Usually I follow a strict protocol with Notes from the Solar Underground as well as other sections of the Solar Flare, that is, stick to the data and facts and keep the ‘I’ out of the writing. In this issue I am breaking from this tradition and getting personal. October 27th was the anniversary of my first year in business – first year as a small business owner – first year without a regular paycheck and with mistakes, successes and everything in-between, what a year it has been.

During this year I have rediscovered, not that I had forgotten, both the value of independent unbiased analysis as well as how difficult it can be to stand behind an independent, unbiased view when it disagrees with the closely held beliefs of others. While it may be uncomfortable when the results of research disagree with internal views, the value of independent analysis is that it forces a rethinking of beliefs as well as offering a degree of protection against the un-expected and potentially costly unknown. What I refer to here is the unexpected event that is unaccounted for simply because it falls outside of imagining.

For the past 16 years I have worked in an industry of entrepreneurs and pioneers – brave people who have chosen to base their careers on developing and deploying a technology that is considered too expensive by many and which competes with entrenched conventional energy. My mentors have always had high ideals and standards, fought tough odds where success is anything but ensured and continued fighting against all odds and in the face of failure and the unrelenting undervaluing of the industry’s product: clean solar energy. I work with and for my mentors and heroes, a group that includes installers, manufacturers, business people and government employees. Everyone I know well in solar is dedicated to the common cause of changing the world and making the air safe to breathe.

My goal is to keep setting the bar higher every time I complete an analysis, a report or a project. The solar industry – against all odds – has an upward growth trajectory – so should quality. I am lucky to serve an industry that, though often beleaguered and truly quirky, also enjoys a wealth of creativity, passion, courage, and true grit in the face of significant obstacles to its success.

Happy birthday SPV Market Research, I hope to see you grow and eventually, I hope to train the next generation of solar market researchers – who will be brave enough, curious enough and passionate enough to set the bar ever higher and take this 38 year old solar market research practice and its mountain of data into the future.