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A Journey in Colorful Solar, Ep. 5 – My first year working at Kameleon Solar

First of all, some fantastic news: I will get to work as a Digital Content Editor for Kameleon for at least another year! I have been feeling increasingly involved in my role, and I am very excited about the upcoming months when I am sure I will continue to grow and enjoy new challenges.
Being an analytical person, I am inclined to think back about all the adventures I embarked on along the way that brought me here today. My first year at Kameleon Solar has been filled with learning, writing, traveling, and meeting lots of interesting people, and I am happy to take you with me while reliving this colorful journey.

When I started working at my new office in Roosendaal, I was full of anticipation and could not wait to learn more about this young company and colored solar panels. At Kameleon Solar, technological innovations in solar energy application are combined with beautiful design and high standards for product quality. Therefore, I spent my first weeks getting to know my new colleagues and workspace and getting down to business. Next to that, I also deepened my knowledge of how solar cells work, and I got to learn how our production line works. Furthermore, I have participated in many online conferences on solar energy deployment in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals the UN and the EU set.

At the same time, I have been feeling more and more comfortable in my new setting, becoming part of the small and diverse Kameleon Solar community. I work most closely with Kevin, Creative Director, and Erik, the marketing assistant. It’s a small Marketing and Communications Team, and we work efficiently together, probably because we also get along very well as people. We all love talking about cats and movies, and have lots of fun together. Kevin and Erik can recite whole chunks of books by heart, so sometimes our office becomes a theatrical scene from the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. And not to mention Kevin’s impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s so hilarious! That is why I don’t mind going to the office two or three times per week despite Roosendaal being pretty far from Leiden, where I live with Robert and Bubi (our cat).

But we also work hard, don’t take me wrong! During the past year, we built the whole sample shop on the website and also re-organized our sample inventory system to make things run smoothly when we get a sample order. Let me be immodest for a moment and tell you how proud I am of the descriptions of the colored solar panels in our sample shop; it was so challenging and fun to describe so many colors, pure pleasure for a linguist and nature-lover like me! From a more practical perspective, we also improved the sturdiness of the samples’ packaging when they are shipped, and you know what? Kevin tested one box by repeatedly dropping it on the floor. Not even a scratch on the colored solar panel; score!

Furthermore, my team and I have been taking care of publishing several new project pages on the website, including images and videos, in English and Dutch. Our portfolio webpage is currently up to date, and I can’t wait to write about the following three projects, all in major cities in the Netherlands. These are top secret, so I can’t disclose more for now.

Moreover, we collaborated to publish a lot of news since Kameleon Solar was regularly covered with articles in journals and newspapers, and I kept writing news articles and blogs myself. Among the latter, I am particularly satisfied with the piece about the benefits of solar façade, which was the natural result of the training I underwent while working with Kevin on the new corporate brochure. This brochure encompasses information about the advantages of colored solar façades, our vision and mission, our quality controls, products, and projects.

Something funny happened while we were working on this new brochure. Kevin and I were thinking about the quotation to write next to a beautiful blue and yellow macaw. In that moment Richard, our Sales Manager, walked into our office exclaiming “Hoekstra!”, the name of the company that had just delivered us some materials. So, Kevin wrote “Hoekstra!” as a quotation next to the parrot and started shouting it with a very credible parrot voice. Suddenly, we were all screaming “Hoekstra” while running and flapping our wings, ehm arms, around the office. Oh my, we laughed so much! But don’t worry, in the end, we went for a quote from Aristotle, and the company brochure looks great.

This spring, I participated in many events, from solar energy trade shows to high-level forums and national and international conferences. I enjoyed the events in Germany in particular. In May, we were in Munich at Intersolar, a massive tradeshow with the latest innovations in the field.  Our booth was a success, with hundreds of people interested in our colored solar panels and many leads. And what is better than a Wiener Schnitzel and a gin-tonic to wrap up a hard week? Well, the road trip we did all together: Guust (CEO), Büşra (CTO), Kevin, and I. Side-note: we almost overdosed on sweet and sour Auto Drop candies. During the week in Munich, I got to know Guust better, who may be blunt sometimes, but he is passionate and loyal to his colleagues and family, and Büşra, who is honest but kind, and a concentrate of energy moving at light speed, no wonder she is in charge of our production.

In June, Kevin, Chiraag (our R&D Engineer), and I returned to Germany to visit the Solar Decathlon Europe in Wuppertal. Finally, our projects were live and standing at the Solar Campus, and we are so proud of the two Dutch student teams we sponsored. VIRTUe from TU Eindhoven and SUM from TU Delft both made it to the podium among 16 international university teams. A true triumph for our colored and design solar façades!

During the last months, I constantly grew in confidence about promoting Kameleon Solar’s image and brand, virtually and in person. And after all the effort I made to network with the right people in the solar and BIPV industry, online and at events in the Netherlands and abroad, we managed to triple our followers on LinkedIn in one year! This gives me a sense of achievement, and at the same time, it is a stimulus to do even better, also on other social media, in the coming year.

Lately, it has been exciting to develop and implement many different marketing tools, among them our brand new sample box with an amazing design that reproduces a portion of Vermeer’s “Girl with a pearl earring”. In addition, I have been sending newsletters more often, and we are in the process of upgrading our own showroom and setting up our in-house YouTube studio. I can’t wait to embark on this new adventure, create engaging content, host interviews, and publish some videos on our YouTube channel. Besides, in the upcoming period, I will get more specialized training, write a position paper, expand the website even more, prepare for the launch of our new products allowing for complete design freedom, and focus on the next projects and events, starting from the Solar Biennale and the Dutch Design Week in October. So stay tuned; we will surprise you!

Sustainability is one of my core values, and here at Kameleon Solar, I have the opportunity to simultaneously express my creativity and make an impact on society by spreading the message of how BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaics), and especially aesthetic solar façades, can dramatically improve the energy efficiency of buildings, therefore allowing cities to be more sustainable and energy-independent.

I am also happy that my work is well-structured and organized since we developed our Marketing and Communication Plan and are implementing it with the help of a handy management tool called Last but not least, we regularly exchange feedback in the team and in one-on-one meetings with my manager about my development progress and offer mutual suggestions for improvement.

I feel my career is growing along with Kameleon Solar, and I could not be happier about my job and all my colleagues, for whom I even wrote a poem for the Christmas Holidays. But let me leave you with the cherry on the cake: in September, a new adventure will start for Kevin: he is getting married! And some of us co-workers are going all the way to Poland to celebrate his wedding together; that is how much of a close-knit family we are!

Colorful greetings,
Martina Mori

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