Stories From the Solarhood highlights the stories of individuals who have made solar a part of their lives.

When Andy Smith, a contractor who works with a variety of electricians and solar installers in Kansas City, was first building homes, he didn’t know much about solar. But he wanted to learn.

He went to school to learn more about electrical engineering and attended Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado. Since then he’s been going full speed ahead with the solar industry in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Solar Market

As the solar rebates offered by Kansas City Power & Light dwindled away, Smith says there has been a bit of a drop off of new solar installations. However, he adds that the quality of installations has gone up. “There’s no longer just people throwing panels on anything to get a rebate,” Smith says.

Smith says solar is becoming more mainstream in KC.

“I think we’re going to see more consistent steady growth, and less boomtown stuff going on,” Smith says. “I think there is never a better time to move into solar industry. However, we need to look to more mature markets in Germany and Japan at what has worked.”

Top Learnings from Andy:

  1. Consider coinciding a solar installation with getting a new roof. This can save money and time. Also, you can ensure your roof can structurally support solar panels as well and save future frustrations.
  2. Take an energy audit of your home to see how much energy you can save just by being more efficient (turning off lights when not in the room , unplugging appliances, etc.) This can reduce the overall system size you need.

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