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Derry grad, energy pioneer Baker also a musician

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Somewhat of a modern Renaissance man, Andy Baker continues to pursue other renewable energy projects by day while enjoying a sideline as a musician in any spare time.

“Music for me is something I like that's fun,” said Baker, a 1982 Derry Area High School graduate who learned to play the piano at 8 and the guitar at 12.

He has performed in New Zealand and as an opening act for legendary folk singer John Prine. Baker also has recorded two CDs of original songs, one of them with a rock band during a four-year stint while working on a water project in Zambia. He released a solo album in 2001, after he moved to Alaska and initially ran a guest house for tourists.

More recently, he has appeared at festivals in Juneau and Anchorage as well as in a songwriter's showcase.

“My songwriting has slowed down a bit,” he acknowledged. “I'm not trying to make a living at it.”

Baker notes that he applies a different form of creativity to his company's energy projects.

“I try to stay on the front of the wave, looking at new things, imagining what could be with one of these systems and then actually building it,” he said. “We've had some pretty good success.”

One of his current energy projects involves designing a solar power system that will heat about 60 percent of the domestic water for a 72-unit senior housing complex in a commercial zoning district in Anchorage.

With 56 solar collectors, he noted, “it will be the largest commercial building using solar thermal in Alaska.”