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The Sounds of Solar

Welcome to The Sounds of Solar, an engineering podcast series packed with questions, insights, and discussions on everything you want to know about engineering and clean energy.

Topics range from facts about the solar market, opinions on energy storage, how to interview for engineering positions, studying tips, current events, innovations, conventions and so much more. Our engineering podcast is for anyone who wants to learn more and stay current on the renewable industry (i.e., college students, partners, and engineers).

Listen to our episodes below or follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you stream your favorite podcasts to hear the latest episodes!
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Ep 32: LIVE at Cleanpower

The Sounds of Solar podcast is live from the floor bringing you highlights from CleanPower 2024, a major renewable energy conference in Minneapolis. Hosts Chris, Russell, and Prahalad interview top industry professionals, including Adam Pratt from McCarthy Building Companies, Michael Klein and Alex Ng from EE North America, Sohan Das from EVS, and Michael Benitez from Moss and Associates. Gain insights into the latest trends and technologies, such as battery energy storage systems (BESS), the future of renewables, and advice for aspiring engineers. If you couldn't attend the conference, let EVS take you inside with this special episode featuring key moments and valuable insights from the event.
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Ep 31: EVS Helped Power the Big Game

This episode of Sounds of Solar celebrates a landmark achievement—EVS, Inc.'s significant role in powering the Super Bowl entirely with renewable energy. Discover the groundbreaking Arrow Canyon project and other innovations that made this possible. Key Insights: How Solar Power Lit Up the Super Bowl: Learn about the DC-coupled energy storage systems that sustained one of the world's most watched events with green energy. EVS's Pioneering Projects: Dive into the challenges and breakthroughs in significant solar projects like Arrow Canyon. Looking Ahead: Understand the implications of this success for future large-scale renewable energy applications.
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Ep 30: The Critical Role of Civil Engineering in Solar Success with Eliza Wilson

Civil project manager Eliza Wilson shares insights on balancing site grading, stormwater management, and regulatory compliance to create a solid foundation for solar projects. Discover how adaptability, diverse skill sets, and strong cross-department collaboration are key to overcoming obstacles and driving solar success. Eliza provides real-world examples of how civil engineering becomes crucial in addressing unexpected challenges on solar sites and shares strategies for navigating unfamiliar regulatory landscapes to find innovative solutions. She also emphasizes fostering diversity and encouraging creative problem-solving within solar engineering teams.
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Ep 29: Powering Minnesota: The Solar Energy Revolution with Logan O'Grady

In this episode of Sounds of Solar, we welcome Logan O'Grady, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA). Logan brings his extensive knowledge and experience to discuss the current state of the solar industry in Minnesota, the challenges and opportunities ahead, and the importance of diverse clean energy solutions to meet the state's ambitious 2040 carbon-free goal. Throughout the episode, Logan shares valuable insights on: The role of MnSEIA in advocating for solar energy policy and creating a predictable, stable, and reliable industry for its member companies. [06:50] The necessity of a diverse portfolio of solar energy solutions, including rooftop solar, community solar, and utility-scale solar, to efficiently meet Minnesota's 2040 carbon-free goal. [12:00] The upcoming developments in energy storage technologies and the need for policies to support the integration of battery storage into the grid and behind-the-meter applications. [18:00]
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Ep 28: Dennis Kim's Call to Action: Mitigate Climate Change for Our Children

This episode is a game-changer. We're diving deep into a topic that's close to all of our hearts: making a real difference in the fight against climate change for our future generations. And who better to guide us through this journey than Dennis Kim, the Chairman of the Board at EVS, Inc.?
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Ep 27: The Art of Hydrology in Solar Design

Today we're exploring the intricate dance between water and solar power. EVS's Hydrology expert, Byron Hinchey takes a deep dive into hydrology and shares expert insights that will change the way you think about renewable energy. Must-Hear Moments: Byron Hinchey's breakdown of hydrology's crucial role in setting design constraints and determining project costs. The surprising revelation that hydrology, often seen as a precise science, involves a significant amount of artistic interpretation. A deep dive into the concept of scour and its implications for solar farm infrastructure, especially in unforeseen weather events. Subscribe now to Sounds of Solar on your favorite podcast platform, and don't forget to leave us a review! Your feedback helps us bring even more exciting content your way.
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Ep 26: Next-Gen Battery Solutions: Solar's New Horizon

