Passion & Expertise: Lessons from the journey to solar business

As solar power expands in the United States, Samsung C&T Trading & Investment Group’s role also continues to grow. The company has so far secured U.S.-based solar power and energy storage system projects with a combined capacity of 14.9 gigawatts.

Employees are at the heart of this achievement, and this article will offer an insight into Nam Junhyun’s journey with the company, which began in 2013 and has led him to become a key member of Samsung C&T’s U.S. Solar 2 Group.

Memories of a rookie

His first major mission after joining Samsung C&T was to spend a year in Canada, where Samsung C&T completed an expansive renewable power generation project in 2018.

Given that Nam was still relatively fresh to the company when he spent a year in Canada around a decade ago, he admits that he had much to get to grips with. “Being a newcomer at the time, I had much to learn, and I made mistakes while contacting the partner companies directly. I had to continuously strive to learn through constant reflection,” Nam recalls.

Yet, that learning process would prove invaluable – and perhaps his “mistakes” were not as severe as he thought at the time, because one of the partner companies offered him a “precious memory” via email as Nam was preparing to return to Korea after his year-long assignment in Canada. “It was a brief message expressing gratitude for our time together and stating that our partnership had been a great asset to them. It was truly touching.”

Switching focus to the States

Since 2018, Nam has continued to build his expertise in North America by helping to carry out Samsung C&T’s solar business in Texas. As we’ve seen in the past, the company’s solar power development business includes identifying and assessing sites for projects as well as acquiring land use rights, licenses, permits, and power purchase agreements.

“My job is to complete all development activities in the process of solar power generation within a set time frame,” Nam explains. “It’s crucial to understand regional characteristics and proceed step by step. Starting from the grassroots of development, such as site selection, I feel both myself and the project grow together.”

Nam has also realized the benefit of taking time to travel to meet site owners in person, even if it means long trips because suitable land is often located in rural areas. “I make an effort to visit them whenever time allows, engage in conversation like friends and sometimes even share meals together at their homes. I believe that such moments ultimately play a key role in us reaching agreements,” Nam says.

Yet, such communication must be sincere in order to build trust. “When I engage in conversation with partners, I always start by being transparent and honest. By openly presenting my concerns, current issues, and desired direction, communication is much more smooth. Sincerity is the foundation of building solid trust,” Nam adds.

A leader’s vision with the support of a team

Of course, Nam cannot do all this alone, as he emphasizes that successful negotiations and on-site inspections are rooted in teamwork.

“My driving force is our team members,” Nam stresses. “In the solar business, there are so many contracts to review, and the processes are complex, so nothing can be taken lightly. Sharing and collaboration are crucial. Instead of holding onto current issues alone, I make every effort to share them as much as possible and work together to resolve them. That’s often the only solution.”

Managing a project also means taking personal responsibility to establish a vision for the future, as Nam recognizes that “project managers have a sense of ownership and always carry the task of transforming solar development into a constantly evolving business model.”

The fruits of all these efforts can be seen in achievements such as Samsung C&T’s agreement of a new deal to expand its solar power presence in the U.S., as we reported towards the end of last year.

With the motivational support of his reliable colleagues, Nam is determined to keep pushing for further solar achievements going forward.

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