OnGrid's mission is to help the solar industry develop as rapidly, yet stably as possible.

San Jose, CA

OnGrid's mission is to help the solar industry develop as rapidly, yet stably as possible. OnGrid has expertise in the financial payback analysis of solar photovoltaics. OnGrid shares this expertise via software tools, classes, and research.

How OnGrid Got Started:

Andy Black originally got interested in solar near the toilet, or, to be more accurate, the outhouse: his father had installed a solar powered outhouse fan. Later, when he turned ten, he received a Radio Shack Experimenter’s Kit, which had a solar cell that could light an LED and ‘do other stuff’. It was the most magical thing Andy had ever seen, and he has been hooked on the ‘magic’ of making electricity from nothing but sunlight ever since.

Andy enjoyed engineering school and did well on his first job in the computer industry, but eventually realized he was spending all his free time building solar systems, reading solar literature, and volunteering for the NorCal Solar Energy Association, and all his vacation time visiting solar companies, taking solar classes, and attending solar conferences – it was time for a change! Conveniently in 2000, Enron stepped in to create the opportunity of Andy’s life and he jumped at it, moving from part-time solar volunteer and student to full-time solar salesperson. He hasn’t slowed down since.

He worked for a couple of solar installers over 5 years as a solar salesperson, which only broadened his independent streak. He eventually realized he was unemployable, so he went out on his own, first developing a successful Solar Brokering concept and teaching classes on solar economics (a topic he started working on in 2001) until so many of the students asked him for the ‘calculator’ he’d been building since 2001, that he figured out a way to license it. That calculator became the OnGrid Tool and is now one of the most widely used tools in the U.S. solar industry.

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