MD DC DE VA Solar Energy Industries Association

2019 Board Election Candidates

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Becky Campbell, 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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Robin Dutta, SunPower

Robin Dutta joined SunPower in 2015 where he leads the company’s east coast state policy initiatives, as well as supports the company’s Federal Affairs team. Robin is a bit of a throwback, having broken into the industry working on solar water heating policy for Skyline Innovations. His move to the PV space has shifted his focus to net metering/rate design, community solar, and the next generation of state renewable goals. Robin currently sits on the boards of the Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Research Institute. He holds a M.A. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. in Political Science from Drew University. Originally from New Jersey, Robin currently resides in Washington, DC.
Robin currently serves as Board Treasurer and the Executive Committee the last two years. In that time, MDV-SEIA fully funded lobbyists in Delaware, Virginia, and Maryland for the first time. The association has not pulled any money from our rainy day fund, and we remain financially healthy. He has also been active on staff management, serving on hiring committees for new staff over the last four years.

Robin has been politically active in Delaware, Maryland, and DC with an increasing eye on Virginia. Since SunPower has a network of local/regional installers, he works on policy that supports all kinds of distributed solar for companies of all sizes.
Healthy solar markets should work for all types of companies. MDV-SEIA should continue to be a good steward for the solar industry. Our Board members need to balance our corporate perspectives with the public good of the solar industry. That is already the legacy that past Board members have left. I feel very strongly that we should not lose that legacy, and the public good of the industry is always a primary concern of mine.

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John Finnerty, Standard Solar

“It is happening now” is the new common message heard from state legislators, governors, utility executives and our customers in regard to the choice and demand for clean energy. It’s a result of a decade plus of industry growth and performance. We hear it and see it across the country and locally in the form of expanded and 100% RPS legislation. In Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia and Delaware I am glad to work with MDV-SEIA to leverage our industry success to fuel the expansion in all markets and sectors.

As a current board member I am glad to have participated with the industry on the multi-year march to the Maryland 50% RPS passage, and as part of the Standard Solar team I am pleased to have facilitated clean energy projects in DC, VA, DE and with our PA neighbors. Moving forward, policy work will need to continue to support our energy policies throughout our region to ensure growth in all sectors.

In addition to serving as Board member I have also been a member of the Delaware Tech Energy Advisory Board focused on job development, certification and training. My previous work in the renewable energy sector also provided background in operations, manufacturing and sustainable product design. Received my Bachelor of Arts in Economics from McGill University, home to the then Montreal Expos and now Washington Nationals.

With your vote I’ll look forward to supporting policies that grow our markets and facilitate new energy choices for our customers.

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Pari Kasotia, 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.

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Geoff Mirkin, Solar Energy World

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 $4 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.

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Jackson Naftel, Strata Solar

As Director of Development, I am responsible for managing and building Strata’s pipeline of utility scale solar projects in the Mid-Atlantic. I regularly work with utilities, local governments, and state agencies throughout the MDV-SEIA territory to develop solar projects as small as 2MW and as large as 200MW. Prior to joining Strata Solar, I worked as a consultant in the energy and utility space. Strata Solar is a developer, EPC and owner / operator of both utility-scale and community solar. We are highly vested in the Virginia market from both a development and EPC perspective. Given our experience in Virginia and the future solar demand in MDV-SEIA territory I understand the importance of quality utility-scale solar projects built at a competitive price. In order to achieve both
quality and cost-competitiveness it is imperative that there are policies in place at the state and local level that allow for efficient, predictable development and construction. Thank you for considering me for the MDV-SEIA Board. I hope to have the opportunity to serve on the Board and promote the interests of solar developers and EPC companies.

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Rick Peters, 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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Drew Price, Hexagon Energy

Drew Price is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Hexagon Energy, an independent renewable energy development firm based in Charlottesville, Virginia. As Managing Director, Drew is engaged in all facets of the business, including program and policy analysis, site selection and acquisition, project design, energy modeling, interconnection, permitting, off-take agreements, and project financing. Drew has been at the ground level of the solar industry in Virginia and Maryland with over 370 MW of solar projects under development in the region, ranging from community solar to utility scale. Through his work developing projects, Drew has built relationships with utilities, cooperatives, counties, towns, and other industry organizations and forged collaborative partnerships that benefit all stakeholders. As MDV-SEIA Board Member, Drew will leverage this knowledge and experience to advance the Mid-Atlantic solar industry.

Founding and growing a Virginia small business, Drew has worked closely with MDV-SEIA and other Mid-Atlantic organizations on important policy initiatives and stakeholder engagement. Drew is a member of the six person negotiating team representing MDV-SEIA and the solar industry in discussions with the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and Southside Virginia counties. Drew also serves on the Virginia Solar Workforce Development Initiative Leadership Council, funding and promoting solar job training for local workers. Additionally, Drew serves on the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance (CvilleREA), representing 9 companies with over 400 employees and 3,214 MW of installed renewable energy.

Drew believes that the success of the solar industry in our region largely depends on building successful, collaborative relationships with the local communities. As a result, he spends most of his time working directly with towns and counties (12 and counting) on solar ordinances, zoning, permitting, design, and operational issues. Drew regularly attends and presents at local town halls, planning commissions, and Board of Supervisors meetings. This work enables him to understand and incorporate the needs and concerns of localities and their residents in policy solutions.

