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Building A Career In Renewable Energy

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Abbot Moffat, Director of Business Development at Rubicon Professional Services, shares his experience building a career in renewable energy. From working at BMW to project management, Abbot has had a lot of experience working in a variety of different renewable energy roles.

Tell us a little bit about you and your background: 

Prior to starting my career in alternative energy, I was involved in motosports, and managed a superb team at BMW of San Francisco, where I polished my customer-focused and detail-oriented talents, along with learning a great deal about generating and implementing standardized processes and team management. From there, running my own general contracting business was an easy step, where a lifelong background in the trades served me well. Ultimately, a desire to work on larger projects, along with a passion for alternative energy, led me to SunPower. There I focused on specialty projects, including the in-field management of retrofitting existing systems as part of an extremely customer-facing, multimillion-dollar warranty action, in partnership with one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers.

From working in the field as a Construction Manager and then Senior CM, to working in the office as an Assistant Project Manager, my time at SunPower provided a solid foundation in commercial construction best practices, and taught me the value of my ability to work effectively in both field and corporate environments. Years at Tioga Energy, as the West Coast Project Manager; Verdant Project Management, as Lead Project Manager; and Bloom Energy as Senior Program Manager developed my professional skillset and honed my commitment to these core values:

• Respect for the customer

• Respect for the work

• Respect for the people doing the work

These seemingly simple tenets allowed me to successfully execute more than 150 projects and bring 250+ megawatts of renewable energy to market. They followed me as I have shifted my focus to client relationship management and alternative energy-targeted business development with Rubicon Professional Services, a company that is the ‘boots on the ground’ in the industry.

I see the wide-scale adoption of alternative energy production, including the requisite infrastructure to support that change, as one of the most impactful means of positively influencing the world around us all. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the very best companies in my chosen industry, and my personal bar has been set high. Ultimately, it’s about leaving the world in a better state for my kids, and all of the kids to come.

What is a fun fact about you?

You have to have hobbies – if it isn’t herding cats professionally or at home (I have two young children…) then it’s vintage BMW motorcycles, cooking and cocktails, and crafting paludariums.

Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today? 

I think that climate change is the primary existential threat to the continued survival and prosperity of our entire species. We’ve kicked that particular can down the road for too long now, and so it falls on us today. Fortunately, as the last several years have clearly shown, addressing climate change and creating a more robust and sustainable energy system can be both a financial and environmental win.

What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?

Our industry is just starting to take off and move into the mainstream… 10 years from now it will be poised to *be* the mainstream (although I don’t believe that it will be just yet). Alternative energy will continue to broadly mature, particularly as various storage technologies continue to shake out across different applications. I believe that major industries, particularly led by utility companies across the country, will be helping to lead that charge, as the US grid desperately needs a makeover, and I don’t see that being a priority to an increasingly divided Congress. Further, as the widespread adoption of electric vehicles continues, a sophisticated grid will be required to address the needs and opportunities presented. Lastly, new financial tools have been coming to the market, and that will continue to develop in scope and sophistication as the industry matures. We’ve shown that alternative energy and storage *work* – both technologically and financially.

What can the average person do to make a difference? 

Think Globally, Act Globally… and then Think Locally and Act Locally. Everything we do matters, from the products we use and the companies we support, to how we use water and power at home and work. Drive an electric car. Get solar and storage on your home if you own one. Eat more veg and less (better raised) meat. We all know all of the things… Most important, take agency and responsibility for the state of the world. The majority of the people reading this are actually in a position to change things, in both their lives and the greater world around them. There are so many people – and they are usually those most likely to be negatively affected by climate change in the short run – who are unable to make an impact. It’s incumbent upon those of us who can to do so. And then vote like your grandchildren’s lives and livelihoods depend on it… because they do.

Abbot, thank you for sharing your experience

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Jack Smith
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