The unique and dedicated team of people who work at Sol Systems have been a key part of our success over the past 11 years. The driven, talented group of industry professionals have created resourceful financing mechanisms for the solar industry and thousands of individual projects. In our employee spotlights, we give you an inside look at some of the incredible work our team members have been doing. In this feature, we sat down with the Director of Portfolio Management for Sol Systems’ Asset Management group, Lars Olson, to hear about his experiences and opportunities at Sol Systems.
1. What brought you to Sol Systems?
Prior to working at Sol Systems, I worked at the Department of Energy (DOE), focusing on renewable energy and debt. I had previously worked with my current coworkers James Machulak and Bartley Higgins, a time in which I found interest in tax equity. This opened an opportunity to learn more about what was, at the time, a new financial tool that was unfamiliar to me.
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in renewable energy?
Growing up, I was always concerned about climate change and the environment. When I was in my twenties, I decided to go back to grad school and focus on energy so that I could directly address climate change issues through renewable energy. I took a renewable energy project development class along with similar coursework. Because energy systems are often a natural monopoly and with the provision of technology, there’s a lot of economic theory and thinking that goes into how the system is supposed to work that paired well with my already-existing interest in economics.
3. What drew you to solar energy in particular?
When I was at the DOE, I happened to be put on solar projects, which was very interesting. Although I am open to all fields of renewable, clean energy, what draws me to solar energy is its versatility as compared to wind or geothermal energy. Over time, it offered to solve a whole new set of problems. Problem solving is my favorite part of the equation because you are always faced with a challenge that needs a logical solution.
4. What is your favorite part about working at Sol Systems?
I really like the team. It is a pleasure to work with everybody here because they are genuine and easy to be around.
5. What are your thoughts on the future of the solar industry?
Eventually, I hope solar becomes so inexpensive and easy to set up that none of us have jobs. What this means is when someone sites a house or builds a new roof, it automatically comes with solar. This way, we don’t have to spend so much time and effort doing what we do. We can deploy tons of solar and solve other issues that require more attention.
6. Do you have any tips for people wanting to get involved in renewable energy?
My two points of advice are to take advantage of networking opportunities and to take classes in renewable energy that can help you further understand the industry. From there, you can develop your specific interests and skills into a job within renewables. Figuring out how to use my interests was a big deciding factor for me when choosing my career path.
7. Outside of Sol Systems, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to play music, so I taught myself the drums over the last year. Learning a skill such as playing a musical instrument in your thirties is interesting, as you forget what that experience is like to feel your body adapting and learning. Other than that, I enjoy cooking and have recently began foraging mushrooms.
Are you interested in joining the Sol System’s family? Visit our careers page to see which careers opportunities we are currently offering.
ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS
Sol Systems, a national solar finance and development firm, delivers sophisticated, customized services for institutional, corporate, and municipal customers. Sol is employee-owned, and has been profitable since inception in 2008.
Over the last ten years, Sol Systems has delivered 800 MW of solar projects for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, universities, churches, and small businesses. Sol now manages over $650 million in solar energy assets for utilities, banks, and Fortune 500 companies.
Inc. 5000 recognized Sol Systems in its annual list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for four consecutive years. For more information, please visit www.solsystems.com