MD DC DE VA Solar Energy Industries Association

Board of Directors

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Rick Peters, President

President, Solar Energy Services

Rick Peters manages administration, sales and marketing for SES. 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 experiences including: 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  board of directors of the Maryland/DC/Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) since 2010. Rick invests substantial time in education and market development for solar thermal 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.

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Nicole Sitaraman, Vice President

Senior Manager of Public Policy, Sunrun Inc.

Nicole W. Sitaraman is a Senior Manager of Public Policy at Sunrun, Inc.  In this role, Nicole manages Sunrun’s engagement in legislative and regulatory policy initiatives in New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.  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 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.

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 Steering Committee Member of Interfaith Power & Light, DC.Md.NoVA.  She was recently listed as a “Catalyst” in the 2018 Grist 50 List.  Nicole earned a B.A. in English from Yale University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

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Robin Dutta, Treasurer

Market Development and Policy (Eastern US), 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. Robin also currently serves on the boards of the Solar Research Institute and the Georgia Solar Energy Industries Association.

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.

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Mike Healy, Secretary

CEO, New Columbia Solar

Mike Healy is a respected visionary leader within the flourishing renewable energy industry. He is an experienced entrepreneur and business strategist who has played a key role in starting two successful energy companies. He has been instrumental in developing business growth strategies from start-up level to maturity, including originating more than 30 successful partnerships within the private and public sectors. Mike has a proven track record of developing a long-term strategy, implementing the tactics to maintain and execute that strategy, and delivering results. Mike recently served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association) a nationwide trade association advocating for the solar industry and also served as Vice President and Policy Chair at MDV-SEIA. He is a former founder and partner at Nextility Inc., one of the largest solar developers in Washington, DC. Mike also lead MDV-SEIA’s RPS efforts in Washington, DC in 2011 (and has played a large role in 2016) and lead Maryland’s RPS efforts in 2012.

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Chris Ercoli, Member

Director of Government Affairs and Policy, Brookfield Renewable

Chris Ercoli leads the policy and government affairs activities for Brookfield Renewable throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regional markets. Chris works to influence state energy and electric utility policy to expand opportunities and preserve access to cost-competitive renewable energy. Previously, Chris led Tesla’s energy policy and electricity markets team throughout the PJM interconnection region. Prior to Tesla,  Chris worked for the United States Army Office of Energy Initiatives, developing large-scale energy projects with a focus on achieving renewable energy goals and on-site energy security.

Chris holds a Masters in Carbon Emissions and Energy Management from the University of East Anglia and a BA in Electrical Engineering from Union College.

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Becky Campbell, Member

Manager of Government Affairs, First Solar

Becky Campbell joined First Solar in 2015, and currently leads the company’s legislative and regulatory affairs efforts throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and North East. She held prior roles in the company’s business and market development teams. Becky has been an active member of MDV-SEIA’s VA and MD leadership committees and has also served on the Solar Focus Conference Planning committee for the last two years.

Prior to First Solar, Becky held positions at the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), where she was the association's Senior Manager of Research & Advisory Services, and the Pennsylvania State Energy Office, where she designed and managed the PA Sunshine Program – a $100 million residential and small commercial solar rebate program.

Becky has a B.S. in Environmental Systems Engineering from Penn State University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Becky resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Michael Volpe, Member

Vice President, Open Road Renewables

Mike Volpe is the Vice President of Open Road Renewables and has been very active in supporting MDV-SEIA’s efforts in MD and VA since 2013.  Mike is a renewable energy industry expert with nearly a decade of experience spanning origination, project development, and finance. Mike most recently served as the PJM Director for SunEdison’s Distributed Generation business where he originated and managed the successful completion of 18 projects.  Many of these projects were located in Maryland where Mike worked with Maryland-focused partners such as Standard Solar, BITH Energy, and OneEnergy Renewables.

During this time, Mike led the financing of the first off-site Aggregate Net Energy Metering project (Nixon Farm) paving the way for the Community Solar Pilot Program and worked with notable Maryland-based off-takers such as: Montgomery County Public Schools, Johns Hopkins University, Cecil County Board of Education, Town of Elkton, Pocomoke City, City of Salisbury, Chimes International, and Columbia Association.  Mike also played a role coordinating SunEd’s Maryland policy efforts both from the regulatory and legislative side.  These efforts included participating in MD PSC working groups and leading a group of 20 SunEd colleagues in Annapolis for the 2016 RPS expansion legislation.

