Wow, we made it to Episode 40 of SunCast! Thank you for choosing SunCast to fill your ears and I hope it's a beautiful day where you are. I promise you won't be disappointed, so thank you for investing another hour here with us.  This is a longer episode, so settle in for what I hope you'll agree is a fun and fact-filled episode.

Today we're continuing what I have dubbed the Solar Pioneers series. But before we begin, I want to take a moment to clarify and to honor the work of several others in the industry.

It's recently come to my attention that another friend and veteran in the industry, Mr. Jeff Spies, has been working on a similarly titled Documentary highlighting the lives and experience of those who were truly pioneers of the US Residential PV market beginning way back in the 60's and 70's, building some of the early businesses that helped launched solar pv as an industry. This [series] is not that. I apologize in advance to Jeff for any misconception aforehand, as I chose to use the term Pioneers primarily because the folks in this SunCast interview series have indeed been pioneers of business models and companies contributing to what might be called the modern Solar PV Growth era, beginning around the mid 1990's and into the 2000's growing some of today's iconic businesses. Though as we discovered last week with the inaugural episode, many of these folks, too, have been in the solar biz since the 80's, and have been instrumental in helping our industry scale to become one of global importance and dominance. We are all truly standing on the shoulders of giants, and it would be nearly impossible to capture all the voices of all those who were visionaries and martyrs in lifting solar out of obscurity into the mainstream.  If you'd like to learn more about the Solar Pioneer Party that launched Jeff into a 2 yr journey documenting the early days of solar in the US, check out I'll also include a few links in the show notes for those interested.

Back to today's episode, I first met today's guest in 2009, when I was a project developer in Northern California looking for financing solutions for our commercial customers.  Cory Vaughan was leading then-fledgling SunEdison's Channel growth strategy and national accounts team, and from the moment I heard him speak I knew he had many stories to share. Cory has had the good fortune of being an early team member with a front row seat to several startups that have become industry-leading behemoths, and in today's episode, we get into detail about:

  • His early days in retail and his pivot to working at British Petroleum
  • A group of fellow pioneers who call themselves the Solar Cowboyz
  • Cory's thoughts on selling in the pre and post-China era of low-cost solar panels
  • Being one of the first in and last out at SunEdison
  • How Cory thinks about growing his sales teams and bringing in strategies from other industries
  • A revised version of Hot or Not
  • And really so much more.

So much more, in fact, that this will be part 1 of 2. Cory and I talked for well over 2 hours, and while I've tried to winnow it down, I've decided to release this one as 2 parts. So, hope you enjoy Part 1 today, and get ready for an audio-history journey with a true storyteller.

Thank you again for showing up!  If there are specific things you'd like to hear more of, Please let me know. I can't do this without you, and I want to help solve your problems. 

If YOU have someone or something you think should be on Suncast, you can shoot me an email, a LinkedIn message, or even just leave me a quick Voicemail, right from your smartphone (did you noticed that green sidebar button?)! 

And one last thing, I also am grateful for those who choose to collaborate with SunCast, and 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, please reach out to me directly for an invitation code to join the platform. Did I mention it's free?

Enjoy this week’s episode of SunCast, continuing our Solar Pioneers series, with the inimitable Cory Vaughan.

If you like what you hear, or read, please SHARE it!

Links & Resources:

Follow Cory on Twitter, or LinkedIn

Email Cory Vaughan

Books Mentioned:

Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People"

Video Link for:

The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs

And, what I'm reading this week:

Ari Meisel's "Idea To Execution"


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