2016 Innovators and Influencers

The names and faces of history’s greatest innovators are permanently woven into our collective memory. Leonardo da Vinci depicted a solar concentrator in drawings more than 500 years ago. In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin discovered numerous attributes about electricity, including its ability to flow from one conductor to another like water. And Nikola Tesla

Innovators and Influencers: Jane Weissman, emphasizing the importance of training

By Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation A pioneer in the renewable energy arena, Jane Weissman has played an indispensable role in professionalizing the solar workforce. Jane became the head of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) in 1994 and served in that position for 22 years. She was among the

Innovators and Influencers: Alex DiGiorgio, helping ratepayers vote with their dollars

By Claudia Wentworth, CEO of Quick Mount PV I am often motivated by the many ordinary and extraordinary people who are aligned to change the standard of how we harness the electrical energy we all use. Doing this takes effort from many, many people who are teaching, learning, creating and innovating new roads into a

Innovators and Influencers: Danny Kennedy, always with people in mind

By Boris von Bormann, CEO of sonnen Danny Kennedy’s contributions to the solar industry are extensive, diverse and, to put it mildly, impressive by anyone’s standards. A dedicated activist, company founder, published author and more, Danny seems to have done it all, proving his dedication to the industry. While the extent of his work stands

Innovators and Influencers: Lisa Jackson, demonstrating what’s possible in renewable energy

By Howard Wenger, president of business units for SunPower Many companies have pledged to use 100% renewable energy, but Apple has gone further faster than any other company. Helping Apple blaze this trail is Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. With the support of her boss, CEO Tim Cook, this former

Innovators and Influencers: John Benner, the quiet bridge builder

By B.J. Stanbery, president of Siva Power Innovation lies at the heart of the solar industry, but its remarkable rise was arguably seeded by the OAPEC oil embargo of 1973, which forced a worldwide recognition of how vulnerable the global manufacturing economy was to the cost of energy, and motivated the creation of both the

Innovators and Influencers: Nancy Pfund, investing in companies that do good

By Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar Many venture capital firms invest in clean energy, and some talk about the benefits of investing with social impacts in mind. But there’s only one Nancy Pfund. Nancy is founder and managing partner of DBL Partners. DBL is an acronym for double bottom line, referring to the

Innovators and Influencers: Dora Nakafuji, planning for Hawaii’s solar future

By Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) When historians, years from now, write about the great 21st century clean energy transition, one person they’ll mention is Dora Nakafuji, director of the renewable energy planning division at Hawaiian Electric Company. The more you talk with her, the cooler and more

Innovators and Influencers: Chris Scyocurka, New England’s PACE leader

By Jonathan Doochin, CEO of Soligent Chris Scyocurka’s entrepreneurial mind has always been a step ahead and very much interested in renewable energy sources, which made the role of managing partner at Green Earth Energy feel like second nature to him. He attended the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Center for Geothermal Energy at Oklahoma

Innovators and Influencers: Erica Mackie, changing communities through solar

By Raghu Belur, cofounder and vice president of products and strategic initiatives at Enphase Energy Few people are more passionate about the power of solar to change lives than Erica Mackie, cofounder and CEO of GRID Alternatives—the largest nonprofit solar installer in the country. Her enthusiastic efforts to deploy solar in low-income and underserved communities