Top 10 women in solar energy

On August 9th, South Africa celebrated National Women’s Day. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws. Women have stood for a very long time as the pillar of strength in South Africa.

Below we cover the top 10 women who’ve had a major impact in the solar energy industry.

  1. Bernadette Del Chiaro: Executive Director, California Solar Energy Industries Association(CALSEIA).

Bernadette Del Chiaro – California Solar Energy Industries Association.

Bernadette Del Chiaro began working for CALSEIA in 2013 after a successful Million Solar Roofs campaign (the largest investment in solar power in history), as Director of Clean Energy with Environment California. She’s also led the Clean Energy LA campaign, which is aimed at creating a standard for 20 percent renewable energy by 2017, at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

“Solar needs imaginative and bold people who are willing to do the work and these people are in this room,” – Bernadette Del Chiaro about her CALSEIA team.

9.  Claudia Wentworth: CEO, Quick Mount PV.

Claudia Wentworth – Quick Mount PV.

After 20 years in the green energy industry, Claudia Wentworth, alongside with her husband, Stuart Wentworth created Quick Mount PV.

In 2006, the Wentworth’s saw their company rapidly expanding in the industry due to enhanced quality, better products, and superior customer service.

Over nine years, Quick Mount PV has experienced over 100% code-compliant, watertight solar roof mounts: which saw them achieve over 4000% growth.

8. Eden Full: Founder, Roseicollis Technologies & inventor of the SunSaluter.

Eden Full – SunSaluter.

Eden Full was named in the top 30 under 30 best innovators in Forbes energy category of 2012. Full is a successful entrepreneur and solar energy woman. She’s 22 years old and leads the Roseicollis Technologies and has invented the SunSaluter. The SunSaluter is a solar energy initiative that uses the rotation of solar panels to track the sun, using mechanical water flow, giving consumers 40 percent more electricity and the bonus of clean water.

“What we want to do is reduce not only the amount of water-borne diseases using a filter that’s built into the SunSaluter, but we also want to reduce the payback for these systems and reduce the amount of maintenance that people need to go through in order to use it.” Eden Full at the Techonomy 2012 conference in Tucson, Arizona.

7. Kristen Nicole: Founder and Executive Director, Women in Solar.

Kristen Nicole – Women in Solar


Kristen Nicole continues to empower the solar community with her words of wisdom, work of excellence and attitude of a winner. Kristen Nicole is well known for the open letter to leasing solar organizations she wrote in 2013. The letter looks at occasions of sexism, where women in the solar industry fall in the gender politics. She wrote “Enough is Enough” and it is time to take action. Kristen Nicole and the Women in Solar are compromising exceptionally well in the solar business.

6. Julia Judd Ham: President and CEO, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).

Julia Judd Ham – Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).

Julia Ham holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Cornell University, New York. She’s been the president and CEO of SEPA since 1992 when the business was Utility Photovoltaic Group. She has, however, taken a gap in the past with her company until 2004.

After her spell back, she has made a distinctive name for herself. The interview with Susan Sun Nunamaker from Sunisthefuture focused on creating a bridge between the utility and the solar business. In the interview, she explained how the two businesses of solar and utility can partner in order to produce excellence as the way forward.

5. Raina Russo: Visionary of #SolarChat, Co-Founder and President,

Raina Russo – #SolarChat and

Raina Russo grew her profile online through the weekly #SolarChat on Twitter, Raina Russo is the Co-founder and President of is a solar referral service operating online. Raina Russo aims to join together solar and renewable energy experts with solar interested consumers in a discussion that looks at solar energy, solar PV, solar hot water and solar pool heating.

4. Katherine Lucey: Founder and CEO, Solar Sister.

 Katherine Lucey – Solar Sister.

At number 4, we’ve got, Katherine Lucey. She has spent 20 years working as a banker motivated by the energy sector. Her time spent in East Africa innovated her to begin Solar Sister in 2009, a non-profit organization aimed at producing electricity for the 590 million women in the sub-Saharan Africa without electricity.

3. Erica Mackie, P.E.: CEO and Co-Founder, GRID Alternatives

Erica Mackie – GRID Alternatives.

As a way to counter this Western America energy crisis of 2001, Erica Mackie, a mechanical engineer, along with Tim Sears had a vision of introducing free, clean, non-effective and solar driven electricity. The Grid Alternatives is a non-profit solar installer, founded in 2004. It aims at reaching low-income communities that needed it the most. It has however set a large scale solar adoption worldwide.

“We envision the world where families, regardless of income, can have access to clean power and bills they can afford. For us, we are really about solutions and it’s about solving a problem one family at a time, one rooftop at a time.” Erica Mackie, CEO and Co-Founder, Grid Alternatives (in an article from The Daily Beast).

2. Laura E. Stachel, M.D., M.P.H.: Co-Founder and executive director of WE CARE Solar

Laura E. Stachel – WE CARE Solar.

Superwoman! Those who have heard about Laura E. Stachel will know why she is a superwoman. Her effort in bringing We Care Solar to West African countries is a serious invention. Laura Stachel went from unknown to CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of 2013. Her extraordinary work started in Northern Nigeria in 2008.

  1. Lynn Jurich: CEO and Co-Founder, Sunrun

Lynn Jurich. Photo credit:

Lynn Jurich is a solid example of an influential entrepreneur and an innovative women in the solar business. She’s been very active at introducing solar energy that is cost effective and affordable to various states across America and worldwide.

She co-founded Sunrun, with Edward Fenster.

In 2014, Sunrun Acquired REC and Vertically Integrates in Residential PV. The initiative transformed Sunrun into a vertically integrated residential Photo-Voltaic company, covering financing, solar sales, design, installation, distribution, and mounting systems.