Joel Starling

Success Story: Joel Starling

Solar Power Technologies

Joel is a mechanical engineer who comes to the solar industry having worked in medical device development and aerospace technology. Joel recently decided to begin a new career in renewable energy and saw Austin as the place best suited to begin this process.

Although he sees Austin as the most promising city in Texas for the clean energy field, Joel says that initially, the sector seemed “impenetrable”. After he took ImagineSolar’s PV201 workshop, however, there were many more opportunities for him.

Joel tells us that as he was interviewing, it was his ImagineSolar coursework that made him stand out to his current employer, Solar Power Technologies. Despite his 22 years as a mechanical engineer, he would not have had the in-depth knowledge of solar PV technology had he not taken ImagineSolar’s PV201 workshop. His work seems to perfectly combine his engineering background and interest in solar power. Solar Power Technologies develops DC to DC optimizers, primarily for commercial and utility-scale solar PV installations. This technology compensates for panel level mismatch found in the strings of an array. This mismatch occurs due to environmental conditions such as soiling and shading, as well as mismatch due to solar panels aging at different rates. They are currently doing extensive field trials to test the technology in the Austin area and have plans to expand to other parts of Texas and the U.S. where large utility-scale solar projects are underway.

Joel is enrolled in the Comprehensive-National Electrician Solar Training (CNEST) scholarship program so all of the workshops in preparation for the NABCEP exam are free. Joel is extremely impressed by the high quality instructors at ImagineSolar and is planning on continuing with our workshops in order to sit for the September, 2011 NABCEP exam.

joel@Austin Energy field trial site Joel Starling