Mike holds a unique experience set with an intimate knowledge of both the DG and utility-scale markets.  Further, Mike has a significant amount of project finance experience and has led the financing efforts on both DG and utility-scale projects in Maryland.  His diverse experience set makes him a strong candidate for the MDV-SEIA board consideration.  Mike’s current company, Open Road Renewables, is active in both Maryland and Virginia and Mike is committed to policy outcomes that advance the deployment of more DG and utility-scale solar in these markets.

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Adam Thompson, Member

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.

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Ethan Case, Member

Vice President of Policy, Heelstone Energy

Ethan Case is the Vice President of Policy at Heelstone Energy, a utility scale solar developer, where he leads nationwide regulatory and legislative engagement.

Ethan began his career in solar while working abroad in New Delhi, India in 2009. Prior to joining Heelstone Energy in 2019, Ethan spent three years at Cypress Creek Renewables advising on market strategy in fully regulated markets and in the PJM region. He also spent two years maintaining the US Department of Energy’s DSIRE database at the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University. While at NC State, Ethan was a co-author on several distributed solar policy reports, including The Fifty States of Solar.

He currently serves on the boards of the Solar Research Institute and the North Carolina Business Council and has previously served on the boards of the Virginia Solar Workforce Development Initiative and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University.

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Shelley Cohen, Member

Co-CEO, Alpha Solar Group

Shelley Cohen is Co-CEO of Alpha Solar Group.  She brings to Alpha Solar Group 17 years of hands on renewable energy and energy efficiency project development experience. Shelley is a respected solar industry professional, who has developed close to 20 MWs of renewable energy, including solar projects in DE and DC while working as a Senior Project Developer at Ameresco. She has an expertise working with clients to assess needs, design project options, and bring projects on-line. Prior to working at Ameresco, she worked for the EPA promoting renewable energy, at the White House on sustainable development, and on Capitol Hill. She currently serves on the boards of MDV-SEIA, NWF, and was recently accepted as one of the 2015 recipients of the Women’s Leadership Fellow at the Impact Center. Shelley has a 12kw solar system on her home, and regularly gives tours and provides information on solar. She spends as much of her free time as possible, out doors, with her family.

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Jennifer Spinosi, Member

Head of Regulatory and Compliance, CleanChoice Energy

Jennifer is the Head of Regulatory and Compliance at CleanChoice Energy , where she engages stakeholders in the development of policies and regulations on retail and renewable energy and ensures that company contracts and marketing materials are in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Previously, Jennifer worked for Direct Energy and was responsible for the development, advocacy, and implementation of legislative and regulatory policies to support the company’s solar growth agenda. Her background in issues impacting restructured (energy choice) states gives her a unique perspective on renewable energy policy. Jennifer has extensive experience in smart meter and data access policy, and has testified on these issues in D.C., OH, IL, and MA. Jennifer has Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Philosophy from The Ohio State University and a J.D. with a concentration in environmental and energy law from Capital University. Jennifer is an avid gardener and food preservationist.

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Ed Merrick, Member

Policy and Government Relations, Trinity Solar

Ed has been working in the energy industry for nearly 25 years, 16 of which have been spent in the solar electric industry. In his current role, he is leading Trinity Solar’s expansion efforts in the Mid-Atlantic region. With a background at PV manufacturing pioneer BP Solar, as well as one of the nation’s leading solar providers, Trinity Solar, Ed has held various roles throughout the solar value chain in sales, marketing, operations and government affairs. Ed is well-versed in project finance, marketing strategy, offer development, and incentive rate design for both residential and commercial-sized systems.

Over the years, Ed has participated in various lobbying efforts in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Prior to the merger of the Solar Alliance with SEIA, Ed was an active leader in the group focusing on East Coast legislative and regulatory affairs. In 2009, Ed led the Solar Alliance’s intervention in PSE&G’s “Solar 4 All” petition to the New Jersey Board of Public Affairs and participated as a key member, providing analysis and testimony, in support of and passage of New Jersey’s Solar Act of 2012.

