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YPiE Spotlight: Meet Jason Plant

Name: Jason Plant

Title: Co-Founder & CEO

City/Town of Residence:

Sanbornton, NH

Education: BA in Business Administration: Option in Entrepreneurship from University of NH

Why did you decide to work in the renewable/clean/clean energy industry?

The co-founding of Green Lightning Energy stems from a shared vision between myself and my co-founder, Kadin Burns. Our journey began when both of our mothers sought the financial benefits and environmental advantages of solar energy but were met with prohibitively expensive quotes from all of the solar providers they consulted with.

Determined to bridge this accessibility gap, we set out to put together solar projects for both of our mothers ourselves. During this process, we discovered that we could provide the same high-quality solar PV systems as the name-brand installers, but for significantly lower prices. Successfully delivering on our commitment to get our mothers an affordable path to going solar, we saved my mom $30,000 and Kadin’s mom $20,000 from their next best bids. Following this experience, Green Lightning Energy was born to expand the mission, extending the same value to empower homeowners with affordable, high-quality solar solutions.

What interested you in working at your current employer?

Being an entrepreneur is filled with constant challenges, rigor, and learning opportunities. I became an entrepreneur because I believe that business can used as an incredible vehicle for driving positive social and environmental impact. By making solar more affordable, not only do we save homeowners a lot of money, but we also make it possible for more homeowners to get solar in the first place, thus eliminating carbon emissions that otherwise couldn't have been. I have immensely enjoyed the process of growing this venture, from conducting sales all the way to learning about the in's and out's of solar technologies.

Describe the work you do in more detail.

As a founder, no two days are the same, but I spend most of my time communicating with partners (i.e. electricians, SolarReviews, and suppliers) and customers. In a typical day, I call 15 - 20 potential customers that indicated they were interested in learning more about solar. This is my favorite part of the day, because I truly enjoy speaking with homeowners and answering questions about what solar could offer them. I also spend a good deal of time learning more about solar technologies including the latest technological advancements and techniques for how to maximize the energy output of a solar array.

What aspect of your job excites you most? Why?

My favorite part of my job is hands-down speaking with homeowners about the benefits of solar. It is so exciting to work with people navigate the beginning of their solar journey, and be able to help them learn about how solar works. Often, customers we speak with realize that solar can be significantly more affordable than they originally thought. It is so motivating to me knowing that we could be a part of saving a given customer tens of thousands of dollars in electricity and reducing their carbon footprint astronomically. I am a strong believer that most problems have win-win solutions and I feel that solar is an incredible tool to create such win-win solutions for homeowners.

What makes you hopeful about the clean energy transition in New Hampshire?

More and more solar companies are entering the market, which in the long-term will drive prices down for homeowners. There is a huge untapped market of homeowners who want solar but simply cannot afford the upfront costs associated with adopting it, and as prices decrease, it will open up opportunities for these homeowners to be a part of the clean energy transition. Education on how solar works and what its benefits are is also a key ingredient for accelerating this transition, and I see organizations like Clean Energy NH as crucial players in informing the public. We are working to do our part to advance education on clean energy by producing video and written content that explores the common questions and myths about solar.

What do you believe is the most pressing challenge that lies ahead for the clean energy industry in the state?

I think the most difficult challenges for the clean energy industry in our state unfortunately stem from national policy and federal decisions that are largely out of our control. For example, with heightened interest rates, the financing for commercial and residential solar installations alike becomes less affordable. The upcoming policy of increased tariffs on imported Chinese solar panels is a double-edged sword, as it helps US and European-based solar manufacturers be more competitive on price, but the primary impact on homeowners is going to be increased prices across the board as the increased demand for US and European-made solar panels will drive up prices considerably. Hopefully, in the long-term this policy will incentivize greater production of US and European-made panels, which in combination with continued technological advances in solar energy efficiency, should deflate prices over time.

What interested you most about being part of YPiE? (Young Professionals in Energy)

I thoroughly enjoy being surrounded by people with common values and interests, and Young Professionals in Energy presents an amazing opportunity to meet such people. I am also a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel in business; if we can create partnerships and collaborations that efficiently leverage all of our collective strengths and resources to make a positive impact, I'd immensely prefer that to a more competitive, adversarial way of interacting with other players in the industry. I feel that YPiE effectively encourages a culture of collaboration to create a better future, and that is just another of the many reasons why I would love to be a part of YPiE.

What advice would you give to someone that is new to the industry or fresh out of college?

Don't be afraid to reach out to others in the industry for mentorship or support. The industry is filled with people who are here to make an impact, and helping other people succeed in making their desired impact is one of the best ways to do that. Another thing to consider is that if you want to holistically solve a problem, it is best to communicate with all of the stakeholders your organization or proposed solution would effect. Let your stakeholders guide you to what needs to be done to advance progress. Coming into any new industry, the barriers to progress often come not just from the way the industry is structured, but from the interests that resist change. As soon as you build relationships with and understand each stakeholder, you can begin to see why things are structured the way they are and start to find your own win-win solutions that satisfy the needs of all stakeholders while still advancing progress.

What do you like to do when you aren't working?

I love reading, traveling, and playing soccer. My biggest travel recommendation is to visit Tanzania. The wildlife is absolutely stunning, the culture is incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of getting outside of my comfort zone.

What's on your bucket list?

I want to visit Australia to go shark cage diving and see the Great Barrier Reef.

Tell us one thing most people don't know about you.

Though I cannot afford to do it often, I love going skydiving!

Fun Facts:

Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it?

Tea! I especially like ginger tea with maple syrup or honey as a sweetener.

Fave NH Restaurant?

Green Ginger in Tilton NH! I am a huge Chinese food fan and this is the best place in the NH by far!

Fave Musician/Band/Music genre?

Kid Cudi!

Fav Recreational activity?

Playing soccer!

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