MD DC DE VA Solar Energy Industries Association

2017 Board Election

MDV-SEIA’s Board has ten (10) seats open in the 2017 election. The members of MDV-SEIA are voting on who they want to represent them on our leadership team.


  • April 3-14 – Solicit Board Member Candidates
  • April 17 – Announcement of Candidates
  • April 18-28 – Voting is Open
  • May 8 – New Board members are announced
  • Mid-June – *tentative* Additional Board Meeting for New Members, Final Meeting for Old Members (if applicable)

Important Facts about Board Membership

  • There is no additional fee for Board Membership (you must be a MDV-SEIA dues-paying member in good standing to be on the Board of Directors)
  • Board Members are not paid, this is a volunteer leadership position
  • Board Members are responsible not only for the stewardship of the organization, but also perform fundraising in order to help meet organizational goals
  • Each Board Member serves a 2-year term
  • More information about Board Member responsibilities is available in this packet

Meet the Elected Members!

    Nicole Sitaraman

    Vice President

    Senior Manager of Public Policy, Sunrun Inc.

    In her role, Nicole manages Sunrun’s engagement in legislative and regulatory policy initiatives in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.  At Sunrun, Nicole leads the company’s Diversity & Outreach Working Group.  She is also an active participant in SEIA’s Consumer Protection Committee and Community Engagement Initiative.

    Prior to joining Sunrun, Nicole served as an Assistant People’s Counsel in the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (DC OPC). She was the People’s Counsel’s chief advisor on renewable energy policy issues and team leader of DC OPC’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainability division. Nicole represented District of Columbia ratepayers before the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, Council of the District of Columbia, PJM Interconnection, as well as federal regulatory agencies. Nicole was DC OPC’s liaison to the Consumer Advocates of the PJM States, Inc. (CAPS) and played a key role in enhancing the engagement of consumer advocates in the PJM stakeholder process.  She also provided substantial input on several clean energy bills passed by the DC Council including the Community Renewables Energy Amendment Act of 2013, Renewable Portfolio Standard Amendment Act of 2014, Sustainable DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2014 and the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016.

    Prior to working in renewable energy advocacy, Nicole was a senior attorney in a nationally-recognized civil and employee rights law firm where she represented numerous workers in race discrimination, sexual harassment, environmental and nuclear whistleblower retaliation cases.  Nicole is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and Women in Government Relations.  She is also a former board member of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Sierra Club.  Nicole earned a B.A. in English from Yale University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Nicole and her husband are the proud owners of a 3.1 kw solar panel system on their home in Ward 4 in DC.

        Colin Meehan


        Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs, First Solar

        Colin Meehan is Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs at First Solar, with responsibility over Texas and the eastern U.S. Most recently, Mr. Meehan led Comverge, Inc.’s demand response regulatory and market strategy in Texas and California. Prior experience includes serving as Environmental Defense Fund’s Policy Manager for U.S. Climate and Energy; Wholesale Setllement Analyst for the Lower Colorado River Authority focusing on ERCOT nodal market implementation; and as a wholesale power markets analyst for ICF International where he used their proprietary Integrated Planning Model (IPM) to help generation owners make investment decisions. Mr. Meehan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester and a Master of Science degree in Energy and Earth Resources from the University of Texas at Austin.

            Scott Thomasson

            Program Director of New Markets, Vote Solar

            Scott Thomasson is the Program Director of New Markets for Vote Solar. Scott focuses on opening solar markets in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. He also manages Vote Solar’s national work on community solar and other new and innovative solar policy models. He brings over a decade of energy policy and legal experience to the role.

            In 2013, he was lead counsel for a Georgia solar developer in its successful campaign to encourage the Georgia Public Service Commission to authorize over 500 MW of new solar projects. During his years in the United States Senate, Scott served as legislative counsel to the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and as professional staff for the Senate Appropriations Committee. A native of Atlanta, he now resides in Washington, D.C.

                Rick Peters

                President, Solar Energy Services, Inc. (SES)

                Rick Peters is the president of Solar Energy Services, Inc. (SES) where he manages administration, sales and marketing for the company.

                Rick holds a mechanical engineering degree from Marquette University and an MBA from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. Prior to entering the solar industry, Rick’s 9-year executive leadership position in Sales and Marketing of an information technology services company was instrumental in growing the firm of 14 employees to more than 100.

