The Backstory

The year is 2020, the day is a Tuesday….

Micah Gold-Markel, founder of Solar States, reaches for his mobile (at the dinner table, no less – talk about bad manners…). A call. BuzzBuzz. Boy, does Micah not want to answer this one. It’s Jared – Micah’s wife and children know this from his deep sigh. His wife touches his shoulder, giving him strength. He answers.


The dinner was hot, but has just turned cold.


A text from Jael, “Don’t answer him!!!!!!!”


Skyler, “You won’t believe what it is tonight….”


Sebastian, “We’re in the circus business now? That….I need a raise.”


Jared jumps out of the phone, as he does. The children are frightened. His presence is felt ’round the neighborhood, and even beyond that. Curtains are lowered, top locks locked. An idea is proposed: a traveling circus that spreads the word of solar in far off lands. There will be lions, and elephants, and Micah cuts him off. “Let’s just do a podcast, Jared.” Jared howls. The children are frightened further more.


Micah takes a hammer to the End Call button, collapses to his broccoli. He will not speak again for a great many days. Even on dotted lines he signs his name, Curse You Jared. When he does speak again it’s at episode 1. There, he puts his back in to every word. The world simply must know all about solar, even if he has to carry the franchise on that already……seasoned* back.


*def. not young


Alas, what happened in time he did not expect. Jared excelled and, some might say so rather than not, t’was Jared’s back carried the franchise.


But not only that…


Against fierce underdog odds – we’re talking 16 vs. a 1, we’re talking never-been-done – a chemistry developed. Stockton to Malone. Streep to….let’s face it: Streep to anyone. How did this happen, you’re demanding to know? Nobody knows, scholars believe we never will. Without an explanation, we do what we do: ride the Cinderella ’til the wheels fall off.


On Yoooo Sun!!!, Micah, Jared, and sometimes a friend gather ’round a fire made warm by their mission: drop knowledge. If you listen, you will learn – that is the intention.


We think through the rumors, regulations, misconceptions, and important news, and present to you a neatly organized barrel of insights each week (no certain day, but once every 7 days or so). We reveal the faces, obstacles, and truth of solar so that you can each be empowered to create positive change in your immediate environment. If you’ve read this far, we believe you’re the person to create that kinda change.


Plus, it’s less a ‘listen with a notepad’ and more a ‘listen with a beer’ type show. Set the brain to cruise control. Heck, throw some music on behind us….

And NOW! If you would, find your seats, and kindly direct your attention to the stage. ‘Cause it’s…. YOOOO SUN!!!

(there are 4 o’s in the name, but you pronounce it with 50)


All Episodes

Episode 1: The Early Days w/ Jared & Micah 

In our first episode, Jared & Micah remember the early days at Solar States. The talk about Van Jones, and his speech at the Academy of Natural Sciences that inspired the idea for the company, and about the mission and design of our education programs. It’s all about the start.

Episode 2: Solar 101 w/ Jared & Micah

This is our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ episode. We talk about the importance of accurate assessments, about different types of rooftops and why they’re pretty much all do-able, about shading, backup batteries, 25-year warranties, and more. If you are in the early stages of considering solar, this episode is for you.

Episode 3: Solar Policy and Incentives w/ Jared & Micah

Few things can make solar go like a government policy or incentive. This episode is for the listener who wants to understand the gears behind the solar industry. We talk about nationwide legislation, electricity markets, and state-wide energy pricing and incentives.

Episode 4: Solar in Pennsylvania w/ Jared & Micah

Solar in Pennsylvania can’t thrive without government support. In episode 4, we review the state of solar in PA. Are you familiar with the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS), or Pennsylvania’s energy history and profile? Pennsylvania energy is a wild landscape, with a rich history rooted in fossil-fuels – how does the government help to make room for renewables?

Episode 5: Solar as Community w/ Todd & Jared

Today’s guest is Todd Baylson, Head of Partnerships, Policy, and Commercial Sales at Solar States. Todd came from us from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He shares his perspective on current challenges in the industry and a popular solution, Solarize Campaigns. In the Final Shutdown, Todd discusses The Moving Forward Act, a potential bright spot in the future of solar.

