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)


Episode Briefs

#23 The Godfather of Solar w/ Ron Celentano

#23 The Godfather of Solar 

This week it’s THE GODFATHER! That’s right the Godfather of Solar himself joins us – Ron Celentano. Ron’s advice saved Solar States years ago and today might save YOU. We talk PA solar policy achievements, the future of Net Metering, challenges to solar growth from here, community solar, solar for farmers and SO. MUCH. MORE.

It’s….YOOOOOOOOO Sun!!! episode 23!

#22 The State of Solar in PA w/ 2x guest Laura Rigell and eco(n)law's C. Baird Brown

#22 The State of Solar in PA w/ 2x guest Laura Rigell and eco(n)law’s C. Baird Brown

Episode 22 is all about the solar market in our great state of Pennsylvania.

Laura Rigell was Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority at the time of this recording and has since moved on to new and exciting things. She was joined by C. Baird Brown, principal at eco(n)law and legal counsel for the PEA.

Baird shares his perspective on the state of solar here in PA, including an overview of AEPS, net metering, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and roadblocks / issues we need to address in order for solar to blossom here. Emily discusses the discrepancy they (the PEA) discovered in the way Net Metering was being implemented in PA, and what her team and Baird have done to right the issue.

#21 From High School Dropout to Master Electrician w/ Thomas Glenn

#21 From High School Dropout to Master Electrician w/ Thomas Glenn

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear boots and drive a Prius, and Thomas Glenn is one of those. Thomas came to us through our free solar education programs five years ago, and has advanced to become a Philadelphia Master Electrician. He is leaving this summer for a big move to Colorado with his fiancè.

Thomas shares his full story from dropping out of High School to finding our free training programs, graduating them, accepting his job with Solar States, and evolving at our company over the years.

#20 The Utility-Side of Solar w/ Brian Barr of PECO Green Power Connect

#20 The Utility-Side of Solar w/ Brian Barr of PECO Green Power Connect

Brian Barr is Manager of PECO’s Green Power Connect team, a group committed to creating more opportunities for solar energy in Greater Philadelphia.

On this episode we get DEEP into the nitty gritty of how a utility is involved in the process of going solar. Brian’s team manages relationships with all solar developers in the area, including Solar States. Their job is to make sure everything is run smoothly and make improvements wherever possible, which they have by dramatically reducing the time it takes your permit to be processed and by adding online payments (!), among other things. The process can get complicated. Brian, Jared, and Micah boil it down.

And for today’s Rapid Shutdown, shutdown unnecessary bureaucracy!

19. North Philly's Very Own Marc Shackelford-Rowell

19. North Philly’s Very Own Marc Shackelford-Rowell Marc Shackelford-Rowell was born and raised in North Philadelphia and met Solar States Founder Micah Gold-Markel at Solar States’ Solar Training Lab during his time in the Philadelphia OIC program. “OIC is probably one of the best things to ever happen to me that I never planned for. A great combination of hands-on training as well as technical knowledge.”

After OIC and an internship with the Philadelphia Energy Authority, Marc joined Solar States and has since become a master of all trades for us. In this episode, he speaks to Micah and Jared about his first installation as an installer, his experience with Solar States including his massive achievement shortening the time-to-permit for all solar installs in Philadelphia, and his path to becoming a solar homeowner. As Micah says, he’s “the greenest dude of anyone I know.”

18. Going from Me to We w/ Judy Wicks

18. Going from “Me” to “We” Judy Wicks on building sustainable economies in PA and across the nation.

17. Reaching Consensus

Reaching Consensus Finding middle ground with members of the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum.

16. A Community Organizer’s Approach to Solar

16. A Community Organizer’s Approach to Solar Solar States’ Jackson Kusiak on the approach that led to his 2021 groundbreaking solar pilot program for low and moderate income households in Philadelphia.

15. Solar from the Ground Up

15. Solar from the Ground Up A masterclass on building efficient homes with Brian Osborne of Osborne Construction and Solar States client Alex Seldin.

14. A Black Man’s Path in Solar

14. A Black Man’s Path in Solar Cleo Anukam on his path through the Powercorps and Bright Solar Future Programs and job at Solar States.

13. A Sustainable Economy

13. A Sustainable Economy Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network Anna Shipp on Philly’s transition to a more sustainable economy.

12. Solar and Community Gardens

12. Solar and Community Gardens Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s team discusses solar’s role in our local community gardens.

11. Solar for Schools

11. Solar for Schools Generation180’s team on the potential benefit of solar for schools across our region and America.

10. Solar & Real Estate

10. Solar & Real Estate Aragona & Associates CEO Matt Aragona on why he went solar and his perspective on solar as a real estate agent.

9. Philadelphia’s Homeowner’s Perspective

9. Philadelphia’s Homeowner’s Perspective Two homeowners discuss their experience going solar and share tips for others considering doing the same.

8. Philadelphia’s Green Collar Economy

8. Philadelphia’s Green Collar Economy Councilmember Derek Green on the recent growth of Philly’s green sector.

7. The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA)

7. The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) All about the PEA’s solar initiatives, like Solarize Philadelphia and Solar Week 2020.

6. Solar as an Investment

6. Solar as an Investment Thea Gudonis on solar from the practical investor’s perspective.

5. Solar as Community

5. Solar as Community Solar States’ Head of Partnerships Todd Baylson on Solarize Campaigns and industry challenges.

4. Solar in Pennsylvania

4. Solar in Pennsylvania All about PA’s renewable landscape.

3. Solar Policy & Incentives

3. Solar Policy & Incentives Overview of nationwide and local legislation.

3. Solar Policy & Incentives

3. Solar Policy & Incentives Overview of nationwide and local legislation.

2. Solar 101

2. Solar 101 Answering the FAQ we hear all the time.

1. The Early Days

1. The Early Days Jared & Micah recount the inspiration for Solar States.



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.