Forum: Solar for All: Expanding Solar Markets

Forum: Solar for All: Expanding Solar Markets

Learn how solar can address the needs of under-served markets.  Understand how different nonprofit business models meet various customer needs.  And learn best practices that address operational challenges including volunteer management, community engagement and geographic expansion.


garren.seanCo-Organizer: Sean Garren

Sean Garren is the Northeast Regional Manager for Vote Solar. In this role, Sean oversees policy campaigns in New York and New England and co-authored the Low Income Solar Policy Guide along with GRID Alternatives and the Center for Social Inclusion. He has worked in states across the country and federally in clean energy and economic development policy and politics. He was previously the Legislative Director for Fair Share, an economic fairness advocacy group, and the Clean Energy Advocate for Environment America, a grassroots environmental advocacy group. Sean has a degree in Government from Dartmouth College.


image3Co-Organizer: Mike Balma

Mike Balma is SunWork’s Finance and Development Director and a renewable energy consultant. He has completed business development and marketing projects for several solar companies. He joined SunWork’s Board of Directors in 2011. Mike has been active in the Performance Committee for SunSpec, a nonprofit solar industry alliance pursuing information standards that address operational aspects of PV power plants on the smart grid. Mike had an extensive marketing career with Hewlett-Packard including helping build HP’s open source business. He previously worked for SRI International, consulting on renewable energy technologies including solar, wind and biomass. He has a Chemical Engineering degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from Stanford University.




Ruben.veekReuben Veek

Reuben Veek is the founder and Operations Manager for SunWork, a nonprofit organization that works with trained volunteers to reduce the cost of installing solar systems.  SunWork has installed over 300 residential solar systems as well as numerous systems for nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2006. He has a background in physics, mathematics, and electrical engineering with a Bachelor’s in philosophy from Stanford University.  He also developed the SunThink! software application used by SunWork to accurately size solar systems.


Version 2 Patrick McCully

Patrick McCully is Executive Director of Black Rock Solar, a non-profit developer and contractor that has built nearly 7 MW of solar projects for non-profits, schools, Native American tribes, and municipalities in the state of Nevada. He joined Black Rock Solar in 2010 from Berkeley-headquartered advocacy group International Rivers, where he spent 17 years fighting destructive dams and promoting human rights and sustainable water and energy practices around the world. He is a board member of International Rivers and the author of Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams.


Andreas. KarlasAndreas Karelas

Andreas Karelas is the founder and Executive Director of RE-volv. Andreas is a dedicated renewable energy advocate with over ten years of environmental and renewable energy nonprofit experience. Prior to founding RE-volv Andreas worked with a number of leading organizations including the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the National Audubon Society, blueEnergy, and the Center for Resource Solutions. Andreas holds Master’s degrees in International Affairs and in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He is a 2013 Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow and a 2016 OpenIDEO Climate Innovator Fellow. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Local Clean Energy Alliance.


mackie.ericaErica Mackie

Erica Mackie, P.E., co-founded GRID Alternatives in 2001 and as CEO has helped develop it into a major national nonprofit that makes solar technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. Ms. Mackie has received numerous awards for her leadership of GRID Alternatives, including the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2008, the New Leaders Council Energy Leadership Award in 2009, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in 2010, the US Green Building Council’s Green Building Super Hero Award in 2010 and the 2013 Clean Energy and Empowerment Award from C3E. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Southern Illinois University.