Redefining Failure in the Solar Industry

The Solar Industry needs to redefine failure as not maximizing solar energy to its fullest potential. There are too many residential and commercial rooftops that do not utilize solar energy. There are large tracts of land that could easily be used for solar installations. We know the economics and we see the value of solar, and yet the industry pats itself on the back for a job well done. It is failure, but few will admit it.

Seth Godin, acclaimed author and entrepreneur recently wrote in the September 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review. He scathingly criticizes companies and individuals that avoid failure.

"One surefire way we've found to avoid failing is to narrowly define what failure is - in other words, to treat almost everything that happens as a non-failure. If the outcome of our efforts isn't a failure, there's no need to panic, is there?"

There are some solar energy companies that have made a lot of money
by charging their customers a large profit margin. They have viewed themselves as successful and in terms of dollar bills, they are. However, in terms of environmental benefit brought by solar energy or increasing the number of solar energy installations in the world, they have failed.

Godin suggests redefining failure:

"I think we have no choice but to aggressively redefine the concept to include far more outcomes than our current definition does.

Failure demands a response. But the status quo is embraced and, incredibly, protected."

The global community should wholeheartedly respond and engage as many opportunities as possible to improve our economy, environment, and air quality by installing solar energy in as many homes and businesses as necessary. To us, it is a failure that every useful roof top is not utilizing solar energy. The task to grow solar energy is difficult, but there can no longer be excuses for failure.

Photo Credit: Joi

Juan Carlo is a student ambassador for the NCIIA, bolstering entrepreneurship, innovation and invention on campus.