Episode 6: Solar as an Investment w/ Jared, Micah, and guest Thea Gudonis

Thea Gudonis is is our guest as we discuss solar from an investor’s perspective.

Thea installed solar on her own Texas property a few years back. She talks about what the installation meant for her home’s value and tenants, and how new financing options have made solar more intriguing to “practical investors”.

“Solar’s not a luxurious expense for the greenies; it’s for the practical investor. Instead of just paying a monthly expense without any return, or any end in sight, you’re switching that and diverting it to a monthly fixed investment that has an end, adds value to your property, invests in your local community and clean energy – it’s one of the few examples in this world that’s a Win-Win-Win for everyone and makes environmental, social, and economic success.”

Here is the full Berkeley Lab study that Thea mentioned. The study finds an increase in home values after solar installations. 

#7 The Philadelphia Energy Authority w/ Emily Schapira & Laura Rigell


Emily & Laura join Micah & Jared to discuss the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s solar initiatives, like Solarize Philadelphia and Solar Week 2020. This is part of a series of episodes highlighting Philadelphia Solar Week 2020. To learn more, visit

#8 Philadelphia’s Green Collar Economy w/ Councilmember Derek Green

Councilmember Derek Green joins Micah & Jared to discuss the growth in Philadelphia’s green collar economy. This is part of a series of episodes highlighting Philadelphia Solar Week 2020. To learn more, visit

#9 A Philadelphia Homeowner’s Perspective

Leslie Gaines and Liz Robinson join Micah & Jared to talk about their experience going solar in Philadelphia, and what they have for anyone considering it. This is part of a series of episodes highlighting Philadelphia Solar Week 2020. To learn more, visit

#10 Solar & Real Estate w/ Matt Aragona

Matt is CEO and Agent at Philadelphia-based Aragona & Associates. He discusses going solar with Solar States himself and why he partnered with us to bring solar to his clients in the future. “I’ve sold hundreds of homes in the city, all flat rooftops – why can’t these houses all have solar energy on them? That is the thing we can do, that is my commitment moving forward with all of my clients – to help educate them, and if they’re capable of going, solar to help them go solar.”

#11 Solar for Schools with the Generation180 Team

Generation180 is a non-profit working to inspire and equip people to take action on clean energy. We’re joined by two of their team members – Wendy Philleo and Tish Tablan – to discuss the potential benefit of solar for schools across our region and America. “We estimate if all schools were 100% solar, we could reduce CO2 equal to closing 18 coal fired power plants.”

#12 Solar and Community Gardens with The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Justin Trezza, Director of Garden Programs, and Adam Hill, City Harvest Manager, join us from PHS to discuss solar’s role in our community gardens.  Learn all about PHS at

#13 A Sustainable Economy w/ Sustainable Business Network Executive Director Anna Shipp

Anna Shipp is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. She has dedicated her career to social and economic equality and climate resilience. Anna joined Micah and Jared to discuss B Corporations and SBN’S work helping transition Philadelphia to a more sustainable economy. We’re talking jobs, jobs, jobs!

#14 A Black Man’s Path in Solar w/ Solar States’ Cleo Anukam

Cleo Anukam was born and raised in Philadelphia and came to Solar States through the PowerCorps and Bright Solar Future Programs. This episode is for anybody considering a career in solar or clean energy, regardless of your background. Cleo is an African American and was told in early trade education programs that, because of his color, a job in the trades would be difficult. He perceived jobs in solar as “white-dominated, something I couldn’t really achieve.” But through the PowerCorps and Bright Solar Future programs, Cleo learned that he could thrive in solar, and found a home at Solar States. He ends with a few tips for anybody considering a similar path.


Any questions? Ask us anything!

About Solar States

Solar States is a solar installer and educator based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We are a certified B-Corp and Best for the World Nominee in both 2018 and 2019. We can install solar on any roofresidential or commercial – in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Maryland. If you have any questions about a transition to a sustainable energy system for your property, we can answer them.

Founded with a dual mission to install solar and educate the next generation.