Q&A With MDV-SEIA Solar Focus “Boots on the Roof” Award-Winner – Paul Collins
Paul Collins is Preventative Maintenance Manager, ME, for Vigilant Energy Management, a Standard Solar company specializing in the operation, maintenance and asset management of solar systems. This past fall, Paul was awarded the Boots on the Roof Award at MDV-SEIA’s Solar Focus Conference.
A five-year veteran of the company, Paul is an integral member of the Vigilant team. In addition to managing an O&M preventative maintenance schedule of over 100MW, Paul also takes the lead on site commissionings, major reactive repairs, and training new employees and site superintendents on best practices in the field. In the last year, Paul achieved both his Maryland Master Electrician License and NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification, spending long hours after work studying for both exams.
We sat down with Paul to learn more about him and what drives his passion for solar.
What first attracted you to the solar industry?
As I continued to work as an industrial electrician, project opportunities became scarcer. The solar industry was on the rise and appeared to have the most growth potential. I was intrigued and ready for a new challenge.
What brought you from Wisconsin to Maryland?
My girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife) wanted to move to the Washington D.C. area once she graduated college, and my Journeyman Electrician License gave me the ability to do electrical work anywhere. With solar booming in the MD and DC area it seemed to be a good fit for us all.
What inspired you to earn your Maryland Master Electrician License and NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification this year, and what has that allowed you to do for Vigilant?
My ultimate goal is to be constantly learning and growing. The Maryland Master Electrician License and NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification are steps on a path of attaining knowledge and skills that I never want to stop traveling. Additionally, I can take this new knowledge and help the company in ways I was unable to previously.
Were you surprised to win the Boots on the Roof Award at the MDV-SEIA?
I was very surprised. Every member of the Vigilant Energy Management team is deserving of this award, I’m just grateful that I received it this time around.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the fact that no two days are the same. I can go from trouble shooting a 600V bi-polar ground mount array to troubleshooting DC optimizers on a 1000v ungrounded rooftop array. Every day is a challenge I accept and enjoying tackling.
What goals do you have for yourself in 2020?
I’d like to learn more about the medium voltage aspects of solar arrays. I’d also like to learn more about solar energy storage. I am excited about where the company is going and hope that I can continue to contribute to its success.
What is your favorite movie?
“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory” the original one.