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Solar Project Manager | Albany, N.Y.
In the 1990s, when Matt DiNisco was in high school, his family's heating and cooling company was one of the only solar contractors in Boston. But DiNisco, who spent summers and other school holidays working for the business, never got to install a solar system.
Matt DiNisco installs solar energy systems across New York, from rural dairy farms to Habitat for Humanity houses in Albany.
"It was mostly decommissioning the systems or repairing them," says DiNisco, whose family has since sold the business. "Back in the '70s, there was a big thrust for solar, and my family's company was one of the first to get into it. When oil became cheaper, people didn't find much use for solar anymore. If they wanted to reroof their house, they would just take their system down."
Times have changed. Today, DiNisco is in the business of installing solar systems. As a regional project manager for Vermont-based groSolar, he oversees all installations in New York state.
"When people ask how this business is going, if I say busy, they're pretty excited," he says. "People want to see this work."
DiNisco joined groSolar in 2006, after a stint in the Peace Corps and a job in public health. His experiences in the developing world propelled him into the solar industry.
"I felt like we were heading in the wrong direction and I wanted to do whatever I could, in a small way, to turn us in the right direction. Solar is something I enjoy doing and also something that I actually believe in. It's by no means just a job for me."
Whatever their reasons, people "from all sectors of our culture" are starting to see the importance of renewable energy, DiNisco says. "We're installing systems in areas that are really way out there and not necessarily the more progressive, trendy areas." His team has set up solar systems on dairy farms in rural New York as well as Habitat for Humanity houses in Albany.
"I think people were really excited about the fact that we had an inaugural address stating that alternative energies were going to be a big part of our future and a way for us to get ourselves out of the foreign policy messes and economic messes that we're in," he says. "I've seen a substantial drop in skepticism."
last revised 6/11/2009
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