People of the 10th anniversary Top Solar Contractors list: Thomas Glenn, Solar States

For the 10th anniversary of the Top Solar Contractors list, we’re sharing Q&A’s with the people who make the industry run every day. Read more interviews here.

How’d you get started in solar?

I got started in solar by going through the E3 north program in Philadelphia to obtain my GED. After I got my GED, I went through an internship with the Philadelphia Youth Network, putting me in touch with a program called Powercorp PHL. I did three cohorts of AmeriCorps service through Powercorp PHL. My fourth cohort was spent working a fellowship with Solar States.

What’s your favorite part about being in the solar industry?

My favorite part about being in the solar industry is the hands-on experience I gain working with electricity. The people I get to interact with on a daily basis in my hometown and getting to meet people from all different walks of life; the complex problems I get to solve working in the inner city installing solar. Not to mention the reward of working in an industry that helps reduce our carbon footprint.

What has surprised you the most about the solar industry in the last 10 years?

I’ve mostly been surprised by how many people have been riding the green wave in this city. The efficiency of solar modules has dramatically increased in the last 10 years while cost has remained relatively the same, making it more suitable for inner-city homes.

What are your solar predictions for the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years I think that the efficiency of solar modules will increase even further and the demand for solar in general will go up as more and more people start getting interested in clean energy.

How’d you/your company stand out in the last year?

Solar States has stood out by completing big-name projects here in the Philadelphia area. Specifically, Yards Brewing, SEPTA’s trolley maintenance facility and Greenfield Manufacturing, just to name a few. We have partnered with Powercorp PHL and OIC in order to provide education to people from lower-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. While doing all of that, we installed 50 low-moderate income projects through a partnership with Philadelphia Energy Authority and the Solar Savings Grant. Solar States hopes the work with this program can be replicated by other installers across the United States to bring solar to lower- and moderate-income residents on a far larger scale.