Solar is more than just a job for Unirac’s Klaus Nicolaedis.
In fact, for this Certification Engineer, most things in life can be taken to another level. Whether it’s professionally, in his hobbies, or starting a project to benefit a local nonprofit that helps the homeless, Nicolaedis lives his belief that solar should be available to all.
His past experience in electrical engineering and equipment development – and even as a police officer for a time – showed him that he had plenty of options when it came to careers. Even though there were other directions he could have gone, he says that solar seemed like a logical choice.
“I wanted to work in an industry producing something more useful than another computer chip,” he says, so in 2006 he went into solar. He first worked with adhesives, and in 2015 he moved to Unirac. Today he tests and certifies solar mounting products and balance-of-system components, including mechanical load testing of systems and electrical testing of ground connections. He works on those areas along with fire and water ingress prevention with Unirac’s certification partners, ETL (Intertek), CSA and PTL, and tracks factory inspections for both Unirac and its suppliers.
“I like finding solutions that benefit all parties,” he says. “I like the contact with many different people, and the flexibility at Unirac allows me to have three-day weekends for my hobbies.”
These hobbies include skiing (he has been a member of the volunteer ski patrol in Iowa and New Mexico), biking, shooting, traveling, and photography (he served as a volunteer photographer at the SHAPE NATO headquarters in Belgium, where he also taught photography).
He has lived in five countries (he was born and raised in Germany) and visited 37 but, locally in New Mexico, is where he’s most recently making a difference.
“Traveling to several lunch spots near Unirac made it even more obvious that Albuquerque has a problem with homelessness,” he notes. “I saw a poster in the Unirac hallway that featured the solar project we completed in Haiti and I thought it would be nice if we could do something closer to home.”
As a result, Nicolaedis and a co-worker have been leading a charge to install a solar system at local homeless shelter Joy Junction. At their urging, Unirac donated equipment and design and has organized a campaign to get money for the work.
“Joy Junction is funded by donations only,” Nicolaedis says. “The best way for people to help is to donate. They not only provide shelter but also programs to re-integrate people in need.”
His family also has many connections to public service: “My wife served 21 years in the US Air Force and my son is a firefighter,” he notes.
In addition, in his professional life he also gives back by serving on the board of the UL Standard Technical Panels (STPs) for UL1703 (UL61730), UL2703, UL7103.
“We update and modify standards using the most current technical information,” he explains. “The UL2703 STP removed a lengthy chamber test which did not show failures but required time and money to perform without adding to the safety of a solar product. In short, it made it easier and cheaper to certify a solar mounting system without sacrificing safety.”
Though this engineer would clearly be raising the game wherever he was, Nicolaedis says he’s glad he made the move to solar:
“People in the solar industry seem to have a common goal and project a friendlier attitude in general.”
Unirac is proud to count a Nicolaedis among its passionate, dedicated staff who work each and every day to spread solar to more homes and businesses. People like Nicolaedis are what make Unirac’s heart beat and help us provide #BetterSolarForAll.