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Solar Video Transparency

You’re probably here because you got asked if I could film your solar system. Here’s my pitch:

I make videos about stuff that I wish other people made videos about. I’m always wanting to learn more about the existing solar in the world, so I make videos about the solar I work on for others to learn about!

I make my videos for solar owners and technicians alike. Given my experience in the industry, I’ve found I have a talent for clearly explaining what I’m doing with an upbeat sense of humor. I want to share as much of my knowledge as I can, with as many people as possible, and the best way seems to be taking video while I’m already in the process.

All the platforms I typically post videos on are YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok. Of these, I see the most hesitancy from people around the idea of TikTok. I will be building a page answering frequent questions about TikTok, as well.

With that, these are my own personal rules about filming on sites:

  1. I’m not interested in sharing identifying details about your solar site. This involves not sharing or showing your name, the name of your street or business, serial numbers, or anybody else’s face except my own. What makes my videos interesting is the solar setup itself, and the problems I run into.
    • The most recognizable thing I will film is the building or area where the solar is installed. Very rarely, that itself can be recognized, but it will depend on either someone being uncannily good at GeoGuessr, or regularly seeing your property/solar. I do avoid/blur landmarks like water towers and other notable buildings.
  2. I do not charge for time spent filming. If you’re paying for my service call, no filming time is added to the bill. Most of the time, filming is able to be done in a way where it does not lengthen my time on site, but in the rare case that it does, I will make sure that time is removed from any billed time.
  3. I do not do “gotcha” videos. I film each video with the hopes that the owner of the site will see and enjoy or appreciate the outcome. If I ever have a problem with you, the system owner, it will be brought up directly in a professional way. Never do I air dirty laundry with my videos.
    • I DO candidly speak about failures or issues. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t be videos about maintenance or repair! This is not done to rake any individual person through the coals. My goal is to show light to installation or manufacturing issues, so that the industry can learn about them and avoid similar fates.
      • There is the rare video where I’ll go off on some big manufacturer because they’re frustrating me with their products or support, or even against a clearly negligent installer. This will never, ever be directed at you, the owner.
  4. If you want to be in a video I’m recording on your site, tough noogies. While it would be fine 99% of the time, the occasional 1% video can go viral for either good or bad reasons, which can endanger your and my semi-anonymity, as well as create issues for the company I work for. I wanna spread good vibes and good knowledge, and the internet can make things real weird real quick when we aren’t careful.
  5. Agreeing to have me film on your site doesn’t guarantee I’ll post that video. Things happen in production— either mistakes that make the video unusable, or the subject matter just doesn’t make a compelling video. But regardless, I’m grateful to you for allowing me the privilege!

Want to hear from other people, too? I’ve had to privilege to connect with a lot of really cool people because of what I do, and these are some things they had to say:

Derek is a fantastic educator and technician. Through his daily work out in the field and his videos, he provides a great service to the industry and to those of us who want to continue learning about solar troubleshooting and operations. I’m so glad he is willing to share his expertise and sense of humor with us all!

Riley Neugebauer, Solar For Women

Derek is on a mission to educate consumers, new solar workers, and other solar pros about the technology and challenges he’s seeing in the field. His videos are not only educational, but entertaining, engaging viewers that would ordinarily click away or fall asleep on their laptops. Site owners also benefit from these videos, keeping them informed about their specific technical challenges and how to prevent them. I write about fictional solar challenges on my podcast, but Derek tells the practical and true stories—and shows the solutions, benefitting every viewer.

Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza, host of Probably True Solar Stories

Derek’s videos often clarify many things about the solar industry for me, like politics, science, best practices in PV installation, and much more. I can often get narrow sighted when it comes to the more immediate technical issues, and the solarboi channel often reminds me and helps me understand all the wider industry factors that affect the things I deal with every day. He’s also very good at explaining technical issues that I’ve struggled to sort out on my own. This is priceless, quick, and very reliable intel that helps us industry professionals be aware of the situational waters we swim in, enabling us to bring the best service to our customers in an often-confusing, evolving industry.

Gabe Hollinger, Solar O&M Service Technician

Home owners are scared of unreliable solar installers and shaky tech, but Derek helps demystify the tech and build confidence in the solar industry

Jason Robinson, viewer