Our Solar Professionals – Solar Consultant, Jamey Jones

My History…

I was blessed to have an amazing high school biology teacher, Mr. Barnhill.  Our first class project was an elaborate bug collection assigned over the summer. The project was due the very first day of sophomore year.  The pressure was on during the break to find, gather, pin, label and display each insect meticulously.  Fortunately, most of my discoveries were during a 14 day fishing trip with my father in Wilberforce Canada. These trips provided ample opportunity to scour the woods for all kinds of interesting and colorful insect species.  Once school was in session I was exposed to two boa constrictors, eight feet in length (Bonnie and Clyde). They became my reptile friends.

Mr. Barnhill would walk our class out to a nearby wooded lot behind our school where we studied ecosystems in nature rather than in the classroom; staking off 2’ x 2’ sections of the woodland understory, charting the variations and comparing the similarities of each plot.  I grew up playing outside in the summer until the streetlights came on, and in ravines with my cousin in Bloomington, Indiana searching for geodes, but my high school science class solidified my relationship with the natural world.

My Solar Journey…

I love EARTH. Green, deciduous forest, cave, flora and fauna, waterfall, pond, bug and animal earth.  This is home.  The place all living things share & the gift I feel compelled by a force beyond myself to protect. When Third Sun Solar advertised for an office administrator positions 11 years ago, I jumped at the chance to apply. I knew the founders, Michelle and Geoff Greenfield & admired that they walked their talk living an off-grid life style.

I saw this a an opportunity to create a career that aligned with my personal values.  At the time I knew nothing about solar except that solar was green and cool. But, I liked the way solar panels looked.

Once hired, I began a learning journey that stretched my understanding of renewables beyond measure…

My very first day, I assisted our Compliance and Accounting Manager by maintaining a growing list of interested residential and commercial customers seeking to leverage a grant through the Advanced Energy Fund.  The grant was in its second round, and we were compiling a list of names while waiting for the Notification of Funding Announcement to proceed forward.  Between the grant and 30% federal tax credit incentive, the gross cost of solar was reduced by a nominal 35%.  At that time in 2008, a typical residential solar installation was around $7/watt before both incentives, designing around SunPower 225watt panels.  The grant expired in 2010, and the climate for solar changed as the industry weathered shifts in our State’s administration and focus, which also impacted another incentive, SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) due to a 2014-2016 Senate Bill freeze.

We persisted through what we call the “solar coaster”, as panel prices continued to lower in lieu of fleeting incentive…

Though daunting, we adapted to the twists and turns. We accommodated the new landscape and political climate and continued to serve our customers.

What started off as an office administration position in 2008 transformed into a position as Residential Solar Consultant in 2010 to present.  I personally have had the great pleasure to serve 221 customer installations, while continuing to assist potential customers daily in their decision to go solar by answering questions on how solar works; modeling preliminary design concepts; discussing equipment offerings; incentives (past and present); financing options and sometimes engaging in conversations on stewardship when the opportunity presents itself.  I can say with all honesty that I wake up every day feeling proud of what I do, knowing that my job is positively contributing to our global climate future.

Whatever your stance is on the topic of climate change, it is safe to say that we are approaching a new era full of unknown shifts in our global landscape.  Nothing is certain, but I hope that we all continue to learn, plan, protect and adapt.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” – Chief Seattle.