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Dan Hahn

Traveling through the south in the summer of 2007, I realized a few things. For one, it was hot. Really hot. Second, I was really tired of driving. That day I’d made it from Savannah, Georgia up to the middle of North Carolina. There wasn’t a soul to be found on the state road I was driving on, so I pulled over and got out. I gazed up at the sun, then down at the asphalt and stood there in a mixture of awe and dehydration for a few minutes. At the side of the road was an abandoned service station – the heat slowly slithering off the top of the old black roof.

Though I grew up in Chicago and am no stranger to what muggy feels like, this was oppressive – the equivalent perhaps of being inside someone’s mouth, with a fever. I started the car again, the heat and sun still on my mind and drove through the scrappy outskirts of Durham, looking for signs of minor league baseball and Tim Robbins. Though I found neither, I parked my car in a shaded garage, 6 floors above ground – enough altitude for a view of tarred rooftops stretching miles into the horizon. The panorama was a mirage of pale grey roofline and hazy sky. At that moment, I began thinking about why it was that none of these properties had solar panels on them.

I began researching tax credits and payback periods for solar hot water systems and photovoltaics in my own state of Oregon. I was blown away by what I found. Just a month earlier, the Oregon legislature had passed a huge bill to spur solar implementation. They offer a 50% tax credit for businesses installing solar equipment. Couple this with rapid depreciation, an incentive from the energy trust of Oregon, and a federal tax credit, and there is zero net cost after 1 year. Zero cost! What?! Every single business in the state should be getting in on this.

My old friend Dave Llorens called me an hour later, explaining he was at a career crossroads and didn’t know which path to take. I explained the solar incentives passed in Oregon and urged him to look into options in California. Perhaps we could form our own solar water heating business? To do that, we figured the best way to learn all that we’d need to learn about solar was to communicate it to everyone else who was also interested. A month later, solarpowerrocks.com was launched.

While I was still finishing my master’s in I/O psychology, Dave landed a job providing solar solutions to San Francisco area businesses and homeowners. Utilizing his honesty, humor (I argue this is a skill), intellect, and persistence, he has become the best salesperson in the company in less than 6 months. Now that I have completed my master’s program, I am now an independent solar energy consultant and a human resource management consultant. How about that?

Last modified: June 13, 2018

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Anonymous

What can i do to get my foot in the door? where I live is an almost untapped resource. There are no companies within a 100 mile radius that has any dealings in solar power. I’d like to provide a “foothold” for a successful established company to help people in this area realize the potential of this resource…..any advice would be welcomed.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I realize I may have gotten to the party late but I am here now. I live in a place that has an almost untouched market. I read an earlier article about all the things i should do to prepare myself before I start applying for a sales position in solarpanel sales. Since then ive been flooding my every waking moment with some sort of information about solar power and its almost limitless potential.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Dear Dan, I am a single mom in Spring Texas I own a house and want to put in a solar system for my home. But being a single income house i can’t afford the 45000 dollar quote I received. is there any way to get solar panels for my home cheaper or free that could help me? Beverly

bruce
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bruce

Dan and Dave,

I had a detailed question for you but your “contact” page does not seem to be working; there is no form to fill out where the text suggests there should be one.

Kris
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Kris

I was recently given my freedom from my place of employment after 16+ years. I have returned to school seeking a new degree in energy management. I am in Massachusetts and took advantage of the financial plan laid out by S.P.R. that enables the people of the commonwealth to install a system for essentially $0 out of pocket. This information gave me the ammunition to win a debate in class and gave me an A for the assignment. Do you have a Marketing Strategy? I would like to summarize it for another class. Thank you for what you do. I… Read more »

Steven Carp
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Steven Carp

Your website contact forms for installers ect. are not functioning. We are a company with solar panels, as well as soon to be release new solar and hydrogen fuel technology. We are looking for investors (take advantage of the 30% tax credit) and installations.

Barry
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Barry

I love the solar information on the site, but the political party bashing is really a put off. Both parties are full of thieves and power brokers not just one of them. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Any one who believes or sells the premise that one political party is better for America than the other is just being fooled by the party they’ve chosen. If you want your local tax dollars to stay local then push for a huge reduction in federal power returning it to the people and the states like the founders intended.Such blue against red discussion is… Read more »

Hartlett
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Hartlett

Hi Dan

Mella
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Mella

Dear Dan, I am a 35-year-old massage therapist in Santa Fe, NM. I’ve been reading and learning about solar power since November of last year and am hopeful to enter the Solar movement as a bright and enthusiastic professional salesperson. I’ve been away from sales and marketing for about 8 years, but at one time, was a very passionate member of a sales team with a 13-state territory in the natural foods industry (before the devolution of co-op distribution). I’m enjoying your article on entering the Solar field (August, 2008) and am looking forward to attending a SEI workshop in… Read more »

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