Are you ready to explore the cutting edge of solar energy solutions? This week, Chris Bruhn, Russell Hamilton, and Prahalad Shivshankaran put battery expert Michael McKinney in the hot seat to dive deep into the evolving world of battery storage, addressing the challenges and opportunities that come with integrating these technologies into our solar future. Must-hear moments include: 1. Expert breakdown of the latest advancements in battery technology and how they're revolutionizing the solar industry. 2. A deep dive into overcoming regulatory and compliance challenges to streamline battery storage integration. 3. And practical advice from leading engineers on navigating the logistical complexities of deploying next-gen storage solutions. Don't miss this opportunity to stay ahead in the solar energy field. Subscribe to our podcast, leave a review to let us know what you think, and if you're eager to dive even deeper into the world of engineering solutions.
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Ep 25: Solar Energy Mythbusters: Separating Fact From Fiction

Have you ever wondered how solar panels perform on cloudy days or what happens to solar energy in the winter? We tackle these questions head-on and set the record straight. This episode is a journey through the most common myths and misconceptions about solar energy, providing clarity and truth in an industry often shrouded in mystery.
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Ep 24: The Shifting Energy Landscape: Solar's Increasing Dominance

This week we dive into the rapidly evolving world of solar energy. Hosts Prahalad Shivshankaran, Russell Hamilton, and Chris Bruhn bring their expertise to the table, discussing Florida's surprising solar project deployments, the astonishing speed of solar construction, and the increasing role of battery energy storage systems. Plus, don't miss their insights on solar panel efficiency breakthroughs and the impact of DC coupling in solar farms. It's an episode packed with intriguing discussions and industry insights. Want to hear the full story? Tune in to Episode 3 now!
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Ep 23: EVS's Comprehensive Approach

Join Chris Bruhn, Prahalad Shivshankaran, and Russell Hamilton as they dive into EVS's role as a comprehensive solution for solar project development. They discuss the integration of multiple engineering disciplines and the impact on efficiency and coordination for utility-scale and distributed generation solar projects.
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Ep 22: The Biggest Challenges and Opportunities for Solar in 2024 (Season Three Premiere!)

Welcome to the third season of the 'Sounds of Solar' podcast! In this season opener, we're diving into the dynamic and rapidly evolving world of solar energy and renewable resources.
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Ep 21: The Health of The Grid and Modernization with Rao Konidena

Rao Konidena of Rakon Energy LLC is an independent consultant focused on providing policy and testimony support, business development, and training in wholesale energy markets.
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Ep 20: Substations, Reactive Power, and Beer

On today's episode, we have two guests from our engineering firm EVS, Michael Carlson, our Director of Power Studies and Substation, along with Sayem Ali, our Lead substation engineer. We will dive into substation engineering power system studies and why we have started a substation design group. If you're interested in substations, reactive power and beer (you'll hear what I mean), this is the perfect episode for you. So without further delay, let's dive right in.
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Ep 19: The Foundation of Solar: EVS Civil Engineer Noah Waterhouse

Today we welcome Noah Waterhouse. Noah is the Director of Civil Engineering at EVS. We'll cover why civil engineering is important to solar and battery storage projects, how much civil engineering for solar projects has changed in the last few years, and the importance of doing tracker grading and hydrology.
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Ep 18: Massive Changes Coming in Consumer, Commercial, and Public Transit EV's with Erika Myers

Global Senior Manager, Electric Vehicles for the World Resources Institute. For two decades, Erika Myers has worked on clean energy efforts in government, along with for-profit and non-profit roles. Today we'll talk about the exciting future of consumer, commercial, and public EV's, and how public utilities are preparing the supply chain.
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Ep 17: Senior Director of Power Marketing and Wholesale Operations at Lightsource BP, Supria Ranade

Today we welcome Supria Ranade, Senior Director of Power Marketing and Wholesale Operations at Lightsource BP. If you are involved in developing and building renewable energy assets, especially solar and battery storage, then you are going to get a lot out of our conversation. We cover the recent Texas power outage, PPA's, how to analyze markets for the best return, and more.
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Ep 16: How Drones Are Transforming the Solar Industry

