People of the 10th anniversary Top Solar Contractors list: Kristin Thomason, Maine Solar Solutions

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 had worked in retail for over a decade and was no longer happy. I was more than ready for a career change. I quit my current job, moved out of my apartment, traveled across country alone for a few weeks and then came back to Maine. It really was quite simple how I got into the solar industry. My wanderlust had been satisfied and it was time to look for a job for the first time in 12 years. I started applying to places that looked appealing on Indeed. My criteria were quite short: It had to be a company I saw value in, and the work had to be something that I believed would better the world in the long-term. Working outside was a plus and I wasn’t afraid to try something new.

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

My favorite part about being in the solar industry is the obvious fact that by installing a solar system, people can offset their energy needs with a never-ending source…well, for about another billion years at least! It is a crucial step to reducing our dependency on dirty or finite sources of fuel. Even though the idea and concept of solar energy is not new, it is finally more accessible to people and is a sound investment financially and morally.

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

I’ve been most surprised about how affordable installing a solar array can be now as opposed to 10 years ago. We are seeing more efficient modules being produced by manufacturers each year as the world navigates solar power. These companies are able to drop the cost of the panels as the technology become more efficient, which is a win-win.

What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?

I think the world as a whole will continue to move more heavily toward more solar power as a major source. It will eventually become more cost-effective than the fossil and nuclear power we have been so heavily dependent on. There have been creative programs such as tax credits, financing and renting your rooftop out and having them installed for free, while splitting the energy they produce. With these incentives in place, more people will be able to afford these systems, which is key. It will be amazing to watch solar power and renewable sources in general become a major source of energy for manufacturers and large companies. The closer to net-zero, the better.

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

Maine Solar Solutions had a record-breaking year with solar installs and our company continues to grow at a steady pace along with that success. I’m proud to be a part of it. We have hired and trained several new employees throughout all areas of the business. This includes solar consultants, electricians and installers. We have also navigated the pandemic with grace and adjusted our business practices in a way that has kept our staff, customers and communities safe. This year, I was able to be a part of New Ventures Maine’s “Totally Trades!” online conference. The purpose of this conference was to inspire and educate young girls about the trades. It meant a lot to me to be part of something like that.

How are you helping improve the industry?

I am helping to improve the industry by helping to install the systems, while also educating friends and family about the benefits that solar power has for those still unaware. By picking a profession in the trades, I personally will help ensure there will be bodies in this field to continue the growth in this industry. By being involved with the trades conference mentioned earlier and with Solar Power World’s Top Solar Contractors issue, this only perpetuates the spreading of knowledge around the industry of solar.

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