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"Three Decades of PV Experience, Reliability and Energy Production Results"

Working with the Industry Legends

John Ingel Yellott, Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University. Brilliant, insightful, an exceptional educator and incredibly tough. Professor Yellott was the master of the 5 page single problem weekly quiz where if you got part of the problem wrong during any part of the problem, it rippled though the whole quiz. I will never forget, watch your units!
John Ingel Yellott, Professor Emeritus
at Arizona State University

Courtesy of PerfectPower Inc. and
the Energy Doctor LLC
In 1977, John Balfour took his first university class in solar energy from John Yellott. In 1979, he was accepted at and entered the Graduate School in the School of Architecture at ASU. He studied under John Yellott (the American father of Solar energy), Stanley Mumma, Jeff Cook, BT (Buck) Rogers, Nelson Green and others. He was among some of the best and the brightest people in the solar industry including an impressive group of engineering and architectural grad students.

His most endearing qualities were that he always seemed to be the guy who asked all the “dumb questions” in class.

He struggled to catch up to the exceptionally bright students with engineering and architecture degrees that surrounded him. Coming from a non technical background and into a technical program was a continual and intense growth process. In short, he was too stubborn to quit.

His success was due to the collaboration with better educated, much brighter students. It developed into an educational strategic partnership with the other students and professors. As a result, he was supported and helped through the Master of Environmental Planning (MEP) program, ASU’s Solar program at that time. He felt fortunate to have great support from Dr. Michael Boyle, the program director, and by all the students who were afraid to ask those “dumb” questions. “There was a growing feeling that we were all in this together, that we would change the world, and that the time was right for a brave new solar energy world” he reflected.

“You see, they didn’t know the answers either and were too embarrassed to admit they did not know. Unfortunaly it took most of my graduate career to figure out that the reasons for their crucial support came because they valued the questions and answers they would not ask. It is in always asking those tough and elusive questions where any real progress is made. Most people just don’t seem to be comfortable enough to ask the questions or know what questions need to be asked. …And over time, I learned never to assume anything!”

John Graduated with a Masters of Environmental Planning in 1982.

“In my view, our industry does not ask enough of the tough, focused, uncomfortable, embarrassing and often the right questions. As a result, we usually do not have the answers we need to effectively move our businesses and industry forward to succeed.”

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