Thursday, May 19, 2011

New blog: NEPA Solar

OK.  I'm gradually coming to terms with my situation.  I'm realizing that manufacturing is dead in this area, or very nearly so, and the skills I learned in Statistical Process Control, Continuous Improvement, and Total Quality Management may be of less relevance to prospective employers than I would like. Same with my more than nineteen years of experience in industry. And my degree in Physics is only a B.S., and more than twenty years old.

But I can write. And I can blog. And I think I can communicate scientific ideas to people with non-scientific backgrounds.  So that's something.

From March 1990 through August 1991 I was employed by a company called AstroPower in Newark, Delaware.  We made solar cells and solar panels.  I started off in the "surface prep" department, and later moved on to grading and processing silicon wafers - scrap purchased from the semiconductor industry - into raw substrates for the manufacture of solar cells. Eventually I was put in charge of the grading and processing group.  It was fun, it was interesting, and it barely paid enough to cover the rent.  After my second year's lease was up, I left Delaware to return yo Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I've retained my fascination with the photovoltaic industry, and I would love to get involved with it again.  In the past I lobbied Senator Specter and Representative Kanjorski to bring solar manufacturing jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania, but to no avail.  I doubt they even heard me.

Even though we don't have any solar manufacturers in this area, we do have quite a few solar distributors and suppliers, and a lot of people looking for information about solar energy.  We have college professors specializing in the subject, and people involved in the profession who would love to expand their knowledge base. But, frustratingly, there's no good centralized source for information on solar energy in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

I decided to change that.

I started off this blog with an introductory statement and some links to solar sales and installation companies throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.  I intend to add information on things like SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) as well as links to solar energy forums and other sources of information on solar power. I have plans beyond this - I mean, if gas drillers can have the Marcellus Shale Alliance, why shouldn't solar power providers have a similar industry group? Maybe with connections to those academics who specialize in solar energy? I think I need to start making some phone calls...

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