When we look at things around us we think, can I trust this bridge, can I trust this car? Are we in an industry that is trustworthy? Have done enough to warrant the claims? Have we created a solid foundation? And so on and so on, as we go about our lives, business and personal. This trust is based on a few things, this may vary according to your belief system, but I think it goes like this: I can see touch and feel, so therefore I trust, I can see and someone I trust has told me it’s ok so I trust and then maybe we have experienced something similar and so we trust.
I sat here at my computer last week and even question my trust in what I was saying, and then I thought. Hey this is just a blog, not a novella to be reviewed by scholarly persons high up in some tower. But then again it going to be reviewed by some of my peers and some of you, that I hope have an opinion about this industry we call alternative energy. So I decided that whatever I write is what I write, I trust that it will stimulate your cortex. If not, oh well there is always next week.
Getting back to the main topic of this little ditty, trust in our industry. Our experience forms our trust; the experiences of those we trust form our trust. So you may ask you self (where did I get this beautiful wife? An 80 reference) what does this have to do with energy, well let me tell you a story.
It begins with a solar company, they have a good technology, not a great technology, and they begin operations. All goes well, they ask some investors for money, they get want they want and the ball is rolling. Inside the organization there is a bit of trepidation, small things are beginning to go wrong, then it starts to get worse. Then out of the blue, some new it was coming, the organization goes under leaving a scar on the industry, investors, media, politics and the former staff. Now what do we do, we pile on, we point the finger at all that they should have done all that they could have done. Fine, that is all well and good if you like that sort of thing, I for one do not. I have been that organization and I have been that organization. Here is where we can step in, remember the trust thing, and keep that in your head for a little while longer. The story can be told a hundred ways; yes business fail for a lot of reason and that will continue to happen. I am sure you can add a few of your own.
Here is my point, trust was lost and trust was miss-used that is a fact in the story and that trust will need to be rebuilt and it will, someday. But our industry was hurt as well, damage to the ability for the next guy to raise funds, the next project to get off the ground and all of that other stuff. So what are we doing to rebuild that trust, that belief that we are doing the right thing? Do we pile on and say that will never be me that will never happen on my watch or do we look at the process and try to imagine a different outcome and move our industry forward? I don’t know about you but when I run into a person, in a good way, on the street and they ask me what I do for a business and I say I am in the energy business working in solar and they respond with, “That does not work, that company that went out of business shows that it does not work.” I get a bit annoyed, at myself and at you, yes you, yeah you the person reading this blog entry. We need to a better job of rebuilding the trust by pointing out all of the good that is being done all the great advancements in solar and the great things that have been accomplished over the years. And stop pointing to the other guy and using them as the current whipping boy of the media, we are better than that.
I know I have written about over regulation and the mountains of paper work and inefficiencies in the process. I have written about the need for standards in the project planning and definition part of our business, and I am sure you can come to the conclusion that I am just whiner, well maybe, that is your opinion, I am just trying to get us all to think a bit clearer and a bit more big picture, like understanding our surroundings. When we talk about our business we need to rebuild trust in all parties and that begins with all of us taking a look at how we can do that in our daily lives, now I am not trying to preach here, I can do that later, I am saying that we need a stable foundation of trust to be built so we can have a profitable industry and the process starts with us, me and you.
When I look at just a few headlines over the past week I get refreshed and renewed, I tell people the good news and I push our industry to do better. Here are a few that sparked my interest:
US Bancorp Backs $250 Million Solar Fund: First Solar Up 21%, One Day After Australia Deal: U.S. Solar Installations Climb 85% In Q1: AGL To Develop A $450 Million Solar Project In NSW, Australia: First Solar Leads Rebound In Energy Stocks
Now that sounds like good news and that sounds like we have the ability to regain trust, well do we? I don’t know I just pose the questions, you provide the answers. I know it is not that simple it never is, but we can start, we can think about it. Through our experience we create the atmosphere for trust, let get see where that leads us.