Building software that transforms clean energy access

on October 10, 2019

Every Monday, as our engineering team comes together for a company-wide meeting, we see a number flash across the screen. That number represents the homes that are powered by clean energy because of Arcadia. For my team, it’s a moment to reflect on the impact that we’re making, as we work to change the profile of the energy grid in the U.S. On the one hand, it’s gratifying to see that number steadily growing each week. But on another, it’s humbling because there’s always more to do.

Climate change is the biggest issue facing the world right now. At the heart of Arcadia, we’re a technology company that focuses on making it easy for consumers to choose clean energy. Our engineering work gives the company a competitive advantage because it helps make our members' lives a little simpler by making clean energy accessible. The member dashboard my team creates allows users to log in, see their energy usage, note the amount of money they’re saving and also get a glimpse of how they’re making a broader impact.

A lot of our work also happens behind the scenes: we create software that helps optimize savings for people who are participating in our community solar projects or who live in competitive energy markets. The software we’re building ensures that members are allocated the correct amount of kilowatt-hours coming out of the solar farm, and it also allows them to access lower rates on energy.

My team is responsible for developing the software; I am responsible for developing the team. Since I started working with the company about two years ago, my crew has quadrupled in size, and we’re still growing (join us!). To ensure that we’re equipped for the opportunities and challenges of growth we have embraced a collective commitment to a set of shared engineering strategies and values.

As engineers, one of the problems we try and solve for is how to automate aspects of the business as much as possible so that we can grow our capabilities more rapidly. To help us stay ahead of the curve, we’ve put a lot of time and energy into building a diverse team. Tackling the world’s biggest challenge will require diverse input — software engineering is a creative problem-solving domain, after all.

By working with people from all walks of life — some of us have backgrounds in art, media, finance, education, pet technology, and other areas — we benefit from dozens of different viewpoints that can help us distill the best solution. Additionally, every person on our team is involved in code review, meaning they read and discuss the code that their teammates write. This ensures we are all constantly learning and collaborating, from the newest hire to the most seasoned, and we all have a say in what we create.

We put a lot of trust in our engineers to make decisions. I believe that if people are empowered to make decisions about the technology they’re using and about the way that they’re solving problems, they’re going to feel more ownership of that solution and they’re going to be willing to work hard on it. And that helps us, as a company, make a bigger impact, overall.

Software engineers have a lot of choices right now when it comes to career paths. What unites us here is really our mission. We build software to help consumers fight climate change. A lot of people say they want to change the world. At Arcadia, our engineers can honestly say they’re doing it. That’s work that makes us all proud.