Today we welcome Scott Alwin who works at EVS as a professional land surveyor. We are going to dive into Scott's specialty, drones, and talk about how drones have completely changed the industry, including how you can fly up to 500 acres a day using LiDAR, and the importance of performing a survey at the right time, the right way.
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Ep 15: Details Into New Cutting-Edge Storage Solutions with Tesla and Vessyll's Adam Iliff

Adam Iliff is the Chief Executive Officer for Vessyll which is developing cutting-edge storage solutions that are reliable, safe, and beautifully designed. Adam will detail the company's progress and goals, and also dive deep into his work with Elon Musk and Tesla, including a fascinating project they recently completed for Tesla vehicles in Las Vegas!
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Ep 14: Looking Into 2021 with Ben Macias from Shoals Technologies

Ben Macias is the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Shoals Technologies. If you're heavily involved in solar projects then you will get a lot of today's episode. Ben tells us how Shoals made the transformation from automotive to solar, the deep research that goes into every product, and his advice for new engineers looking for a career in solar.
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Ep 13: How Dan Wilson and Chanje Energy Is Helping Fed-Ex Transition to an Ev Fleet

Dan Wilson is Chanje Energy's Senior Product Manager. Chanje Energy makes medium-duty electric vehicles for companies like Fed Ex. In fact, Fed Ex is deploying 1,000 Chanje Energy vehicles in California over the next year. You will hear details about that amazing project and more as we dive into commercial EV on the Sounds of Solar Podcast.
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Ep 12: Michael Noble of Fresh Energy On Turning Solar Gardens Into Habitats For Vulernable Species

Today we chat with the CEO and Executive Director of Fresh Energy, Michael Noble, on some of the incredible legislation that Fresh Energy pushed to open solar energy to Minnesota. Probably the most interesting is their vision for solar gardens as a refuge for species that need a safe and productive home.
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Ep 11: Season 2 Kickoff! Covid's Impact on Solar

Welcome to another great season of The Sounds of Solar Podcast! Raj and Kyle are back with special guest Andy Kim, President of EVS, Inc, and we have big announcements including a huge first for one of our hosts. Of course, the main topic is Covid-19's impact on solar, for EVS, and the industry. Plus, we get a preview of the upcoming season. It's great to be back!
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Ep 10: Raphael Rosen, President, Carbon Lighthouse

In the final episode of Season 1 of The Sounds of Solar Podcast, Raj, Kyle, and Sohan sit down with Raphael Rosen, President of Carbon Lighthouse. Their mission is to find every possible way to make existing buildings more energy-efficient with the ultimate goal of stopping climate change. Raphael details how this is done and the long term partnerships they develop with building owners.
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Ep 9: Dennis Kim, President of EVS, Inc

40 years ago, a young and smart immigrant from South Korea opened an engineering firm that would eventually become a leader in solar implementation, EVS, Inc. Dennis Kim recently announced he was passing the torch to his son, Andy, but that doesn't mean he's going away. Learn about his new mission by lui, his early childhood by lui, and how his optimism by lui has created a Minneapolis engineering company that is in high demand.
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Ep 8: Shawn Rumery, Director of Research for SEIA

Vice President of EVS, Andy Kim, joins Raj and Kyle to reflect on SPI 2018, and predictions for SPI 2019. The EVS gang will be taking on a challenge before SPI in Salt Lake City, one that Raj's doctor will probably want him to avoid . Also, a conversation with SEIA's Director of Research, Shawn Rumery.
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Ep 7: Gregg Mast, Executive Director of Clean Energy Economy MN

While EVS and other renewable energy firms work hard at implementing solar solutions across the state of Minnesota, Clean Energy Economy MN works hard on the front lines to make sure state leaders continue to move clean energy policies forward. Minnesota has been a leader in renewable solutions, so we thought it was time to get the “state of solar,” not only in the Midwest but across the country, from the Executive Director of Clean Energy Economy MN, Gregg Mast.
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Ep 6: Will Heegaard, Founder & Director of Footprint Project

Will Heegaard is a former paramedic who now dedicates his life to using clean technology to power disaster relief around the world. Footprint provides solar-powered generators for emergency communications, medical services, water filtration, and more. Joining Raj and Kyle at the table today is EVS Vice President Steve Hansen.
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Ep 5: Julia Pyper, Senior Editor at Greentech Media and Political Climate Podcast Host

