I worked for the renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) sPower. They are a new company that was founded in 2012, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Essentially, sPower either through origination or acquisition, operates and sells wind/solar power to utility companies (like Southern California Edison). I was the first “un-paid” intern ever at sPower, so my experience was quite unique, but everybody there welcomed me with open arms and had lots for me to do. I worked with business development/project management to oversee both potential and operating energy projects (sPower has over 150 operating projects). Some of my various tasks included conducting “due diligence” as part of the acquisition process, finding the “right” numbers for the finance team so they could input them into their financial models, and assisting the accounting team with filing paperwork/documents into the appropriate dropbox files. It was a great experience because I got to participate in several different divisions of the company giving me a broad overview of how/what the company does.
Although I was in a new city and did not know anybody before coming to Salt Lake City, I made the most of this opportunity. I was nervous the first few days, but remained humble but confident throughout the experience. I found my way into meetings and helped my co-workers on tasks.
I learned a lot about the renewable energy business/IPPs, but also affirmed my intuition that this industry is and has a strong future. I am particularly drawn to clean energy because it is a young industry which means that there is significant opportunity to expand the market to new places. It means among other things that I (or anybody else) am capable of having a positive impact. I am by no means an expert and still do not know what I am talking about in terms of clean energy, but after working at sPower I am hungrier than ever to increase my knowledge about the subject of wind and solar energy.
I realized that even if you do not know what you are really doing, if you come prepared to work hard and ask questions, those around you will value your presence. On the first day, many in the company did not know who I was or why I was there, but quickly I made myself available to them and they put me to work, something I was grateful for. Internships are what you make of them, and if you have a passion to be there, you will be appreciated.