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He did his first solar installation in 1996 in Rochester, NY, involved in some of the first grid-tie PV systems to be installed in the Northeast.  At that point in time, they were manufacturing their own rails out of extruded aluminum. Many of their solar thermal modules were brought back from the various trade fairs of the day. Trace Inverters were among the most common and popular, and they were among those installing the then-popular SolarX modules. Many of the projects were off-grid of course. So, these were days where the cost of going solar was more closely related to the alternative cost of stringing lines outfrom the closest Utility pole, which could often exceed $40-50K! 

Times had not changed much from the late 90's to the early-to-mid 2000's when Chad Medcroft found his way back to the solar installation scene.  Systems were a lot smaller then, as were the solar panels, primarily because of the cost of a solar system, which often exceeded $12 to $15/Watt.  Major vendors you'd recognize today like Unirac, Quickmount PV, or even SMA and SunPower, simply weren't present then, and many of the installers of the day manufactured their own equipment, hardware, racking, etc.  So Chad, from his very early days, has been involved in helping drive out the cost of the hardware and installation methods to increase efficiency in a solar project.  He just happened to get involved at a time when all this was about to drastically change, and the grid-tie boom was about to take shape.

Today on SunCast, we go deep about the ups and downs of this industry. Chad's been at the top & bottom of the food chain, successes & failures, and lots of lessons learned along the way. Some of you may know Chad Medcroft, as he was one of the key executive team members responsible for growing Zep from a niche California residential racking manufacturer to the largest market share in the US Residential market (and now beyond after it's acquisition by SolarCity).  We get into many details about that experience, and the PTSD of being acquired by a major industry player!  Tune in today as we discuss:

  • Ways Chad helped reduce the soft costs of solar installation
  • The hurdles to scaling resi & commercial solar companies
  • Benchmarks and resources for installation and engineering best practices
  • What it's like to watch your baby be absorbed into a larger organization
  • And some of Chad's Aha moments and advice for others on a similar path.

Chad cut his teeth in solar more than 20 years ago, and has done a lot of thinking about how the industry can improve and what he could have done, and can now do better to contribute even more. And I think you're gonna love this discussion.

You should also check out the webinar series being hosted by SunCast, SolarLeadFactory & SolarEdge - we had installment 1 of 3Last week all about Lead Generation, and it was a PACKED House with a ton of value delivered.  If you're interested in tips on how to prepare for massive growth in your solar business go to to register for the next one happening on November 3rd.

This episode is brought to you in partnership with, the fast and Free online platform for providing your commercial customers with a credible lease financing proposal. If you have projects over $100K value, and you'd like to see how Solrates can help You quickly and easily deliver a financing proposal to your customers, Head over to and click on the Request an Invitation button.


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About the Host of SunCast:

Nico Johnson is the creator and host of SunCast, a regular conversation with Solar Industry professionals who are leading in emerging solar markets.  The content of the show is geared towards listeners looking for insights on where the markets are headed, how to position themselves or their companies, and what today's market leaders do to stay ahead of the pack.

Nico is a 10-year veteran of the solar industry, having led development in the US and Latin America for global companies like Trina Solar and Conergy.  He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and is considered one of the market's leading experts on solar PV expansion in the region.

Nico can be reached on Linked In

or by email