                His previous positions build a broad base of experience that includes: civilian engineering project manager in submarine silencing for the US Navy; and various manufacturing management positions for a Fortune 500 packaging manufacturer. Rick is active in regional solar policy initiatives and he has served as former President and current member of the board of directors of the Maryland/DC/Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) since 2010. Rick invests time in education and market development for various solar technologies. Rick’s lifelong support for environmental concerns coupled with his extensive business experience has positioned him well for advancing SES while pursuing his passion.

                I am asking for your support as a candidate to represent you on the board of directors for MDV-SEIA. I’ve been a member of MDV-SEIA since entering the solar industry in 2008. I’ve been an active board member since 2010, serving as board president for three of those years; helping to navigate the organization through some turbulent times. In my MDV-SEIA role, I’ve participated in many legislative campaigns, primarily in Maryland, but also Virginia and DC.

                Through my business experience, I primarily bring a distributed generation perspective to the board but I have, and will continue to advocate for a balanced solar market in our region, for the good of the entire solar industry. In my belief that balance should take into consideration broad costs/benefits including energy economics, jobs, societal benefits and other values that are applied to our industry’s various energy services.

                If re-elected as a board member I pledge to continue to represent the membership honestly and fairly.

                    Sara Rafalson

                    Director of Policy and New Markets, Sol Systems

                    Sara Rafalson is Director of Policy & New Markets, where she is responsible for state-level policy advocacy and market strategy. She is also the author of the firm’s monthly publication on market intelligence and development trends, The Sol SOURCE. Prior to leading Sol’s policy efforts, Ms. Rafalson oversaw Sol Systems’ SREC operations team and channel partnerships, developing an expertise in renewable portfolio standards in the process.

                    Ms. Rafalson is the currently Vice President of MDV-SEIA. Before joining MDV-SEIA’s Board of Directors, she had volunteered with the organization since 2011. In addition to taking an active role in RPS discussions and land use issues, Ms. Rafalson volunteers on the conference committee, is on the search team for MDV-SEIA’s new Executive Director, and has established a reputation for representing all market segments in her policy positions.

                    Prior to Sol Systems, Ms. Rafalson worked for three years as a sustainability program manager at the University of North Carolina’s Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling. She was also a Fellow in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior during the summer of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In 2009, Ms. Rafalson spent a summer advocating for national climate and energy policy in Anchorage, Alaska at the Alaska Center for the Environment. She is also fluent in conversational Spanish after living in South America for six months.

                    Ms. Rafalson holds a BA in International Studies, Sustainability, and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction and was captain of the water polo team.

                    Ms. Rafalson is a tireless advocate for diversity in the solar industry and co-chairs the national Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Women’s EmPOWERment Initiative. She was previously President of Women in Solar Energy (WISE).

                        Robin Dutta

                        Market Development and Policy, SunPower

                        Robin Dutta joined SunPower in 2015 and currently leads the company’s East Coast state policy initiatives, as well as assists in Federal affairs. His work at the state level has spanned RPS issues, net metering fights, and community solar. Robin supports the interests of SunPower’s residential and commercial dealers, as well as the company’s commercial and utility-scale direct development. Additionally, because he has worked up and down the East Coast, Robin has first-person experience in the hot button policy issues facing the solar industry – from land siting restrictions to the New York REV regulatory proceeding and next generation solar incentive structures. Robin has not forgotten where he started in the industry, working on solar water heating policy.

                        While serving on the MDV-SEIA Board of Directors the last two years, Robin has done more than just supporting the solar policy work of MDV-SEIA. He has served on the Conference Committee, assisting in conference planning, and in the hiring committees when there have been staff vacancies. He is currently serving on the hiring committee for the association’s next executive director.

                        Previously, Robin worked at the DC-based company, Nextility. Before his solar work, Robin worked in the political arena, mostly on local electoral campaigns. He earned his MA in Public Policy from the University of Delaware in 2012. Robin currently serves on the boards of the Solar Research Institute and the Georgia Solar Energy Industries Association.

                            Nicole Steele

                            Executive Director, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic

                            Nicole Steele is the Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit solar installer and job trainer working exclusively in underserved communities. She is a leading voice for low-income solar and energy efficiency in the Mid-Atlantic including DC, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Nicole directs the Mid-Atlantic office for GRID Alternatives and works with policymakers at the local and state levels to help develop and implement inclusive solar policies. GRID focuses on access issues across the entire project development process including outreach and education, affordable financing, and workforce development. GRID seeks to impact owners, renters, and building managers by installing single-family, multi-family, and community solar systems. Nicole has been on the MDV-SEIA Board of Directors since 2015, where she helped launch the first Job Fair hosted at MDV-SEIA’s Solar Focus partnered with GRID Alternatives. The first year was a smashing success with 300 job-seekers connecting with nearly 25 employers. Looking forward to an even more successful year two!

