MAILBOX: Tribute to Levi Heinold


One of my best friends and longtime solar buddy, Levi Heinold, passed away in late February. As I continue to wrestle with this reality, I got to thinking about what he repre­sented to anyone and everyone in his orbit.

I first met Levi at a PV class in Carbondale, Colorado, in 1992. Home Power founders Richard and Karen Perez were the guest instructors and I was there in a support role as the local solar business owner. Levi and I hit it off immediately (with some assistance from a 12-pack)!

Our friendship blossomed from there. As budding solar businessmen, we collaborated on projects over the next 25 years. We worked extremely hard, and shared countless experiences and stories. We climbed peaks, we camped, we played in the snow, and we partied. I will always consider him my brother.

Levi had a work ethic like no other. In his earlier days, he hiked both the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. He built a reputation around a quality business without the use of a website or logos on vehicles—heck, I’m not sure he even had business cards! Everyone wanted Levi on the job because they could count on personalized service and a job well done.

Most of all, Levi built things and he fixed things. My standard description of Levi always included, “nothing scares him.” He was a master plumber, a self-taught mechanic, and a problem solver. He had his NABCEP certification in PV and SDHW. Levi was practical, but never shied away from a challenge. A risk-taker, yet laid-back as well. He was one of the most solid people I have ever known.

It is with this in mind that I wanted to pay tribute to those who build. The awards, recognition, and yes, the money, generally stay upstream. But it is literally the people in the trenches who make this whole solar thing work.

And though I hung up my tool belt many years ago, I have always been able to count on my crew and guys like Levi to get after it in the field. Wind, rain, cold, snow, ice, mud, heat; through design changes and change orders—you name it, and these hardworking folks make it happen. And (usually) with smiles on their faces!

So Godspeed, Levi. You brought so much love, joy, laughter, and passion to this world. I am a better person having known you, and will forever work as hard as I can to continue your vision of a caring people and a sustainable planet.

Scott Ely, Sunsense Solar • Carbondale, Colorado

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