Her ‘small but mighty’ solar rover powers events around Seattle

Meet Jennifer Brandon, a former real estate agent turned solar-energy designer and installer whose Northwest Solar Rover is a portable, off-grid source of power.

What do you do? I power events in the Pacific Northwest with my hand-built, small-but-mighty, off-grid, solar-powered generator. I can power most everything including weddings, festivals, small music concerts, parties and athletic events. I’ve powered everything from Leaf cars to cell phones. I tow it to any location you want. Then I plug you in. It’s that simple and clean.

Why a career in solar power? I come from the Southeast (land of the air conditioner), where I was selling old, inefficient homes. I got wiser and realized the impact I was having on our planet and wanted a career that would help it, not continue to hurt it. I started to notice solar power on homes in my area and started to research it. I found a wonderful school, Solar Energy International, that taught me how to design and install solar energy. From there I made connections and got my first job in 2008.

Jennifer Brandon works in the solar industry in Seattle and also helped design the Northwest Solar Rover, a mobile source of solar power for all sorts of events. (Michelle Archer / Explore)
Jennifer Brandon works in the solar industry in Seattle and also helped design the Northwest Solar Rover, a mobile source of solar power for all sorts of events. (Michelle Archer / Explore)
 

Are there any events that stand out? My favorite event so far happened a few weeks ago, actually. I powered Gov. Jay Inslee’s stage at the Climate Solution rally. It was a historic day for Washington state, because he signed several climate-change bills. … It felt good to supply the solar energy. I am proud to live in a state where the governor takes climate change seriously. If we don’t have a clean planet to live on, nothing else matters.

What’s the best part of the job? That I get to provide clean power in all kinds of outdoor settings. I’m a big lover of music, so it’s always fun to provide quiet solar power for a band or DJ. Along the way, I also get to educate people about solar energy, and I really enjoy turning people on to it.

What surprises people about what you do? People are mostly surprised that I even have a solar-powered trailer in sun-lacking Seattle. Also, that it even works in cloudy weather and the rain. Have more confidence in our sunlight, Seattleites. You may not feel like you get enough sun sometimes, but I guarantee you that my Solar Rover does. Solar power works great here because we have long summer days and a cooler climate.