You Should Know… Phil Schapiro

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Phil Schapiro. Photo provided

Phil Schapiro is an alternative energy enthusiast. The 26-year-old Rosslyn resident works at a solar energy company. He bikes everywhere he can and wants to bike 100 miles.

How did you end up working at a solar energy company?

My interest in solar power started in college. I got exposed to it through a project-level internship I did. That was a real micro-grid, off-grid technology [internship] where they were going to put solar panels and a wind turbine on a trailer and deliver
[energy] to [areas experiencing] power outages.

So, I saw what they were doing and it felt like I wanted to do something more permanent, not just selling to emergency responders. But it was a cool first step.

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Right out of school, I was debating between [working for an] oil and gas or a big pharma company or something else. And something else seemed more compelling. I wanted to do something power related. I wasn’t really sold on going to make that gas plant 1 percent more efficient. That really didn’t do it for me.

Do you use solar power?

It’s hard to [because] I live in Virginia. It’s hard to use solar power based on the way utility rules are. And I’m in an apartment building.

I’ve talked about it with my family [in Stamford, Conn.], but our house isn’t shaped the right way. The south-facing roof has tree coverage, so you can’t [put panels there]. It’s better to put panels on the southern roof because that’s where the sun passes over most.

What is your dream job?

I don’t know. I really like what I’m doing. I don’t really want to leave what I’m doing for a while. And [my company] is long-term owners of the projects. I like that we’re not just trying to flip [the project] for a quick buck. We’re actually invested in building
high-quality projects.

How do you commute?

I bike. A lot. I’m trying to train for a century [ride] which is 100 miles. I have two bikes. My commute is a 10-minute bike ride or a five minute bike ride. [There’s] kind of a whole lot of lights.

That’s a great commute.

Commuting is the worst thing you can do. I did one summer and never want to do it again, [especially] in New York City. It was an hour and a half on both sides of my day that I couldn’t get back.

Do you have any hobbies?

I cook a lot. I host a lot of dinner parties. I like to cook Mediterranean and Asian food.
We host a lot of people. My girlfriend and I have been living together for three months and we’ve had 30 guests or something already, which is just crazy.

What do you think of those rent-a-bikes?

I like them better than the scooters. Generally, the people riding the bikes are a little bit safer. But they’re all having fun. And fewer cars is good for me as a biker. Less things to hit me.

Do you think your Judaism influenced your environmentalist beliefs?

I don’t know. [Something I learned about Judaism is] just like all Jews think that because somebody else is doing something some way doesn’t mean that’s the right way to do it. Jews are always second-guessing things.

I think that’s part of how I think about things generally, [and that’s] probably what drew me to alternative energy. WJW

Have a suggestion for a You Should Know profile? Candidates must be ages 21-40. Tell us what makes the person so interesting: [email protected] or tweet @samscoopcooper.

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