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 developed the AC electrical delivery system in the 1880s.
It’s impossible to know what history will say about the innovators of today. The best known modern innovators—people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos—have left indelible marks on technology, sure, but there are thousands of other silent contributors transforming the way we live and work.
This special section honors nine of the brightest minds in solar. These innovators and influencers are working inside the industry today so solar can live up to its promise of powering the world with clean, renewable energy tomorrow. Most have rarely been in the public eye.
Leaders of leading solar companies chose those featured on the following pages, and they wrote why they made their choices. They said these innovators are committed, thoughtful, progressive and effective leaders. They said their contribution to the industry is not over—far from it. All we can say to this class of innovators and influencers is keep going—the world is counting on you!
The 2016 Innovators and Influencers as recognized by Solar Power World include:
Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners – written by Adam Browning of Vote Solar
Danny Kennedy, managing director of California Clean Energy Fund – written by Boris von Bormann of sonnen
Jane Weissman, former president and CEO of IREC – written by Andrea Luecke of The Solar Foundation
Alex DiGiorgio, community development manager of MCE – written by Claudia Wentworth of Quick Mount PV
John Benner, executive director of Bay Area PV Consortium – written by B.J. Stanbery of Siva Power
Chris Scyocurka, president of Green Earth Energy – written by Jonathan Doochin of Soligent
Lisa Jackson, VP of environment, policy and initiatives at Apple – written by Howard Wenger of SunPower
Erica Mackie, co-founder and CEO of GRID Alternatives – written by Raghu Belur of Enphase Energy
Dora Nakafuji, director of renewable energy planning at Hawaiian Electric Company – written by Julia Hamm of SEPA
See all their stories here.