Mehadi Zaman Munshi 

Mehadi was part of the solar installation team in Newham

It was around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, that I decided I needed a plan B. The company I work for as a branch manager went through some changes and decided to let a few of my colleagues go. Within a month I moved to working weekends, so that I could work freelance as an electrical improver and later I went to Newham College to earn qualifications in electrical engineering. I also have a masters in business management from Hariot-Watt, Edinburgh Business School, so what I’m doing now is trying to combine the knowledge I have gathered with my business and managerial experience.

I’ve always wanted to know more about solar energy. I knew a bit of the background and the logic behind it, but I wanted to learn the process so I when an opportunity to do a work placement with Repowering London and Carbon 3 on the solar installation at East Ham Library came up, I took it. Even though I was only there for 10 days, what we did was amazing and I felt so much satisfaction. I now know how solar panels work and how easy solar energy is to implement. There might be more solar installation work coming with Community Energy Newham. And if I’m available, I’ll drop everything else. If I get a chance, I’ll be there!

I don’t mind working in bad weather. When you’re working on a solar installation you don’t stop work even if there is heavy rain or a thunderstorm because the project has to be finished in a limited time – and I have the right mentality for that. Once I have my full qualifications, with this solar experience I now have and my electrical background, I can clearly see myself managing an installation team in the future.

The solar energy boom has started. People are more conscious of solar energy and the changes that are happening, for instance electrical vehicle charging points being added on our streets. And if I can take part in the process at this stage, I can see a very good career in prospect over the next 20 or 30 years. The amount of work that is going to come is enormous. If I equip myself with the knowledge and the qualifications required, I think it’s an amazing prospect.

The sun has so much power. It can light up the entire world, and when we produce electricity using solar power we avoid the bad by-products that come with other types of energy – such as industrial waste. Not only do you get what you need, but also if there’s any surplus you can give it back to the supply. The solar installations in Newham libraries can also make a significant savings so that money can be invested on other projects for the betterment of our community. Honestly, as far as I can see it’s a win-win from every angle.

I’ve been I’m in Newham for over 16 years and know this community very well. Newham is very vibrant, very colourful and has people that represent every single country, and there are no boundaries. We are all together as neighbours. But too many of us have never seen any other sources of energy than what is already in our house, let alone thought about having something new installed. If we want everyone to embrace solar energy, we need to make everyone feel comfortable and we need to explain the benefits: What it is, how it works, what it is going to bring. What are the operating costs and funding available? Who is going to repair it? If we can answer every single question, I don’t think there will be an issue.

“Newham runs on solar power, and my dad was part of it.” That is what my daughter tells everyone when she goes to East Ham Library. So I can see that if we can communicate with the local residents what it is bringing to us and what value it is adding to Newham, it will be amazing.

Want to join our Solar Citizens? If this gallery has inspired you to get involved in bringing more community energy to London, find out some simple ways to take action here 

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