by Jeff Risley
Editor's Note: We first introduced the Risley Diaries - accounts of solar industry events by our CMO Jeff Risley - back in October, with the SPI Diaries. This month, the Risley Diaries return with an up-close account of MOSEIA's Annual Conference, recently hosted in St. Louis, Missouri.
The 2013 Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association (MOSEIA) annual conference was held February 1-2 at Washington University in St. Louis. It was my first meeting, and judging by the growth of our membership, the first meeting for many others as well. More than 120 solar-industry business owners, suppliers, and partners gathered to network, learn, and debate about our industry.
This year’s theme highlighted the large number of jobs the solar-energy industry has created in Missouri. According to the Brookings Institute, more than 1,200 Missourians work in the solar industry, ranking it 6th in the country for solar jobs. More than 30 solar-energy businesses call Missouri home.
Blake Jones, president and co-founder of Namaste Solar in Colorado, was the highlight for me. Listening to him was a bit like riding a roller coaster: exciting and scary at the same time. His candid story about the challenges of growing a small business while nurturing the budding solar industry in Colorado gave me hope that we can survive and thrive in our state as well.
Namaste has installed more than 2,000 solar-electric systems throughout Colorado. The 9-year-old company has also earned widespread recognition for its business practices. In February 2009, Jones had the honor of introducing President Barack Obama in Denver before he signed the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bill.
Students Emily Vandivert and Aaron Enz — representatives of the Missouri University of Science and Technology Solar House team — gave a wonderful presentation about the stunning new “Chameleon House” they are creating. Comprised of more than 70 students, the team designs, funds and builds a net zero home and will enter it into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Brightergy principal Susan Brown took home the MOSEIA Solar Pioneer Award this year. Susan’s tireless work as a MOSEIA board member, SEIA board member, and an advocate for the industry has not gone unnoticed. We’re proud to have her on our team.
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