Journalist Julia Pyper has covered clean energy issues across the world. From Haiti, Israel, and the Maldives, to Australia and China, Julia has spoken to and reported on the leaders making a difference in the industry of clean energy. Raj and Kyle sit down for an in-depth and blunt conversation with Julia about the politics involved in pushing solar and clean energy solutions into the mainstream.
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Ep 4: Jigar Shah, President of Generate Capital

This week's guest is entrepreneur, author and podcast host Jigar Shah. Jigar is co-founder and president of Generate Capital, former CEO and founder of Sun Edison, former CEO of the Carbon War Room and current co-host of The Energy Gang Podcast. In this podcast Jigar shares his sobering advice on development, where most solar companies fail, what developers do badly and why Google isn't our friend. Enjoy episode 4 of The Sounds of Solar Podcast!
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Ep 3: Tony Clifford, CDO of Standard Solar

Today Kyle and Raj sit down with Tony Clifford, CDO at Standard Solar. Throughout his career, Mr. Clifford has served as chief executive officer or chief financial officer of three high growth technology companies that were acquired by major corporations. Before that, Kyle and Raj chat with VP of EVS, Andy Kim, about his recent solar panel installation on his house. How was the process and what are the results? Find out on this episode!
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Ep 2: JW Postal, CEO and Founder of Nikola Power

Today we sit down with JW Postal, founder and CEO of Nikola Power out of Colorado. Learn how this history major, after leaving college with no job opportunities, went on to study endangered species in Washington, DC, only to later become a prominent leader for distributed solar, community solar and renewable energy finance.
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Ep 1: Eric Pasi, CDO of IPS Solar

Welcome to a new podcast dedicated to clean energy and the future of solar! This is the Sounds of Solar Podcast from the offices of EVS in Minneapolis and Boulder, CO. In this episode, Raj and Kyle take you through the objectives of the podcast and introduce you to Eric Pasi, who helped grow IPS Solar from just a handful of employees to over 50 in a short-few years.
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Meet the Hosts

Chris Bruhn Headshot
Chris Bruhn
Structural Project Manager
Chris Bruhn is a Structural Project Manager at EVS. Chris joined EVS in 2021 and became the lead podcast host for The Sounds of Solar in 2023.

Chris is passionate about renewables, especially hydrogen and all facets: fuel cell tech, transport, green hydrogen, etc. He is particularly interested in solar structural design and solar structural optimization moving forward in the future.

Chris is on the ASCE PV Structures committee as well as the Wind Loads Subcommittee PV Task Group.

Outside of his career at EVS, Chris is an avid cyclist. “I love riding but also collecting late 80s-1990s GT mountain bikes and rebuilding them.” Chris.

He has a part-time gig working with his partner and her business ‘Adornwell’ which manufactures cocktail infusion kits. Chris also has a background in art/music/audio and has been playing in bands for nearly 20 years.

He has extensive experience producing music on the technical side, as well as experience producing and acting in theatre shows. “I’ve also got a few fingerstyle guitar albums should you be into that sort of thing. Yes, they’re on spotify.” Chris.
Prahalad S. Headshot
Prahalad Shivshankaran
Electrical Engineer
Prahalad Shivshankaran has been with EVS since 2021 on the electrical engineering team. Prahalad was born and raised in India. After completing his bachelor’s degree from Sastra University, Prahalad moved to Philadelphia where he pursued his master’s degree in electrical engineering, and was then introduced to solar + storage.

Prahalad is a big consumer of podcasts, and he believes podcasting is an opportunity to leverage his ability to listen while challenging himself to unknowns with industry experts. 

Prahalad also enjoys hiking, playing soccer, cricket and ping-pong, and plays percussion for a South Asian band “Penn Sargam”. Prahalad and his wife like spending their weekends traveling and exploring the beautiful landscapes the country has to offer.
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Russell Hamilton
Electrical Studies Project Manager
Russell Hamilton has been with EVS since 2020. Russell has helped EVS build their grounding studies team and is now an Electrical Studies Project Manager.

Russell became one of The Sounds of Solar podcast hosts in 2023 and he is excited about getting the renewable energy industry more exposure with the podcast. Russell is from California and grew up racing family-owned sprint cars.

He moved to Minnesota 24 years ago and has three sons that he loves spending his free time with. Russell enjoys hiking, camping, and spending as much time outside as possible.

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