President of Policy and Business Development, Tesla Inc.
Christopher Ercoli leads the policy and business development activities for Tesla Inc. – expanding infrastructure that advances the adoption of electric vehicles and clean energy technology throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Union College and a Master’s degree in Carbon and Energy Management from the University of East Anglia, UK.
Director, Policy and New Markets, Sol Systems
Sara Rafalson has been with Sol Systems since 2011, and has worked for the firm in many different roles in business development, public affairs, and operations.
Today, Ms. Rafalson oversees market strategy and is responsible for state-level solar policy advocacy. She also manages the firm’s relationships with industry nonprofits and regional and national trade associations, including SEIA, MDV-SEIA, NECEC, NJSEC, ACORE, and REEBA. Ms. Rafalson is the author of the monthly SOURCE: The Sol Project Finance Journal, which has a distribution list of nearly 3,500 professionals in the solar industry and related fields.
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. She is co-chair of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Women’s EmPOWERment initiative, and was previously President of Women in Solar Energy (WISE).
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CEO and Co-founder, SolUnesco
Francis Hodsoll is the CEO and co-founder of SolUnesco, LLC, Board President of the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Association and President of E&E Frontiers, which he has led since he founded in 2011.
Francis Hodsoll is a highly networked executive who combines business development and general management expertise with strong strategy, finance, policy and performance management capabilities. His expertise is in international power plant development, finance, green energy, sustainability, energy efficiency, hydro, solar, wind, biomass, and natural gas.
Francis has held leadership positions in both the private and public sectors including CFO for a power plant owner and operator; Deputy Director of the Federal regulator for offshore energy; and VP in charge of a distributed energy project development group. He earned his MBA from the MIT’s Sloan School of Management and his BA in Economics from Colby College.
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.
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.
General Manager, Maryland; Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, 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 as Vice President/ General Manager, 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.
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.
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.
Geoff Mirkin has spent the majority of his career with Homefix Corporation, focusing on market expansion. In 2000, Mirkin purchased one of Homefix Corporation branches and grew sales by more than million per year until 2008, when he sold his interest in Homefix. In 2009, Mr. Mirkin and his partners launched Solar Energy World which is a self performing residential and commercial solar integrator. Mr. Mirkin’s leadership roles include sales, marketing, training, operations and customer relations. Mr. Mirkin now sits on both the board of directors and the policy committee of Maryland/DC Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). He brings a track record of building successful organizations, combined with a passion for renewable energy. Mr. Mirkin was born and raised in Montgomery County Md. He currently resides in Gaithersburg, MD with his wife Franki of 18 years and his daughter Paige 15 and son Max 12.
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.
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.