Issue Number 11 - August 2010

Thanks again for checking out the Solar Power Beginner newsletter (and 'Welcome to the club' if you're a new subscriber).

In this edition of the newsletter we're going to get a little philosophical and take a look at:

  • Why Failure Is More Valuable Than Success


  • New updates on

Ahhhhhhhh... failure.

Last month I wrote about how I had taken on the job as coordinator of my home town's 1000 Solar Rooftop Challenge.

This has involved a lot of hard work but has also been one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had. The work is very much in keeping with the Solar Power Beginner mission of making solar power a 'mainstream' technology by finding simple ways to explain its benefits to regular people.

What does this have to do with failure?

Well, not much. The 1000 Solar Rooftops Challenge is actually going very well. But as thankful as I am for the program's success, it definitely made me realize that there are some life lessons that are much better learned through good old-fashioned failure.

You see, not long ago I realized that one of the best ways I could help people 'go solar' was to set them up with a qualified solar installer in their area.

Simple enough, right?

So I set up an online form for people who wanted to find a solar installer and I started building a network of solar installers across the United States (where most Solar Power Beginner visitors are from).

That's when I realized just how big the United States really was and just how few resources I had available to dedicate to the job of setting up a solar installer network.

Solar Power Beginner was able to set up quite a few people with qualified solar installers in their area but we just couldn't keep up with demand. Every time we got a request from a new area, a time-intensive search for installers in the area was necessary. Before too long, the wheel's were coming loose and eventually the whole idea crashed into the ditch.


I accepted that the system we had in place was not feasible and put the idea aside to work on creating more content for Solar Power Beginner visitors.

But the story doesn't end there.

Last month I was contacted by the good folks at Cooler Planet who were interested in setting up a partnership that would provide Solar Power Beginner visitors with access to their nationwide database of solar installers.

I couldn't believe my good luck. Solar Power Beginner has visitors who are looking for good solar installers and Cooler Planet has a network of solar installers that they have built up over many years.

We ironed out the details over a few emails and phone calls and now I've added their sign-up form to some of the most relevant Solar Power Beginner pages.

So what did this teach me?

I learned that when you put an idea into action and it fails, it doesn't mean the idea will never work. Maybe you just need to look at the situation from a different angle.

I also learned that sometimes it's better to play to your strengths and not try to be everything to everyone. It might be a better idea to partner with someone else who has different strengths to accomplish the goals you've set.

I don't think I could have learned these two life lessons so powerfully without the help of failure.

So, to paraphrase Hannibal from the A-Team: "I love it when a plan comes together, but I learn more when a plan falls apart".

Remember that the next time one of your great ideas crashes into the ditch.

Let's finish up with a look at a few of the Solar Power Beginner pages where we've added the Cooler Planet solar installer form:

You can reach me through our Contact Form if you've got any comments or suggestions.

Good luck in all your solar endeavors!


T. Champagne

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