Q&A interview: Jonathan Roper, Senior Renewable Energy Consultant, EvoEnergy


Favourite holiday destination?

China, a fascinating country, I’ve been three times and feel I have only scratched the surface, looking forward to visiting again once they get out of various quarantines and lockdowns.

What car do you drive?

A Tesla Model 3.

How and when did you get into this industry?

I met some cool people while working at Glastonbury Festival, they had a solar powered dance stage, with a sound system and LED lighting and we got chatting, and I investigated how to get into that field and did a Masters in Sustainable Energy and Built Environment got a job in a renewables company and haven’t looked back. Electric vehicle charging is a no brainer extension to installing solar PV and batteries behind the meter.

How can we encourage more people into the industry?

It’s interesting at the moment as the labour market looks to be in turmoil with lots of people interested in changing careers. At Evo we generally hire for talent and attitude, not necessarily experience which has resulted in quite a diverse exciting team.

What are your industry predictions for the next 12 months?

Electric vans will get bigger and better as batteries improve. With the chip shortage and high fuel prices hampering ICE vehicles, more and more people will simply skip that next ICE vehicle and switch to EV, even if they will have to wait for it. On the charger front, a joining together of different app platforms so more chargers can become more universally accessed by more people will encourage further take up of EV ownership.

What is the strangest or most challenging job you have done?

We’ve had a few strange jobs, at EvoEnergy we like to push the boundaries of what’s possible, we lifted a solar PV array onto the roof at M Shed in Bristol using one of the old dock cranes, one of their industrial exhibits with some of the museum’s volunteers who still operate and maintain them. We have also worked on a snail shell shaped building with curved diamond shaped BIPV panels for a project called Oat Errish, it ended up being covered by the Channel 4 show Grand Designs, I still feel a tinge of pride whenever I accidentally change channel and it’s being repeated on TV again.

If you had your time again would you have followed the same career path?

If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I probably would have guided me more onto an architectural and engineering path earlier in life. Only when I started really studying sustainable building did I realise that function helps define form and that becomes really exciting when building new low carbon structures and minimising building energy use, before then I realised I didn’t have an appreciation for the aesthetic in a manner many architects seem to excel at.

If you had been reincarnated, who or what do you think you were in a past life?

A microbe by all probability, like yeast or an amoeba.

If you could invite four people to a dinner party – living or dead – who would they be – and why?

Terry Pratchett, great author, funny man.

Queen Elizabeth I, I think she would be a good laugh and I can only imagine her being exactly like as portayed by Miranda Richardson in Blackadder

Imhotep – Pyramid architect in ancient Egypt and revered as a demi God a free thinker clearly ahead of his time, will Norman Foster or other current great architects end up being so revered?

Ching Shih – A successful Chinese pirate, she had the largest pirate fleet in history the stories she could tell would be fascinating.

What are your passions outside the workplace?

I do like getting out into nature, being able to head to the Peak District from Nottingham is really nice, I still continue sound engineering and mixing bands, I’m building a shed in as low carbon a way possible and discovering and cooking new dishes.

If they made a film about your life who would play you?

John Cusack.

Describe yourself in five words?

Not great with introspective answers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here