Kara Blankenship of WindSolarUSA
Today in our “Meet the Team” series (see our previous interview with subcontracting solar electrician Brian Rachford here), freelance writer Allison Ruedig chats with Kara Blankenship, the main sales consultant and office manager for WindSolarUSA.
Kara’s already led us through the three essential models that every prospective solar customer needs to make an informed decision (see previous article here) but for today, she’s going to tell us a bit about herself, her own solar education, and what it’s like to work at WindSolarUSA!
(This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.)
A: From the looks of your website biography, you are really busy – you’re furthering your own solar energy education in addition to taking care of a lot for WindSolarUSA.
So how and why did you become interested in solar energy?
Kara: I knew Michelle Knox, owner of WindSolarUSA, prior to working with her, so I was actually brand-new to the solar industry and didn’t know much about it at all, at first! I came on with WindSolarUSA when she was looking to expand and, since unfortunately the company that I worked for previously had closed down, I was looking for work. Since we have the same work ethic, it’s worked out really well.
A: Great! Can you explain more about that shared work ethic?
Kara: We’re both very efficient, which works out well for a small company like WindSolarUSA, where it’s just Michelle and myself. In addition, we both like to stay busy in all aspects of the company. We mesh really well together and work really well together, so I’ve learned a lot in the two years I’ve been with her.
A: It looks like you have – your examples of power bill analysis, aerial projections, and cost models (see previous article here) shows that you really know what you’re doing.
I also noticed that you’re taking classes with the Midwestern Renewable Energy Association (MREA). What are those classes like, and what are you learning in them?
Kara: So far, I’ve taken Photovoltaics (PV) 101, which I did through MREA’s online program. Their online courses are cool because you can actually have interactive webinars, so I did that in the very beginning of 2017.
Then, since Michelle is an MREA-certified instructor, I was able to take her PV 201 class at Lincoln Land.
The information I’ve learned from those classes helps with work I’m often already doing on a daily basis while on the job at WindSolarUSA. Taking MREA classes also gives me an opportunity to prove my solar-related knowledge by earning their certificates.
A: Finally, I was wondering – what are some of your favorite projects on a day-to-day basis?
Kara: I do so many things! I take care of all the back-office paperwork and bookkeeping, for example, in addition to making and presenting solar quotes to prospective customers. But learning how to actually do the power bill analysis and the array projections (hyperlink to previous article) have definitely been two of the most enjoyable things I’ve learned while working at WindSolarUSA.
Flat roof aerial projection, created by Kara Blankenship of WindSolarUSA
I enjoy the array projections in particular because it’s nice to play with the designs. Not only do we want to fit as many panels as we can – as much as the customer’s consumption needs – but we also want their array to be aesthetically pleasing as well. So, it’s cool to see that design I do on the computer come to life as we actually complete the installation.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk, Kara!
To find out more about Kara’s work at WindSolarUSA, including an in-depth look at the process of making a solar quote, go here.
And don’t forget that you can receive a free solar quote for your own building from Kara Blankenship and Michelle Knox at WindSolarUSA; just contact them here, call them at 217-825-4206, or email them firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Allison Ruedig is a freelance writer and editor for businesses creating a greener, more sustainable future. She specializes in solar energy; say hi to her at linkedin.com/in/allison-ruedig and allisonswords.com!