Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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Week 7

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 4:10 pm

Please check out our website and provide feedback:

Also, we would appreciate learning from your experience with search engine optimization.
Our project installation is progressing through final stages this week. We plan to host a renewable energy learning session for agribusiness (focused on poultry farmers) at Shelton Vineyards 8/16. If you know any poultry farmers, please have them email

Weeks 5 & 6

Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:56 am

Our 5kW project is moving along smoothly. We’ve had to “pivot” about three times so far due to challenges with design versus build, utility interconnection rules, and enphase monitoring equipment. It has been interesting and exciting. The conduit is run, two installments are paid, subcontractors are responsive and professional, and we hope to utilize media to record and publish some of the project. Our first residential case study was finalized for review today, the website is functional online for computers and mobile devices, and we’re contacting locales to host an agricultural lunch-and-learn session with a proposed target date in early August. We have a fantastic team and I feel thankful for this experience.

Week 4

Friday, July 6, 2012 1:27 am

We have a signed contract in hand (hooray) and are finalizing negotiations of terms with suppliers and subcontractors. We will install and commission the 4.8kW system we designed for a new residence just outside of Charlotte. Keiger printing did a beautiful job with our business cards on heavy recycled stock with organic flecks. Editing website content has proven to be a slow and laborious process, but we’re making steady progress. An accountant will help make sure our book setup is “ship-shape” tomorrow. Then, we will have about a week of final planning and preparation before the project work begins in earnest. We’re also working to make inroads and connections for a potential co-hosted lunch-and-learn about solar for agriculture with NCSEA.

Week 3

Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:12 am

One of my mentors told me, “there’s sales, and there’s everything else.” We hustled to make a sale, and this week, we landed our first customer! While we don’t yet have the signed contract, we got a verbal commitment. We’ve been working through logistic to finalize our North Carolina General Contractors license, but that will not pose a stumbling block for us yet because this project is below $30,000. For most cities, this only requires a “Privilege License.” Little known fact: you need a privilege license to operate a business in Winston Salem. While nobody at the City may have a clue what you’re asking about, if you call to inquire about rates, it is, in fact, required. We paid are $10 and are official. Now on to finalizing subcontractor agreements, sourcing materials for the design we’re generating, buying a giant ladder….”everything else.”

Week 2

Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:19 pm

Over the past week, I’ve been learning to use Google Sketchup, WordPress, Skitch, and InkScapes to design our logo and create the basic skeleton for our website. The process has been slow, but I am happy with the progress and am hopeful to publish a few basic pages by the end of this week. For our logo, we went with an interpretation of the pecan leaf, representing renewable generally, and symbolizing our Texas roots, and hearty and fruitful nature. Incidentally, pecan trees also symbolize money and employment! If anyone has experience in auction/crowdsourced graphic or web design, I would love to connect with you to learn form your experience.

Week One

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:37 pm

I am working with my husband on a bootstrapped startup solar venture to provide turnkey solutions including sourcing, design, installation, commissioning, and assistance with tax incentives and interconnection agreements to residential and commercial customers in the Piedmont Triad area. I’ve been working on a lot of organizational issues (EIN, DUNS, contracts, incorporation, etc) so that we can legally conduct business. We’ve had our first client meeting, and I really need a logo! If anyone has experience designing logos – or conducting a bid for logo design, please contact me. My other priority is website design. I’ll be using WordPress.
This week, I also went to Raleigh for the NC Sustainable Energy Association lobby day. The REPS that were included in Senate Bill 3 and the state tax incentives offered for solar are vital to our business. Being registered to vote, getting to know your representatives, and staying informed as an advocate are important aspects of being a renewable energy entrepreneur.

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