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Career Connections: Energy Analyst

6 minutes

My name's Peter Kachenko. I'm the Director of Operations at Third Sun Solar. We install residential, commercial, and industrial solar systems. We mount solar panels on roofs, we create energy, and we allow customers to create energy that's returned to the grid. Solar is growing in Ohio, so we have anywhere from six to fifteen installers. Some are small companies and some are big companies. There's a lot of electricians. There's a lot of laborers installing. But there's not a lot of energy analysts who understand power usage and the financials to actually sell the systems. A big challenge is not installing the systems, it's creating the package that financially works for the customer that makes them purchase the systems. So we need more educated salesmen. We need more educated energy analysts to be able to build these packages and design these systems to financially make sense. They would need a good understanding of math, a good understanding of energy and power and how energy and electricity works. It's real crucial to understand power usage and what power means. There's a lot of math and financials involved. They're expensive systems, so we need to estimate what the systems will produce and calculate a payback so that it financially makes sense. We need to be able to make a model that there's a financial payback. We need to get it right. We need to make sure that we plan for production. Solar is based on a lot of variables on production, so we analyze how much power the system will produce in a year. We have take in to account sunny and cloudy days. We take an average estimate of how much power these solar systems will produce and compare that to how much energy the home or business owner uses and make sure that those equations match each other. I enjoy seeing customer's meters spin backward. So when we fully install a system and it produces energy and their meter spins backward, they're selling power instead of buying power. That's the big thing that makes you smile. I like seeing customer's utility bills. They email them in. They have a $1.00 or a $0.00 utility bill. So those are the good parts. Parts that aren't as interesting are sitting down crunching the numbers sometimes. There's a lot of computer time reviewing financial numbers, trying to make things work for customers financially. That part can be the less exciting part of things. Accounting and science would be the two major courses. I would study accounting, learn how to use Excel, learn how to use math programs. Those math equations I thought I'd never use in high school, I use them regularly in the industry here. Energy's complicated because it's power over time, which makes it complicated. It's not just a flat equation. You need to have a thorough understanding of how power is created over time and how that equates to usage and need. 'Cause at the end of the day, energy is dollars. The market's driven by money. Everybody wants to save money, so we need cheaper solutions for energy. You need to understand financing and how financing works with the energy market. Knowing how to build math formulas and knowing how to put numbers, packages, and finances together would help a ton. So if you could do anything in the accounting world and the personal finance world, take courses in personal finance, shadow an accountant, that would help. Sharpen your pencil. Be smart, study a lot, know your formulas, know what you're talking about. The biggest mistake people can make is overestimating production or making your cost too cheap or too expensive. Both can be-- If you analyze something being cheaper than it really is, you're putting out a false concept, people become disappointed and then turns them off. If it's too expensive, nobody will go for it, and you won't make any sales or move the industry where you want. My advice is keep a sharp pencil, get your numbers as tight as possible, and pay attention.

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Meet Peter Kachenko, director of operations at Third Sun Solar, and find out how to prepare for a career as an energy analyst. Math, accounting, and science are key topics to focus on when preparing to enter this profession. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 6 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
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Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12