10 Questions for Pisgah Energy President, Evan Becka.
We Asked. He Answered. Now You Know.
1. What inspired you to start Pisgah Energy?
The commercial and industrial sector in solar has historically been under-served compared to residential and utility scale solar markets. Pisgah Energy was formed to help meet the growing demand for solar and energy storage in schools, government and businesses.
Commercial & industrial customers represent over 35% of global energy demand and there’s a real need for expertise in designing solar and storage for these customers to meet their short and long-term energy reduction goals.
I also believe that renewable energy is essential to a healthy future on this planet and Pisgah Energy was founded to realize our clients transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.
2. What’s one thing you love about your job?
As a solar and energy storage project developer that serves commercial customers, no two projects are alike so I get a real thrill from coming up with the perfect solution. In the residential market, 90% of projects will be between 1-20kW and are roof-mounted. In the commercial market, projects range from 20kW-5MW+ and can be installed on the roof, ground, parking lot, parking deck, or floating on a reservoir, so a lot of careful consideration goes into determining the best design and mounting solution.
Customer-sited solar projects are also typically sized to match up against the loads of a facility, so proper sizing is critical for the customer to realize the most savings from solar and for meeting utility compliance.
3. What excites you most about the future of Renewable Energy?
I’m really excited to see the role local government is taking to address climate change. City and County governments are taking a stand on the business-as-usual approach to buying energy and they’re witnessing how solar can power municipal facilities at much less cost than continuing to purchase their electricity from the utility over the next 30+ years.
I’m just really impressed by government leading the charge on these efforts. Climate change doesn’t care about politics but governance can have a real impact on the health and energy security of our communities.
4. You’ve been in the industry a long time, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry or one you appreciate most?
I’ll give you two; policy changes and technological advancement.
On the policy side, the introduction of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2007 was by far the biggest boon for the solar industry. It created markets that didn’t exist before it’s inception and allowed for the solar industry to grow and mature into what it is today.
On the tech side, so much has changed in 20 years that has allowed for technologies to seamless integrate with the way we live without requiring lifestyle changes. Even on the site assessment side, all of the tools we use today to measure solar gain are now software based. Just 20 years ago, we were plotting solar production on a sun-chart using a protractor with a weighted string. Do I sound old now?
5. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I worked at a VHS rental store (remember those?) in college and this particular store had a plethora of B-rated action movies and blaxploitation movies from the 70’s. The store I worked in was really slow and I would basically watch movies like Dolemite, Cleopatra Jones and anything with Charles Bronson all day long.
6. Is there a ‘Next Big Adventure’ you’d like to go on?
John Muir Trail thru-hike in the Sierra Nevadas.
7. Do you have a favorite travel spot?
I love Southern Utah – Escalante, Zion, Bryce. The hoodoos…you know.
8. What kind of music is at the top of your list these days?
I always come back to the stuff I grew up on – Ween, Primus, Nirvana, Mr. Bungle. I’ve also been on a steady rotation of Exotica for a while now – Martin Denny, Les Baxter and Esquivel to name a few – I really dig the rich, full jungle sounds. I checked out the new Lana Del Rey a few weeks ago — it’s pretty dark and sultry. I’m really digging it.
9. What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Van Morrison at the Universal Amphitheater in LA. I think I was 10. My pops and stepmom took me to the show.
10. Off the top of your head, what are three words that describe you?
Burly, Blonde and Bearded.
Learn more about Evan’s work in renewable energy here.