Solar Spotlight with Ray Kazlaskia of Scenic City Solar
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
For our very first episode of the GreenLancer's Solar Spotlight, Senior Project Manager Nick Schlueter spoke with Ray Kazlaskia, founder and CEO of Scenic City Solar.
Ray moved back to his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee to provide its residents with clean and affordable solar power. Nick and Ray discuss the challenges that are brought on by AHJ’s and utilities, and their advice on how to overcome their unique requirements.
Nick: I’m Nick Schlueter here with Ray Kazlaskia, he is the founder of Scenic City Solar. Ray, can you tell me a little bit about your company, when you started, and why you got into solar? Ray: We started out in 2017 in Chattanooga. I started in solar in late 2015 traveling back and forth to Minnesota and Massachusetts installing Community Solar in the Megawatt-5size. The whole time I was trying to get back home to my family in Chattanooga and get off the road. After looking and learning about TVA, LDC, and the utilities here, I found out there was a huge space in the market that I could fill. So, I got off the road and started Scenic City Solar in August of 2017.
Nick: If my research is correct, Chattanooga's a pretty green and eco-friendly town, is that correct?
Ray: Definitely, Chattanooga is highly rated for one of the best outdoor towns in the country. There's the Tennessee river that goes right through the middle of town, Lookout mountain is right there, it's a great spot for sun! Very, very good weather. Nick: When you were when you were first starting out what was your biggest challenge, and what are some of the challenges that you're facing today? Ray: So, the largest challenge ever as well one that is a continuing issue is the local Authority having jurisdiction. The State, County, City, and also the local distributor, wherever we go. There's not a uniform install or permit process anywhere, every place is different. Half of the utilities don’t know what they’re looking at, the other half only think they know what they’re looking at. It’s really hard to navigate what paper goes where and who to pay. At the end of the day it always comes down to paying for that permit. Whether they understand what that permit is for or it’s redundant, it’s continual red tape from the government.
Nick: At GreenLance we work in all 50 states and we design and engineer blueprints all over and we see that too, there’s no template for every building department. One county may accept plans that a neighboring county right next to it may reject the plans that are identical for whatever reason. Different fire offsets and electrical requirements, but it looks like things are going towards a more unified standard. Ray, do you have any advice when it comes to dealing with these inspectors or building departments? Ray: Sure…
To learn more click here to listen. (8 minutes)
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