MCJ Collective Newsletter
My Climate Journey
MCJ Skilled Labor Series: Solar Installation with Andy Martinez

MCJ Skilled Labor Series: Solar Installation with Andy Martinez

*This episode is part of our new Skilled Labor Series hosted by MCJ partner, Yin Lu. This series is focused on amplifying the voices of folks from the skilled labor workforce, including electricians, farmers, ranchers, HVAC installers, and others who are on the front lines of rewiring our infrastructure.

To kick off our new Skilled Labor Series, this episode is co-hosted by Yin Lu and Sam Steyer, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenwork, with guest Andy Martinez, PV Field Performance Technician at Sunrun

The solar market represents approximately 5% of the current U.S. energy mix. While this may seem insignificant, the industry is expected to grow at a record pace in coming years, especially following the Inflation Reduction Act. But to reach the clean electricity goals set by President Biden, employment in solar-related positions will need to exceed 900,000 workers by 2035

Greenwork is facilitating this transition by helping climate tech companies build their construction teams, both by adding new employees and by partnering with local specialty contractors like Andy. After attending electrical trade school, Andy landed a job with Sunrun as has been with the company for 4 years. 

In this conversation, Yin and Sam learn about Andy’s background and how he started working with Sunrun. We learn about his day-to-day experience as a field performance technician and where Andy sees his career progressing in the space. Like any job, we also hear about some of the challenges Andy faces and how he continues to overcome them while maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook. We cannot create a clean energy future without people like Andy, and are extremely grateful for him sharing his story and inspiring others.

☀️ Our next MCJ Ask-Me-Anything is this Wednesday 10/05 with Andy Martinez and Sam Steyer. They’ll be answering your questions about solar, skilled labor and how to meet electrification demands! RSVP here.

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • [1:49] Intro to Sam and Greenwork 

  • [3:30] Andy's background and experience as a field technician at Sunrun 

  • [5:09] Andy's educational journey toward becoming a solar installer 

  • [6:05] The Sunrun interview process and employee training 

  • [7:56] A typical day for Andy as a solar installer 

  • [9:32] Some day-to-say frustrations, including disconnections between sales and field work

  • [11:59] How Andy views the environmental factor of his work

  • [12:57] Where climate change fits in when communicating customers 

  • [15:36] The evolution in solar technology 

  • [20:04] What's working in terms of companies building construction and installation teams 

  • [23:42] Importance of treating contractors like a second customer 

  • [24:52] What Andy wishes more people knew about solar installation work 

  • [28:16] Andy's future career path 

  • [29:32] Jobs needed to meet electrification demands in the US 

  • [30:43] How to get more people into trade schools 

  • [32:57] Initial challenges of the job and how to overcome them

  • [36:27] The little things that keep Andy optimistic and happy at work 

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

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Episode recorded on September 7, 2022.

MCJ Collective Newsletter
My Climate Journey
A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.