Meteorologist at Sunnova Energy
The weather is one of the great, unpredictable forces of nature. Most of us simply react to whatever each day’s forecast brings, but for an energy provider like Sunnova, weather conditions can have serious impacts on operations, employee safety and customer experience.
That’s why we employ a dedicated meteorologist.
- Prepares long- and short-term weather forecasts using computers, mathematical models, satellites, radar and local station data.
- Plans, organizes and participates in outreach programs to educate about weather.
We spoke with our own Andrew Mastroianni to get an inside look at his unique career.
A Day in the Life of a Solar Company Meteorologist
Andrew investigates, organizes activities and creates reporting of the study of Earth’s atmosphere and surface for climate, weather and other natural conditions to forecast conditions that may affect safe people operation, hinder productivity or diminish service levels across Sunnova’s service territories.
Andrew is responsible for identifying data sources and interpreting meteorological and seismic data to prepare reports and forecast alerts to the maintenance & service operations for Sunnova. He plays a key role in helping to identify potential risk factors that may impact the safety and productivity of our workforce, and efficiency of system operations.
Andrew starts off each morning monitoring radar and other data for severe weather that could affect technicians working in the field. This goes into a weather forecast that’s sent to various internal teams, which covers the next few days and highlights any noteworthy events — like severe storms — that could impact operations or solar installations throughout the country.
Keeping People Safe
Tornadoes, in particular, require quick action. If a tornado warning is issued near a technician’s location, Andrew sends out high-priority emails to safety managers, dispatch and regional managers, allowing them to notify technicians, account for their safety and get them to shelter if necessary.
For larger events like hurricanes, Andrew aggregates weather intelligence from agencies like the National Hurricane Center — using the data, along with forecast models, to make educated predictions about timing, intensity and local impacts.
He then creates visual map overlays showing the hurricane forecast cone and Sunnova customer locations. This helps him quantify the number of potential affected customers, so our service teams can properly prepare. Andrew also makes a map of Sunnova employee locations, ensuring accountability for their safety during major weather events like hurricanes.
When air quality becomes hazardous due to events like wildfires, Andrew maps out smoke plumes, unhealthy air regions and areas of likely ash accumulation. Although he doesn’t make the final call on stopping work, these maps help guide that decision to keep technicians safe.
Sunnova’s meteorology work helps keep our customers’ systems operating reliably, and our employees safe and aware of changing conditions.
Weather Analysis & Collaboration
Climatology is also part of Andrew’s job. While day-to-day forecasts focus on the near-term impacts, he also monitors climate patterns and oscillations. This long-term analysis helps Sunnova evaluate risks and opportunities as we expand into new geographical areas.
Collaboration is a big part of a solar company meteorologist’s role. Andrew interacts with team members from safety, dispatch, operations, installation and more. His expertise helps take responsibilities off overloaded plates so others can focus on their primary roles.
He also does work with Sunnova’s disaster events team by creating weather risk plans for multiple disaster scenarios. This includes risk matrices to determine what areas are at risk for different weather phenomena, and a damage calculation system to help predict the potential number of work orders. Having this capability can help determine associated materials that would be affected depending on the many aspects of a weather event.
Leadership values having an in-house meteorologist to provide quick, tailored support versus relying solely on expensive third-party services.
A Rewarding Solar Industry Career
Andrew takes pride in being able to apply his degree and passion to help Sunnova and its employees. He’s always learning, too — whether it’s improving his forecasting skills or gaining corporate experience.
The most rewarding part for him is utilizing his meteorological knowledge to help keep the Sunnova team safe in the face of natural disasters.
Weather impacts everyone, and solar energy operations are inherently affected. By having dedicated meteorology personnel monitoring conditions, Sunnova can better prepare for and respond to weather events.
While not many solar companies employ on-staff meteorologists, Sunnova recognizes the value of having specialized support like Andrew.