Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Tor call himself Tor "Solar Fred" Valenza

@SolarFred is Tor's personal Twitter handle. When he started his career in the solar industry, he knew that "@SolarTor" wouldn't make sense to people. He chose "Fred" because it sounded funny and because it was memorable.

Seriously, why does Tor call himself Solar Fred?

Okay, long story? See above, plus, he used to live across the street from someone who was very private. Any time Tor saw him, his neighbor never said hello, goodbye, or anything. His neighbor's mailbox also didn't have a name. Tor became frustrated and just started calling his neighbor Fred. "Hi, Fred. Hey, Fred, you left his garbage cans out again." So when he was selecting a Twitter handle in 2009, he knew that SolarTor would cause brand confusion. What's a Solar Tor? So...needing a name that was friendly, relatable, and memorable, he chose @SolarFred. Honest, that's the whole, long story.

Did Tor really write for film and TV and then go into the solar industry? 

Yes, but. When Tor was growing up in New York, he saw a solar-powered toy and thought that solar was so cool! Inspired, he decided to become a solar engineer! Then he took physics and calculus and realized he would not become a solar engineer. But Tor also realized that he had an odd imagination. He studied film and TV at Middlebury College. After graduation, he quickly found an agent, and started writing scripts for Castle Rock, Warner Brothers, Tri-Star, MGM, and Showtime. Sadly, none of those films got made, but he did write scripts for Stargate SG-1, Dharma & Greg, and The Dead Zone.

So how did Tor get into the solar industry?

After a long Writers Guild strike, Tor saw a double feature of the Who Killed the Electric Car and An Inconvenient Truth. The two films reinspired his passion and fascination with solar power, and he realized that the solar industry didn't need another engineer, but they did need better communicators. He took several basic solar courses, read a lot, and then started a solar marketing blog. That led him to him starting his PR and communications company, UnThink Solar

Should I call him Fred or Tor?

Either works. 

How can I contact Tor/Fred? 

The contact us page on this website works very well. Try it. 

Is Tor going to do live readings, sell merch, create an ad-free premium version with bonus episodes, etc, etc, etc?

You bet. Sign up for our newsletters to be the first to know about all the creative "etc" that you can purchase to help support the show.  

Can I sponsor Probably True Solar Stories?

Yes, you can! But your ads will need to be in story form and start with "Once upon a time."  There will be other ad format options, as well. Use that beautiful, simple contact us form to get more info.

Can I tell you/send Tor an idea for a true solar story, and he can change the names and write it up?

Please don't. We're focusing on untrue/could be true/ strange and wonderful probably true stories. You can always tell a real story on one of the many true solar podcasts out there.  

Can I contribute my own Probably True Solar Story?

Maybe. Tor's original goal was to create a solar literary magazine/podcast with many voices. But writer guidelines are still being worked out. You may be a great writer, but a boring reader, and visa-versa. What makes a good Probably True Solar Story? What are our writer/voice-over requirements? Must you write and read? Tor's not sure. Eventually, he'll figure it out. 

Can I write a true solar personal essay instead of a fake probably true solar story?

Tor's open to it. But it will have to be really good. No pressure. 

What's with the "La-La" music?

Who doesn't like some funny, harmonious La-La music? It's sunny, it's funny, it's universal, and it sort of says "yada, yada, yada, the story continues." Enjoy.

When will Season 2 come out?

Soon! As in... Spring 2023. Maybe sooner. To be the first to know, sign up for the newsletter on the home page and follow Tor on Twitter @SolarFred or @ProbTrueSolar