During a site visit to Stoneridge Apartments for a community solar installation, Tyshaun Turner, a solar installer for New Columbia Solar, took some time to share his thoughts about his role and the Department of Energy & Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All program currently being operated by the DCSEU.
Q: Can you tell us about the work you’re doing here at this apartment building?
A: Today we’re finishing the balancing system and making sure everything is weighed down. So, the system won't blow away and it'll be able to sustain stability on top of the roof, and make sure that the portion of the weight is spread out. That way, it won't cause any integrity problems with the roof. We’re also finishing the balancing of the system, so it won’t fly off the roof.
Q: How did you get involved in the solar industry?
A: I made the solar industry apart of my life about three years ago when I joined Solar Works DC. The program was DC based and that’s what I liked because I’m a DC native myself. I went through the training program for roughly 12 weeks. After that, I was hired here [at New Columbia Solar] immediately.
Q: As a DC native, how does it make you feel to see solar being installed across the District and knowing that it will help residents lower their utility bills?
A: I think it’s good for everybody honestly. But it’s also good for low-income based areas as well. It’s always good to help people out who need it.
Q: How hard was the training you had to go through to prepare for this job?
A: Every I just woke up with the mindset that I was trying to learn something about the career that I want to be in for the next foreseeable future. To me, it wasn’t that hard because I was dedicated.
Q: As an installer, why do you think Solar for All is important to the District and the people who work in the solar industry?
A: Solar for All is important for DC and the solar industry for multiple reasons. Mainly because a lot of people are unaware and ignoring that climate change is a problem and its not going anywhere unless we do something about it. I think the program is also great for the economy.
Q: What do you want to be in the next five years?
A: I have a step-by-step plan. I would like to see myself in a higher position to implement stronger plans, not just solar. I would like to see more being implemented and be in better position to help. I love being an installer, but I would also like the chance to get out there and connect with people. I would like to be in a position where I can talk about it and build a team around me to help solve more problems.