Chris Byers, Namaste Solar
PelotonPosts is a monthly dispatch from PelotonLabs, a coworking community on Bramhall Square in Portland’s West End. This month, Peloton’s event director Nick Rosenblum caught up with Peloton member Chris Byers, who works remotely for Boulder-headquartered solar company Namaste Solar.
What brought you to Portland?
I grew up in Vermont and my wife grew up in New Gloucester. We had lived in New Hampshire together and then eventually moved down to Pennsylvania. But we wanted to get back to Portland. It was really a quality of life decision. And we were able to make it work finally with my job being a remote job.
How long have you worked in the West End?
Tell me about your current projects.
We have six projects in the northeast that we are developing right now. Large scale solar projects that range from 2-10 acres each, including a project for the Putney School in Vermont. We’re also doing a community solar project in Massachusetts where there might be up to 100 different customers that participate and purchase shares.
Are there any community solar projects in Maine similar to the one you’re working on in Massachusetts?
You can do that in Maine but it’s not as common. It’s not as lucrative because there’s a cap here on how many people can participate in one particular solar array. Only nine customers per project. And that’s an arbitrary number. But the good news is that people can participate in those projects. Revision Energy has done a few of these.
So, it’s really about making the project feasible and attractive for both the customer and the company.
And the State. We have this term in the solar industry called the solar coaster. We see policy go up and down. Supply chain goes up and down. Demand as well. Certain markets fluctuate throughout the year. Even though the industry’s been around 40 years, the latest boom in solar is really new. So, being open to new markets and opportunities is absolutely essential. You need to take an entrepreneurial attitude with solar. Even though we’ve been around for 11 years, we feel like a startup almost every year.