T&D World Magazine

Andy Black: Solar Helper

OnGrid Solar, the company owned by Andy Black, solar financial analyst, has a mission to help the solar industry develop as rapidly and stably as possible. “Is solar energy worth the investment?” is a common question in the new world of renewable energy. Black answers that question for audiences worldwide.

Black presents and teaches regularly on the financial analysis of solar electricity and Solar Sales & Marketing. In total, he has made more than 90 presentations on solar electricity and solar financial payback to an audience of more than 5000 (plus the radio and cable TV audience).

His likes teaching because it allows him to share the information, then receive direct questions from the audience. “They let me know if I’ve presented a concept that is easily understood (which will be important when they, in turn, present it to their customer) and whether I’ve presented it well,” he said.

Black has more than 13 years of analysis, design, consulting, teaching, sales and research experience in solar. Students regularly comment on his knowledge of the subject and his ability to teach it.

“There is no question Andy couldn't address,” said Maya Jones, a former student. Another student, Parker Painter, said that he understood everything presented. “This is a very complicated subject," he said.

Black tells his students to develop great listening skills. “Customers will tell you everything they need to make them happy.”

Black is an invited presenter at PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center, The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), Solar Energy International, Solar Living Institute, North Carolina Solar Center (NCSC), the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), and other conferences. He has also been requested by several municipal utilities, corporations, and other forums. He has appeared on National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate KUSP.

Black has also been an instructor for the Solar Living Institute more than 20 times over the last five years. His next conference workshops will be at Solar Power International, Oct. 26-30, in Anaheim, California. He will present “Solar Financial Payback,” “Commercial Solar Financial Payback & Large Project Financing,” and “Find Your Dream Job in Solar.” Black said that the “Dream Job” class helps others enjoy the same success in their life’s work as he has enjoyed.

The tool, the OnGrid Solar Financial Analysis Tool, in includes PV system sizing, pricing and quoting. It calculates the financial savings and demonstrates the payback in several ways. It produces several proposal options and the contract, rebate and interconnection paperwork auto-filled and customized to each customer.

“The tool helps speed the close and make a very professional presentation,” Black said. “It will significantly ease entry into this marketplace.”

Black remains an advocate for the solar industry, recently serving on the Boards of Directors for the American Solar Energy Society and the NorCal Solar Energy Association. He has hosted numerous Solar Home Tours around the Silicon Valley, and contributed to NorCal’s Solar Energy Resource Guide for the last five years. He is an active member of CalSEIA, ASES, ISES, and NorCal Solar Association.

When he’s not helping the solar industry develop, he still likes being around “solar people,” he said. “That’s the biggest part of my social life.” He also likes to travel and explore, ride trains, fly his ultralight and sail.He is a groundskeeper and servant for a cat at his home in San Jose, California.

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