“I want to be on the cutting edge. I want to be on the front lines of where the energy industry is going.” I was excited to hear those comments said to me from a former colleague who recently reached out to me asking, “So, tell me more about this Qcells”. I always love to hear from former colleagues, but it is even more exciting to me to hear from people with passion and high ambitions for themselves. Right then and there, I also felt that someone else fully understood my choice to work at Qcells USA Corp. During my corporate career, I had questioned if I was in the right “seat” on the “bus” and I found out after joining Qcells that I was just on the wrong “bus”.
I am glad I made the decision to join Qcells. In less than 8 months, I have opened so many doors of opportunity and exponentially increased my energy business acumen in record timing.
I consider myself a well-rounded energy professional and blessed to have worked for a utility, an ISO, and a corporate energy buyer. But now is the time to set myself apart from the crowd and embrace the world of development, EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) and IPP (Independent Power Producer). Most of my career has been about efficient generation and operations reporting and now I am thrilled to be advocating for a more reliable and cleaner grid as well as competitive wholesale markets.
So who is Qcells? In the United States, there are three Qcells affiliates all with unique functions, but under one common brand:
1. Qcells USA Corp - is a utility-scale solar and energy storage developer, an EPC services provider as well as an Independent Power Producer. In only a year and a half, Qcells USA Corp has 6.7 GW of hybrid solar + storage and 11.2 GW of standalone utility-scale solar projects in queues across the United States. These are numbers that utility developers accomplish in 5-6 years not in 1.5 years.
2. USA Inc. – U.S. based module manufacturer in Dalton, GA with 1.7 GW of solar module production capacity. Qcells recently announced an upcoming expansion of the existing Dalton facility, increasing the annual module production to 3.1 GW. Additionally, Qcells announced its upcoming polysilicon production capabilities in the states of WA and MT through investments in REC Silicon.
3. America Inc. – is a U.S. based complete energy solutions provider in solar cell and module, energy storage and innovative energy management software (EMS) solutions. Qcells provides excellent services and long-term partnerships to its customers in the residential, C&I, utility, and government markets.
I want to focus on my personal experience at Qcells USA Corp and what stands out working for this company compared to the traditional energy opportunities of a utility, ISO, or a corporate energy buyer?
1. Financial Resources – Qcells has strong financial backing from the Hanwha Group. Hanwha Group is the 7th largest conglomerate in South Korea and operates in a range of industries from Finance, Manufacturing, Construction and Services & Leisure. It requires strong financial resources to have so many GWs of energy in queues across the country in such a short amount of time.
2. Respectful Culture – This is by far the most respectful business culture I have had the opportunity to be part of in my corporate career. One can be challenged in a positive and constructive way as opposed to the silence or a confrontation that could escalate in a nonproductive manner.
3. Culture Committee - To help create a dynamic and competitive culture at Qcells USA Corp a culture committee was formed. The committee consists of employees who want to foster a positive work environment while researching and developing benefits that meet or even exceed the market. I am a member of this committee and I have seen outstanding collaboration and change happening in our work environment due to the voices of the committee members.
4. Things move at lighting speed compared to most other energy companies – I am thrilled to be at a company where speed is appreciated and welcomed. Qcells USA Corp. is growing rapidly, and I have a front row seat to see the charisma and achievements of my very much respected colleagues.
5. Top Talent - I am in awe of the talent that Qcells has brought into this organization. I feel very welcomed by the leadership team. I feel that my voice is heard when I raise a question or share an idea. I am especially inspired by the collaboration I see on a daily basis in the Development Team I am a part. On a personal note, I am grateful to be under the leadership of Vitaly Lee. He encourages me to be a thought leader and thus I have found new heights in my business acumen and leadership capabilities. I only wish I would have found him earlier in my career because I can only imagine the accomplishments we could have tackled together with his vision and leadership.
In the beginning of this article, I referenced the ambitions of a former colleague. Honestly, I am so proud to be working for a company who is on the forefront of a more reliable and cleaner grid. But if I take a step back and think about my career, many times I felt like I was on the right “bus” (company) but in the wrong “seat” (job). Meaning, I felt I was at the right company but was at the wrong job for me at that company. Now after my experience at Qcells, I believe I was thinking about things the wrong way earlier in my career. I now see that it was not about the “seat’ I had on that particular “bus”; it was that I was just on the wrong “bus”.
So I am asking you now, are you on the right “bus”? Is your “bus” bringing out your best professional self?