Meet Abby: Seattle Solar Client Turned Solar Sales Consultant
We had a lovely virtual Q&A with Abby Suplizio, a West Seattle resident and Sun Path Seattle solar client turned Solar Sales Consultant. Abby, a longtime environmental advocate, was also the West Seattle chapter lead for CoolMom, a local mom-focused climate non-profit, when her kids were young. While CoolMom is no longer active, Abby is thrilled to continue her environmental advocacy work through solar and energy efficiency education.
1. How did getting a solar system help with shifting to new work opportunities?
When we added solar to our home two years ago, it was an experience that opened up my eyes to the solar industry in Seattle and to the larger benefits renewable energy provides. I was happy that our solar system was contributing in a good way to the future of our planet. When I shared with friends and neighbors that we had had panels installed on our roof, every single one of them responded with a resounding “thank you!” I came to understand that this wasn’t just about my family and our electric bill being lowered, it was about all people on the planet and that through going solar, we had moved the needle a bit closer to a more sustainable climate. Just over a year later, when the Covid pandemic hit, my long-time career in the travel industry dissolved, and I had to refocus my job search. My immediate inclination was to do something with the environment, which I’ve always been passionate about. Since I had already been educated on solar with Sun Path Electric, and with our own solar installation still fresh in my mind, becoming a solar consultant seemed a natural progression.
2. Why do you believe the shift to clean energy is important?
The clean energy movement is essential. We must shift to clean energy if humans are going to survive and thrive. There is no other way to move forward. Period. More and more people are waking up to the fact that climate chaos is happening all over the world and are realizing that small shifts in temperature are causing fires and devastating storms. Knowing we can actually slow down man-made climate change by making different decisions and changing laws keeps me more upbeat. Solar helps the environment and the economy at the same time.
3. What is it like working in the solar industry during Covid?
I’ve found there are definite ups and downs of working in the solar industry during the pandemic. On the plus side, without the time burden of commuting to work and driving kids to school and sports, people now have more time to research home projects. If solar had been on the backburner for a while, this has been a great time to get a couple of quotes and research options. Also stocks are doing well right now and innovation is high while people and businesses explore new and different ways to live and work. On the down side, depending on what industry one works in, there is a scary feeling of the unknown which can make some clients feel insecure. Solar is a big investment and there is some hesitancy right now to commit to larger home projects. I also personally look forward to the day when I can meet people inside their homes and have these important solar conversations face-to-face, without a mask! Phone and video calls are great, as are distanced porch visits with masks, but they don’t really replace in-person visits.
4. What would you like to share with anyone interested in working in the solar industry?
It’s such an exciting and rewarding career! Educating people on the benefits of solar and seeing the lightbulb go off for them, just like it did for me, and knowing I’ve helped another person perpetuate the health of the planet is rewarding. And then they tell a friend or a neighbor and those people go solar and on and on. Keep in mind that there is a learning curve to become familiar with the design software and different solar components. Finding the perfect match between the shape and angle of a roof and the appropriate panel is something that gets better with practice, so don’t give up, as it may take several times to find your rhythm. The job is a definitely a bonus for folks who like flexibility in the workplace and prefer to work directly with clients.