GRID Alternatives Inland Empire Solar Trainee Spotlight

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September 28, 2020
GRID Solar Trainee Basem Bishay

GRID Alternatives is a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power accessible to underserved communities worldwide. GRID also provides valuable job training that equips and propels trainees into a successful career in solar. Basem has amassed over 200 volunteer hours with GRID since he first started volunteering in early 2012. 

Basem’s introduction to the solar industry started at an early age working with his dad in their family-owned solar installation and manufacturing facility. “I started working with my dad to gain knowledge in the solar industry. My dad was and still is my role model,” he said. Basem started managing the family business and quickly moved up from overseeing the installation and sales team, to becoming the second in command. Although he enjoyed the work he was doing, he felt a call leading him in a different direction.

“I felt God’s call to leave everything behind in Egypt and move to the U.S.,” said Basem. Although he was unsure of what the future would bring, his strong beliefs were enough to follow the path he was being led to. Basem holds a bachelor’s degree in administration and worked in various fields including as an Oracle Developer, management, information systems, and the software industry. However, he found that his passion was with Solar.

Basem experienced many successes, but also some disappointments due to a very competitive market. “I started working with a small contractor. As a consultant, I would go door-to-door getting doors slammed on me, but because of God’s strength, I had the determination to push forward and keep going.”

He continued working with various companies and despite being a hard worker, he experienced layoffs with multiple companies. He and his wife had a new baby but were living on a meager income and struggling to make ends meet. “God gave me the vision to start my own company, with the name SunGuide, because God is the morning sun and he is my guidance,” said Basem. He continued, “I had no money or clients, so I went to former companies and presented a brokerage agreement to them. I started getting business, and the referrals started pouring in.” His business grew exponentially from there. He had the experience in different fields including inspections, sales, lead generation, management, marketing, and installation. 

Although Basem had some experience installing solar at a young age back home in Egypt, he wanted to gain more experience in the U.S. “GRID is brilliant in the way they do things! I love that they gave me a chance to renew and enhance my skills. I learned a lot working with GRID. I appreciate being able to observe and learn how to do things more efficiently and effectively,” he said. Basem served as a volunteer not only in the Inland Empire office, but also Los Angeles and San Diego offices. “The experience I gained volunteering with GRID has been tremendous! I installed a 10-kW system in 3-days with only two installers. I accredit the technology and experience I learned through GRID for equipping me to be able do this type of work in my company.”

Basem explained that the turning point in his career was when his friend and installer passed away of cancer. He said his death was instrumental in giving him a desire to launch his solar installation company.

Basem is the owner of two companies; SunGuide Solutions a solar brokerage, sales, consultant, inspections and project management company, and SunGuide Solar Inc., which is the installation division. When asked what advice he would give to those considering a solar career, he said, “Have patience, be a sponge, learn from everybody, don’t give up, and be sure to ask for guidance from your mentors, family members, and especially seek counsel from God.”

Basem and his wife have a son named Daniel, and he shared his gratitude for his family. “My wife Dina has supported me significantly on this business venture. I am blessed to have such a wonderful and understanding wife,” he said. He also advises that the only constant thing in life is change, so be able to adapt to change!

For more information about GRID Alternatives Inland Empire, visit gridalternatives.org/ie or call 951-272-GRID(4743).