.

What has surprised you the most about the solar industry in the last 10 years?

The way manufacturers have innovated to make these systems simpler and more affordable.

What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?

I think the industry is going to see massive growth combined with the transition to electric vehicles. We are going to see a lot more battery storage with homes, cars, etc. all managed by the same app on your phone. Plus, I think we are going to start seeing more small towns in rural areas take back control of their own infrastructure and energy generation.

How’d you/your company stand out in the last year?

We built on the trust we’ve established with engineering firms and designers allowing us to grow the commercial side of our business.

How are you helping to improve the industry?

Staying on top of the latest industry news and technology to provide the latest and greatest equipment to our customers. We work hard to educate consumers and partners on the benefits of solar power. There’s a lot of misinformation out there; its not easy staying in front of it. Getting more commercial developers onboard is really helping to change attitudes in our area.

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