Ed holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He also is a registered professional environmental engineer (inactive) and holds a Maryland Home Improvement Contractor’s License.

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Brad Nowak, Member

Energy Partner, Williams Mullen

Brad Nowak is an energy partner with the law firm of Williams Mullen, where he is Co-Chair of Williams Mullen’s Energy and Solar Practice Groups. He concentrates his energy practice on representing developers, investors and owners on the finance, development, construction, operation, purchase and sale of renewable energy facilities, with particular focus on the development of utility-scale and distributed generation solar projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S.

Brad has represented solar developers on significant transactions, including the construction and sale of over 25 solar projects to major public utilities. He has experience drafting and negotiating and/or advising energy clients on issues regarding project development, including interconnection arrangements, PPAs, EPC agreements, O&M agreements, supply agreements, and purchase and sale agreements. He also represents energy clients on matters concerning FERC and state regulatory commissions. Brad regularly stays abreast of legislation, regulatory rulings and other developments affecting the solar industry.

Brad earned his Juris Doctor degree from Wake Forest University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a member of the bars of Virginia, New York and Washington, DC.

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John Finnerty, Member

Director of Project Development, Standard Solar 

John 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.

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Nicole Steele, Member

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.

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Pari Kasotia, Member

Mid-Atlantic Director, Vote Solar

I serve as the Mid-Atlantic Director for Vote Solar, a leading solar advocacy organization that works to enable solar friendly policies across the nation. I was instrumental in providing advocacy, outreach and communications support for the successful passage of MD Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2019 by leveraging my organizations’ resources as well as external resources. Just to give a sense, Vote Solar’s effort was able to mobilize close to 5,000 action alerts on the CEJA bill. I was also instrumental in getting the community solar pilot program passed in New Jersey. In 2019, I was selected to serve as one of the Advisory Council members of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. As a Board member of MDV-SEIA, I will add tremendous value by lending my advocacy and outreach skills combined with my organizational resources. Here is some additional background on me.

Prior to my current role, I served as the Deputy Director of The Solar Foundation where I provided leadership strategic/fundraising and operational oversight – skills that would help with fundraising efforts of MDV-SEIA. I was the lead author of the 2017 US Solar Industry Diversity Study. I am listed in Renewable Energy World’s Solar 40 under 40 and Midwest Energy News 40 under 40 Emerging Clean Energy Leaders.

Previously, I led the Energy Office in the State of Iowa where I set the state’s clean energy direction and strategy. During my tenure, I undertook a number of renewable energy programs in solar and wind energy, and energy efficiency that moved the needle in the clean energy space. This experience gives me the unique perspective on how solar issues intersect with the rest of the energy sector and where can we leverage opportunities for collaboration and pursue shared interests.

I have significant experience being on various Boards which will be invaluable at MDV-SEIA to fulfill fiduciary responsibility and provide organizational oversight. I currently serve on the Board of Directors (Secretary role starting end of June) of Women’s Council for Energy and Environment (previously Section Chair of Career Building and Women in Leadership (WIL)). In this role, I organized leadership and educational events to educate members on clean energy topics – a skill that will be useful to help organize the 2019 Solar Focus Conference. I was previously also active with the Energy Bar Association where I served as the Chair of the Renewable Energy Subcommittee.

I have made numerous presentations on topics related to solar, clean energy, environment, diversity and gender, and sustainable communities for various organizations. In 2017, I was selected and invited to speak at the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in New York City at the High-Level  Event on  the  Sustainable Development Agenda. I also presented on solar energy at the Women in STEM Conference and Awards 2017 in San Francisco. My other speaking engagements include presentations for Intersolar (solar trade show and conference), United Nations Association (UNA), National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), National Governors Association (NGA), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other organizations.

I have authored a number of clean energy articles for NJ Spotlight, PennLive, Triple Pundit, UN Chronicle and have been quoted in Solar Power World, Solar Industry Magazine, Renewable Energy Magazine, Utility Dive, Times of Trenton, TGEink, New Jersey 101.5, EndeavorNews, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.