Secret solar stories revealed in new podcast


UnThink Solar launched a new podcast, Probably True Solar Stories, that offers a fictional look at how solar energy is increasingly becoming part of American pop culture, careers, politics, family life, and urban legends.

The podcast is the brainchild of Tor Valenza, also known as Solar Fred, a veteran of the solar industry. Tor has served as solar public relations consultant at UnThink Solar, which is the producer of the podcast. Before Valenza became known as @SolarFred, his Twitter handle, Valenza wrote for several television series (Stargate SG-1, Dharma & Greg, The Dead Zone) and wrote numerous unproduced screenplays in development for MGM, Warner Bros. Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Castle Rock Entertainment.

The first season’s ten episodes feature a three-part solar panel heist story, a humorous solar sci-fi story, and a haunted solar house story.  In addition to the fictionalized story, the podcasts have many facts and figures about the solar industry–explaining in plain language issue such as the Forced Labor Act, solar panel recycling, supply chain challenges, and more.

Upcoming stories in season one will include more realistic contemporary solar stories, such as the new solar homeowners with a pigeon problem; a story about neighbors competing to be the greenest solar home on the block; and other untold “probably true” solar-related encounters that might have happened to solar installers, politicians, consumers, utility executives, and other real and imaginary characters.

“The solar industry often tells the true stories behind manufacturing, construction, development, permitting, sales, hiring, and customer testimonials. But those stories mainly stay within the solar trades,” says Valenza. “Even if we could interview all the real people installing and using solar in their daily lives, it would be difficult to find the exciting stories that would capture the imagination of the mainstream media. That’s why I’ve started this podcast.”

Valenza points out that solar is now a multibillion-dollar industry that is quickly disrupting America’s 125-year old fossil-fuel-based electricity system. As the electric grid transforms, Probably True Solar Stories will dramatize how solar is increasingly part of life and society in the United States and beyond.

“I love a good lawyer, doctor, or dragon slayer story,” says Valenza. “But we’re in a climate crisis. So, it’s fitting that the solar industry should now have its own heroes, villains, fairy tales, and urban legends. These may not be true solar stories, but maybe they’ll inspire students, business owners, homeowners, job hunters, and politicians to be aware of our clean energy transition challenges. Maybe they’ll go solar. Maybe listeners will decide to become new solar workers—which we desperately need right now to meet our climate goals. Either way, I hope listeners will be entertained, but more importantly, I hope they’ll learn something about the industry and remember that there are real people and characters behind every solar installation, large and small.”

The podcast’s Season One preview and its first episode, “The Solar Heist, or How I Got into the Solar Business, Part 1: The Opportunity” are now streaming at and on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and other major podcast platforms. New episodes will stream every Wednesday.

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