At Sol Systems, our team is our number one asset. Their dedication and passion for bringing creative financing solutions to the solar industry are essential to our company’s success. Our company has experienced a lot of recent growth, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. This month, we sat down with Anna Noucas to discuss her thoughts on Sol Systems and reflect on her time in the industry. Anna is a Senior Associate on the Project Finance team.
What first sparked your interest in renewable energy?
My father has done sustainability work in my hometown, so some interest in the environment came from his influence. However, my interest in renewable energy truly began when I was in college. I was an Environmental Studies major who wanted to focus on combating climate change. Through studying the policy side of environmental science, I came to the realization that renewable energy is the best way of addressing the issue. It’s the concept of mitigation vs. adaptation: mitigation is the more realistic solution in my eyes.
Of all the different types of energy, what stuck out to you about solar?
Wind is really interesting; I went to college in Maine and am from New Hampshire. The University of Maine received a federal grant for an offshore wind project and New Hampshire has almost 200 MW of operating wind capacity, so based on where I’m from, you would think that I would have a stronger interest in wind because of all the activity in that sector up North. Still, solar seems to be a more realistic solution for everyone. It would be easier to convince my parents to put solar on their home than to support a wind farm. Solar is more accessible. Once you put a solar panel on your roof, you can see the impact that it’s making by reducing your electricity bill.
What drew you to Sol Systems in particular as a company?
I was interning on the Hill in D.C. before I came to Sol Systems. In college, I thought the Hill was where I was going to make my mark; I thought I would combat climate change by getting a bill passed to make an impact. Over my three months on the Hill in the summer of 2011, though, the environment was not a strong focus. I liked the content of the work I was doing there – it was important work, especially for Maine; I was interning for Senator Snowe. I just realized that the federal government in particular was not going to move anytime soon to take the steps that I wanted to see taken. That is what I like about the private sector, and specifically Sol Systems. Sol Systems works from the ground up to finance solar projects and provide real results. The work that we do is still policy-related due to the fact that many projects are driven by state incentives, so I could still fill my love for policy while being here. It is fulfilling to work in a place where I can see my impact.
You have been here for three years now and have been able to watch the company grow. How has Sol Systems changed over time?
Sol Systems has changed since I joined in 2011. I was the 10th person to join, and we were in a cramped conference room in an office in downtown DC. In such a small work space, it was really easy to get to know everyone and build meaningful relationships with your coworkers, and that made work fun. Now we are in a bigger office as a 30-person company, and we’re getting close to being cramped into this space.
It is great to see that as we have expanded, we haven’t lost that ability to get to know each other. We have been fortunate to hire people who fit well into our culture. Also, the company’s range of work has grown tremendously. We started as an SREC aggregator and expanded into project finance fairly soon after I joined. In growing, it has been fun to witness our successes and watch ourselves pivot as the solar financing needs of the industry evolve.
You’ve played a lot of different roles at Sol Systems, and now you work with the Project Finance team, focusing on Sol Systems’ debt financing solution. How did you come to find your niche at the company?
I started out in customer service on the SREC side of the business. As our commercial solar project financing solutions expanded, I transitioned to help grow that side of our business. My role evolved over time, and now working on the Debt team is very interesting. I have always been interested in investor relationships and how that fits into financing solar projects, relating to both diligence and analysis. It made me a better person on the Project Finance team because I now understand where the investors are coming from.
What do you enjoy most about working at Sol Systems?
The people. When you enjoy going to work every day, getting gratification from the work you are doing has a lot to do with it; there is satisfaction in closing and financing a deal, knowing that solar panels have gone on someone’s roof because of the work you’ve done. It’s the people that you spend time with every day, though, and knowing they’ll be here, that makes the job easier. Definitely the people.
What does your ideal weekend look like?
I would start the weekend by spending time with my friends and colleagues, enjoying a happy hour or trying out a new restaurant. The rest of the weekend plans would certainly involve some time at the beach, if possible, or any other outdoor activity. Most importantly, the weekend would involve sports and some sort of athletic activity. I would go to a sporting event (preferably involving the Red Sox or any other Boston team) and probably go for a run – I have been an athlete all my life so it’s hard not to be active. D.C. is such a fun city to run around.
About Sol Systems
Sol Systems is a renewable energy finance firm that provides secure, sustainable investment opportunities to investor clients, and sophisticated project financing solutions to developers. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the industry’s most critical solar financing needs, including tax structured investments, capital placement, debt financing, and SREC portfolio management. To date, the company has facilitated financing for thousands of distributed generation solar projects and hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 corporations, utilities, banks, family offices, and individuals. For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.