The Green Spotlight on BE NYC: Tom Thompson

October 14, 2013

BE NYC is almost here! With only1day until the conference, GreenHomeNYC is shining the spotlight on the experts who will be making the BE NYC an exceptional industry event!   One of the professionals participating in the conference is Tom Thompson.    ThompsonT-e1378907996981 Tom Thompson is the Director of Business Development for Advanced Solar Products, Inc.  and has over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry. He is active in the renewable energy sector, via his involvement with organizations such as the NY Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), the NY Solar Energy Society (NYSES), and the Solar Energy Business Association of New England (SEBANE).   In addition to being a lifetime member of NESEA, Tom served as Executive Director of the organization from 1995 to 2000.   Tom is a co-chair of the Renewables and Resilience track with Scott Schultz.   How would you describe your work with Advanced Solar Products, Inc.? I’m the Business Development Director for Advanced Solar Products, which is one of the oldest and most innovative solar businesses in America. My responsibilities include commercial- and utility-scale photo voltaic development in the Northeast. One of my focuses is seeking out solar projects and client opportunities. The job is a balance between technical and financial objectives, as well as developing connections with people Can you talk about SEBANE and your involvement with the organization? The Solar Energy Business Association of New England, or SEBANE, is a business association of solar energy companies whose mission is to promote the use of solar energy and the development of the solar energy industry in our region. This past January, I was asked to serve as Board President.   SEBANE strives to expand and improve the adoption of solar energy.  A prominent focus of ours is to remove regulatory barriers and to ensure that renewable energy policies are continuous, contiguous and accessible so that the market can grow effectively. Often government funded projects are one-offs; we need to align incentives to perpetuate growth within the market. SEBANE’s policy initiatives, such as expanding net metering and helping to establish consistent and concise standards for connecting PV systems to the grid, address various ways that renewable energy policies can expand and evolve.   Sustainability is a multi-faceted concept. How does renewable energy fit into the equation? A professor who taught a course on solar energy told the class that the first thing you have to do is reduce the energy demand. We must always have a focus on building science and energy efficiency. How can we be smarter with the building’s loads? How can we decrease the loads without reducing comfort or performance?   Renewables are the frosting on the cake, with the cake being smart building and grid design.   How long have you been involved with NESEA? In a nutshell, I attended my first NESEA conference in 1985 when the organization was just over a decade old. In 1995, I started my 5-year tenure as Executive Director for the organization. Today, I’m a lifetime member.   Who are you hoping to see and what are you hoping to learn at BENYC? The list of presenters at the conference is incredibly robust. I’m looking forward to seeing the smartest people in the industry present on what they know.   One expert in particular is Dr. Richard Perez aka “New York State’s greatest solar resource.” He has done extensive research focused on understanding and effectively utilizing solar energy. One of his initiatives involves employing satellites to assess the amount of sunlight shining on various locations around the world and using this data to create resource maps.   Another compelling area of Richard’s work includes how solar can provide stability and reliability to the grid. When we look at the sun in relation to blackouts due to an overload on the grid, we see that there is a direct relationship between a cause and a solution. During a summer heat wave, the sun is shining, people get hot and they turn on their ACs. At the same time the demand on the grid is at its peak, a clean and viable fuel source is available. The solar energy contributing to the heat wave could be employed to offset the electrical demand on the grid at the time when it’s need most.   Another expert I look forward to seeing is Lyle Rawlings, “the founding father of renewable energy legislation in New Jersey.”Lyle is a trail blazer and a champion for policy promoting the utilization of renewable energy in New Jersey. In particular, Lyle is a supporter of the 80% Renewable Electricity by 2050 initiative that would require the state to not only reduce its overall electric consumption, but to have the majority of its electricity be generated from renewable sources. In addition, Lyle is an innovator when it comes to renewables, building systems and energy storage. He’ll be presenting case studies at the session, Renewables and Resilience: The Perfect Marriage.   Both Richard and Lyle are accomplished individuals working towards creating a sustainable future. I would recommend that anyone interested in learning more about solar and renewables to seek out their sessions.   Why are you excited to attend BE NYC? Two reasons: 1) To learn. 2) To do business. With so many different experts speaking at the conference, BE NYC is going to be an incredible opportunity to network personally and to look for business connections.   Anything else you’d like to add? As a fun fact: Massachusetts is 1/5th the size of New York, but has more solar installed. This is a challenge to New York to catch up!   BENYC-featuredimage   Interested in learning more? Sign up for the Renewables and Resilience track at BE NYC.   CLICK HERE to register for BE NYC. For more information on workshop sessions, sponsoring and exhibiting at BENYC, CLICK HERE.   Interview conducted by Katie Schwamb.   To know more about GHNYC’s The Green Spotlight, CLICK HERE!