                            Prior to joining GRID Alternatives, she was the Director of Policy and State Relations at the Alliance to Save Energy managing high profile initiatives such as the Alliance’s Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy. Nicole was also the Director of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program for Loudoun County, Virginia. While in that position she designed, commissioned and implemented twelve separate energy-related projects ranging from capital improvements to feasibility studies to education and outreach programs. Prior to moving into that role, Nicole was a legislative and long-range land use planner for Loudoun. Ms. Steele also has a background in advocacy, policy development, affordable housing, urban planning, energy efficiency, and green building.

                                John Finnerty

                                Director of Project Development, Standard Solar

                                John Finnerty is director of project development with Standard Solar. Mr. Finnerty is focused on guiding organizations to develop, implement and achieve innovative renewable-energy projects.  At Standard Solar, Mr. Finnerty advances business development, job growth and mentoring goals with a focus on growing local-generation markets in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Delaware.

                                Mr. Finnerty organizes expert engineering, construction, finance and operations teams to deliver innovative, market-leading solar and emerging storage projects for clients. Central to his success is applying current public-policy benefits while advocating for policies that sustain market growth.

                                Mr. Finnerty is a member of the Delaware Tech Energy Advisory Board and is active with industry organizations. Mr. Finnerty’s previous work in the renewable-energy sector included bringing advanced regenerating electric propulsion systems for sailboats to international markets. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from McGill University in Montreal.

                                    Francis Hodsoll

                                    CEO, SolUnesco

                                    I co-founded SolUnesco, a Virginia-based solar developer (business partner Jon Hillis). We are actively developing ten projects. I also founded E&E Frontiers, an energy management consulting company (clients include: ICF, LMI, Nextera, Sol Systems, Standard Solar, U.S. AID, the U.S. Military, and the University of Delaware).

                                    I have had the opportunity to serve on the MDV-SEIA Board for three terms and currently serve as Board Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee. I lead MDV-SEIA Virginia policy efforts and as a founding member, I participate in the Virginia policy discussions between MDV-SEIA, the electric utilities, and other stakeholders – colloquially known as the Rubin Group. As a leader and contributor to many of the DC, DE, MD and VA policies and programs promoting clean energy I provide deep-rooted historical context and draw on institutional knowledge and relationships.

                                    I am running for election to the Board to:

                                    • Foster collaboration between the solar industry segments based on a shared vision even when we disagree on issues
                                    • Harness the passion within our industry while approaching policy development and advocacy with discipline and rigor
                                    • Grow MDV-SEIA’s reputation as the voice for solar in the region
                                    • Effectively deploy resources to compete with opponents who will be better funded
                                    • Create opportunities to grow all solar segments and consistently demonstrate the economic benefits
                                    • Partner effectively with our natural allies and engage broad-based support

                                    My background includes

                                    • Numerous C-Suite positions in both the private and public sectors: CEO solar developer, President energy consultancy, CFO power plant developer, SVP for power plant operations and asset management, Deputy Director of the federal regulator for offshore energy and a McKinsey energy & finance consultant.
                                    • Clean energy volunteer advisor: Chair of the Energy Workgroup for Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission; member of Governor McAuliffe’s Energy Committee; and President and founding Board member, Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Coalition.
                                    • Education: MBA from the MIT’s Sloan School of Management and BA in Economics from Colby College.

                                        Adam Thompson


                                        Vice President of Development & Operations, Urban Grid

                                        Adam joined Urban Grid in 2012, and since then has performed in a variety of roles, including sales and marketing, project management, project development, public policy and strategy, asset management and operations. In his current role, he is responsible for origination, development and fulfillment of solar project opportunities across Urban Grid’s active markets. Adam interacts daily with industry partners, landowners, municipal planning administrations, utility interconnection departments and PPA clients to ensure the successful development and completion of solar projects.

                                        Adam’s responsibilities include both Utility Scale and DG project development. His track record includes successful completion of DG solar projects for municipal governments, educational institutions, non-profits and corporations across MDV-SEIA’s territory. At the same time, he has played a key role in Urban Grid’s Utility Scale development efforts, helping to build a large pipeline of MD and VA Utility Scale projects in just under 2 years. This experience has provided Adam with a unique perspective and understanding of both DG and Utility Scale solar development in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington DC.

                                        Prior to joining Urban Grid, Adam focused on environmental and renewable energy policy, completing a master’s degree in Environmental Studies, with a focus on Renewables Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.