Renewable Energy

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2013 November 22 11:59
by roma

Phoenix Rising


I dedicate the resurrection of this blog to the thousands of people who perished on November 8, 2013 in the Philippines and especially to Yeb Sano, the Philippines representative to the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw Poland, who is currently on hunger strike.

It has been a long time since I’ve done anything with this blog. Yet, I’m certainly glad I’ve kept it. Much has happened in the nearly 2 years since the last post.

Most notably, I have stopped working for SolarCity. I discovered that I still remember Japanese (went to attend my best Japanese friend Yachiyo’s wedding recently). And I realized that I have it in me to do something extraordinary. The explanation follows.

Even though I’ve been in the epicenter of fighting global warming by bringing clean energy to the Oregon masses for the past 2.5 years, I’ve still maintained interest in progressive economic ideas.
I’ve used the free time I’ve recently acquired to refamiliarize myself with global economics and environmental trends and thoughts. It has become clear to me that global warming is merely a symptom of a much larger affliction.

Our global financial system is based on a model that is fundamentally flawed. Yes, folks, can you imagine that the same system that brought us such joys as the mortgage-backed security debacle and the bank bailout is flawed?

Traditional economic theory fails to recognize that the economy is a SUBSET of our global biosphere. According to neo-classical growth economics, an economy MUST keep growing in order to sustain itself. The truth is that our world economy cannot grow past the limits of our biosphere. I have come to the conclusion that things do not have to be this way. We can change the economic system. Stay tuned for posts detailing exactly we can do this!

I feel blessed to have been exposed to these ideas and feel it is my duty to write about them. As it turns out, most common people do not know how the financial system works. My intent is to teach people about our financial system, offer an alternative and help get a public discussion going. There is currently plenty of interest in this subject.

My ongoing involvement with Toastmasters will help me in teaching people and giving presentations. This blog will in turn flesh out the theory behind the idea of how we can shift to an economy that adheres to physical laws!

Traditional economic principles are entrenched and proposing any change is controversial. Altering the economic system is a long-term endeavor. I’ve recently been inspired by John Lewis, the US Civil Rights leader, who was a proponent of non-violent means to achieve change in society.

Despite setbacks throughout a period of 10 years where he endured beatings and jail-time during non-violent protests, John Lewis did not compromise his principles:

I was devastated, but I was not despondent. I refused to let myself become bitter. I’ve always refused to do that. I can get angry – I have gotten angry many, many times in my life – but I never let my anger overwhelm me. I made up my mind a long time ago that I would not let bitterness and hate engulf me, which they so easily can. When I first go involved in the movement as a teenager, I recognized that this struggle was going to be long, hard and tedious, and that I would have to pace myself and be patient where necessary, while continuing to push and push and push, no matter what.
John Lewis, Walking with the Wind, p. 284

The struggle for civil rights was extremely difficult and dangerous, but starkly different than the endeavor to change our economic system. I hope John Lewis’ courage and commitment to principles give me courage to be strong!

2012 February 1 14:12
by roma

When You Run Into the Wall, Turn Right


Two weeks ago I gave a speech at my EcoVoices Toastmasters club. The objective of the speech was to use words skillfully to convey an idea (use short words, get rid of jargon, be specific), incorporate rhetorical devices and generally appeal to the senses.

I wrote the speech the same day I was giving it. I was successful in using diction that appealed to all the senses. However, I had many unnecessary words, and my cadence was off. I inserted pauses in the speech where I used to insert filler words like "Uhh".

Since then I've been practicing this speech with the intent of maintaining a steady cadence. The speech is dedicated to Yachi Sakaguchi, my best friend in Japan! Here's the speech:

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2011 October 19 12:32
by roma

Say Uhh!


Wow, so this is what happens when you get a full-time job: no post for a month and a half.

I've been recently focusing on improving my public-speaking skills. Presentations to various Home Depot employees have started to and will continue to make me step my public-speaking game up. Currently, I'm focusing on getting rid of filler words, as well as establishing a nice pace in my speeches.

I suspect that one reason why I tend to use so many filler words when speaking in front of people is that I simply don't have that much experience speaking in front of people. I've got in the habit of inserting these filler words in-between words as I'm scrambling for what to say. This is exacerbated by the fact that I know 3 languages. Over the years, I've diverted lots of attention to Russian and Japanese. This has resulted in a bit of a mess in my hed (or as a "kasha", as it's said in Russia). Now's the time to focus more on English. Weekly attendance at Toastmasters meetings is helping me with this.

2011 September 1 09:39
by roma

Grounding and Results of NABCEP Exam


I finally came back from training at SolarCity's headquarters in the Bay Area. One thing that was waiting for me in the mail were the passing results of the NABCEP Photovoltaic Entry Level Exam.

My joy of passing lasted briefly. I spent two days observing and helping out a little bit with an installation. Reading about installations on paper and then seeing professionals install efficiently in real life are quite different things. I got thoroughly confused by the electrical aspect of the job, especially grounding!

Riley and Dan handling the modules that I handed over to them from the ground

Thank you, Crater Crew!

2011 August 14 23:22
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by roma

Fulltime Job with SolarCity


The goal of the main section of the blog has been to document my breaking into the solar industry in Portland. 

As of tomorrow, I am SolarCity's full-time Field Energy Advisor in Portland.  SolarCity is the largest solar installation company in the US. It is the company that will help further drive down costs and make solar accessible to even more consumers nationwide.

For the next week, I will be in training at SolarCity's headquarters in San Mateo, California.  Upon my return to Portland, I will be talking with customers at various Home Depot stores about Solarcity products.  Additionally, I will be educating Home Depot employees about SolarCity services so that they can sell these to customers.

Friday was my last day at RS Energy. Working there was fun!  Thanks Koa, David, Billy, Michael, Chet, Jason, Cathy, Ari and my wonderful fellow Russians, Masha and Eila!

In a sense, stage one of my mission has been completed.  As such, I will probably scale back my blog posts, especially in light of the fact that I signed confidentiality agreements with SolarCity.

Then again there is still so much to learn about solar and about sales.  The journey has only begun. 
I will write about the direction the blog takes in the coming weeks, after settling into my new job.