Prior to starting Hexagon, Drew spent 11 years developing energy and climate programs for the world’s major economies. Drew led the creation of environmental commodity trading markets for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, California, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He also served as a senior advisor to clients, providing guidance on emerging topics such as market oversight, security, system integration, and program development. This experience instilled the importance and challenge of aligning policy goals and program implementation through stakeholder engagement, thoughtful design, and carefully considered deployment.

Drew lives in Charlottesville with his wife and three kids. He has deep roots in the region, having lived in Virginia for 23 years with extended family that are multi-generational Marylanders. Drew has a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia.

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Nicole Sitaraman, Sunrun

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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Nicole Steele, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic

When Nicole Steele started as GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic’s Executive Director in 2014, there was little precedent for low-income solar policies and programs across the region. In the last five years, Nicole has built partnerships and programs with clean energy organizations and government agencies that have advanced renewable energy and low-income solar access in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District. Under Nicole’s leadership, GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic has installed nearly 2MW of solar on over 200 single-family rooftop solar systems and provided over 500 multifamily tenants with solar benefits. Nicole has also led GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic to design, develop, and implement the Solar Works DC program, which trains District residents in solar installation and career readiness skills. Prior to joining GRID Alternatives, she was the Alliance to Save Energy’s Director of Policy and State Relations. She has over 15 years of experience in the environmental and energy fields (urban planning, grassroots advocacy, policy development, and program design and implementation). Nicole currently serves as a board member for MDV-SEIA, the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), and as an advisory board member for DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU). As a Board member of MDV-SEIA, Nicole has led the partnership between MDV-SEIA and GRID to plan and run the job fair at Solar Focus the last three years. We look forward to continuing and growing that partnership. Nicole strives to be a voice in the Mid-Atlantic region to make sure solar energy and jobs are accessible to everyone.

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Rachel Stegall, Recurrent Energy

Rachel Stegall joined Recurrent in 2018 and leads the company’s legislative, government and regulatory affairs in PJM, MISO and the Southeast. Rachel has extensive policy and government relations experience, and has been working in the Maryland and Virginia legislatures for more than ten years across several sectors. Since joining Recurrent Rachel has been an active member of MDV-SEIA, MDV-SEIA’s Utility Scale Solar working group and SEIA nationally.

She holds a BA in Political Science and Spanish from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

Recurrent Energy is a leading utility-scale solar and energy storage project developer, delivering competitive, clean electricity to large energy buyers. Recurrent Energy has more than 5 GW of solar projects in development in the U.S.

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Adam Thompson, 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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Karl Unterlechner, SaveSolar

Karl Unterlechner (CEO) is originally from Australia - one of the most competitive retail and renewable energy countries in the world.

He has a proven background in establishing innovative models to sell energy, and is a market-leader in software development. Over 10 years, Karl built and sold a software company that serviced the largest US solar companies such as Sunrun, Verengo Solar and Sunpower, in addition to retail providers such as TXU, Inspire, Green Mountain and Kiwi Energy.

During this period, he also assisted developing acquisition channels that helped grow True Value Solar to 130,000 residential customers in Australia, including an exit as the largest residential solar company, and consulted with Ledified Lighting Corporation - the largest energy efficiency business in Australia.

After the sale of the software business, Karl saw an opportunity to combine experience in solar asset development, software, and retail customer processes to move to Washington DC and focus on the growing Community Solar market opportunity.

Established in 2015, SaveSolar is a Washington D.C. based organization that specialize in developing Community Solar assets. They work with building owners to finance and build solar assets, compensate them with long-term revenue, and generate solar energy back into the utility. This energy is then provided at a discount to Residential, Low Income and Community subscribers. Their mission is to help our district reach its renewable energy goals, lower the cost of electricity, and work closely with the DOEE and DCSEU in line with their objectives.

Karl has a proven background in establishing innovative models to sell energy, and is a market-leader in acquisition strategies. His background includes a number of startups (built to exit), project and operations management, sales channel development and consulting.​

Previous Board positions have included:

The SMART Group - Electricity Sales and Marketing
InterfaceIT - Software Development
Instep Marketing - Electricity and Insurance Sales and Marketing
EETech - Energy Efficiency
Los Angeles Dragons - Sporting Club
SaveSolar Corporation - Community Solar Development

Karl has a B.Man (Marketing) and also studied Civil Engineering, Property & Construction and Architecture.

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Mike Volpe, 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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Christopher Worley, Vivint Solar

Christopher Worley is the Director of Rate Design for Vivint Solar, working on regulatory issues across the company's 22 operating states. In regulatory proceedings, Chris works collaboratively with SEIA, NGOs, and other stakeholders to ensure fair and equitable treatment of distributed energy resources.

Before joining Vivint Solar, Chris was the Director of Policy and Research at the Colorado Energy Office. He oversaw the Office’s legislative and regulatory activities, including participating in over 40 Colorado Public Utilities Commission proceedings. During Chris’s tenure with the Office (2011-2017), the Colorado General Assembly passed no energy bills the Office opposed.

Additionally, Chris worked on energy analysis and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2010-2011), and he earned his Ph.D. in Mineral and Energy Economics from the Colorado School of Mines (2011).