How We Started 

Steve and Steph worked together as consultants for a think tank scaling up the deployment of solar microgrids in India. Our research took us to the field, where we realized that the off-grid rural villages we visited were often in a better position to access solar power than households in our own country. We also noticed America lacked energy equity: that is, that the benefits of energy innovation were not extended to all communities and consumers. Upon returning to the U.S., we committed to work to change this. Solstice Initiative was hatched shortly after to put affordable solar power within reach of every American.


TEAM

STEVE MOILANEN, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT

Steve has spent years working for the federal government, international organizations, and political campaigns in support of social change. He was previously employed by the White House Office Energy and Climate Change, which worked to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity industry, promulgate fuel efficiency standards, and manage the federal response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In connection with his work on Solstice, Steve was selected as a Halcyon Fellow and Echoing Green Climate Fellow, which both recognize and support outstanding young entrepreneurs with ambitious visions of social change. Steve’s experience also includes employment with the United Nations Environment Programme, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Obama for America. Steve graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and holds a Master in Public Affairs degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. 

 

ISAAC MAZE-ROTHSTEIN, COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR

Isaac has organized environmental and political campaigns across the country.  Working for organizations like MassPIRG and Environment America, he led fundraising efforts to end corn subsidies in Colorado, protect the Clean Water Act in four states, and increase recycling in Massachusetts.  As a field organizer for the Campaign to Elect Elizabeth Warren, he coordinated voter mobilization efforts in half a dozen communities.  He recently supported Greentown Labs' clean-technology startups as they developed strategic relationships with investors, manufacturers, and partners.  He graduated with honors from Williams College.

 

MARC CAJOLET, DESIGNER

Marc is a user experience professional with 20+ years experience designing and building interactive applications for mobile, web and desktop users. He draws for a diverse background as a product manager and technical evangelist at startups, mid-size and enterprise companies. He has a passion for alternative energy, and owns a 12.5kWH solar home. Marc has taught a variety of graduate courses at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Bentley University and Harvard Extension School. He holds a B.S. in Computer Graphics from UMass Amherst and an MBA from Bentley.

STEPH SPEIRS, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO

Steph is a social entrepreneur and community builder with nine years of operational experience in the U.S., Middle East, and South Asia. She was selected as an Echoing Green Climate Fellow, a Global Good Fund Fellow, a Kia Revisionary, and an Acumen Global Fellow, all of which recognize emerging leaders in social enterprise. She previously led sales and marketing innovation initiatives at d.light India, a solar products company powering areas without reliable electricity; spearheaded Acumen's renewable energy sector investment strategy in Pakistan; developed Middle East policy as the youngest Director at the White House National Security Council; and managed field operations in seven states for the first Obama presidential campaign. She holds a B.A. from Yale and a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) with distinction from Princeton, and is a recipient of the Paul and Daily Soros Fellowship for New Americans.  

                                        

Sean Hutton, Community OUTREACH Coordinator

Sean is a community outreach specialist who has worked with a variety of organizations throughout New England to educate and engage citizens on issues of environmental importance.  During his time with the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, Sean developed and coordinated outreach campaigns to excite communities within Massachusetts about investing in local renewable energy generation and generate supporters for their Green Power Programs.  His experience also includes employment with the The Worcester Roots Project and Connecticut Rivers Alliance.  Sean holds a Master of Science and Policy from Clark University where he resided as an International Development, Community, and Environment Fellow.  

MADELINE IFFERT, COMMUNITY OUTREACH ASSOCIATE

Madeline recently graduated from Penn State University with degrees in Industrial Engineering and Spanish. She is working with Solstice Initiative through a fellowship program called ServiceCorps which places graduates with non-profits for a year before beginning a full-time job. In college she was co-president of a campus group that worked with Girl Scouts in the local community. Through this, she helped to organize a weekend workshop for middle school girls to learn about energy and the environment. After Solstice, Madeline will work for GE Power in a rotational program. In her spare time, she loves speaking Spanish, ballroom dancing, and snacking on coconut milk ice cream.

SANDHYA MURALI, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Sandhya began her career in Barclays’ investment banking division in New York and London, advising on and executing public equity transactions for Technology, Media and Telecom companies, and was also deeply involved in Barclays Philanthropy. Her volunteer work included Endeavor, Women’s World Banking, and Barclays’ Social Innovation Fund. During graduate school, Sandhya worked at Buen Power Peru, a for-profit social enterprise that distributes solar lamps and water heaters to off-grid communities in Peru. She holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she received the Sustainability Certificate.

 

 

 

GRAHAM TURK, ENGINEER

Graham is a Princeton undergraduate studying computer science with a certificate in sustainable energy. Guided by a passion to ensure our planet's ability to support life, he is interested in the applications of computing to energy and sustainability. He previously interned for the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, where he developed software tools to streamline certification auditing and wrote reports on renewable energy financing for the organization PACENow. He has also interned with eBay's Homepage Team and Princeton's Office of Sustainability. In his spare time, Graham tutors students in introductory computer science courses and plays on the Princeton club ice hockey team.

 

A recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a native of the Chicagoland area, Emily studied Computer Science and Theology in her undergraduate studies and is interested in the use of technology to solve the world’s most pressing issues. She is passionate about sustainability, environmental advocacy, and the importance of being a global citizen. In addition, she loves traveling, reading, writing, coffee, engaging with new people, and practicing mindfulness. 

EMILY CLAPS, COMMUNITY OUTREACH ASSOCIATE

A recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a native of the Chicagoland area, Emily studied Computer Science and Theology in her undergraduate studies and is interested in the use of technology to solve the world’s most pressing issues. She is with Solstice Initiative through ServiceCorps, which matches graduates with non-profits for a year-long stint. Afterwards she will work for her corporate sponsor, GE Power, in a 2-year rotational program. She is passionate about sustainability, environmental advocacy, and the importance of being a global citizen. In addition, she loves traveling, reading, writing, coffee, engaging with new people, and practicing mindfulness. 

TYLER MCCULLOUGH, COMMUNITY OUTREACH FELLOW  

Tyler is an undergraduate at Tufts University double majoring in environmental science and international relations. Growing up on the Big Island of Hawaii instilled his appreciation of the environment and has inspired his current studies. His favorite courses have included those on the topics of environmental technology, policy, international affairs, geographic information systems and remote sensing. Previously Tyler has worked with environmental nonprofits and political startups both from home and in the Boston area. Tyler is a member if the Tufts Rowing team and in his free time enjoys mountain biking, surfing and generally spending time outdoors.

GREGOIRE MAZARS, MARKETING INTERN

Greg studies environmental policy and renewable energy at Boston University. He first met Steph and Steve during the MIT Energy Hackathon and loved the vision they had for community solar. He helps on graphics animation and conducts interviews in Boston in order to understand customers' preferences. He also recently started to work for the Institute of Sustainable Energy and writes articles for the Earth & Environment Review at BU.

JONAH BADER, COMMUNICATIONS and DEVELOPMENT FELLOW

Jonah recently graduated from Yale with a B.A. in history and a certificate in energy studies. In the past, he worked for the Yale Sustainability Office and the corporate sustainability organization Ceres. He has also been involved in running a volunteer group that prepares tax returns for low-income taxpayers. As a native of Lexington, MA, he loves all things related to the American Revolution and is excited to help Solstice usher in the solar revolution.

 

JACK MCGUIRE, COMMUNITY OUTREACH FELLOW

Jack is a rising senior at Bowdoin College majoring in economics with a minor in environmental studies. His interests include environmental economics/policy and renewable energy development. His coursework has focused on using GIS and remote sensing to map suitable locations for solar projects, as well as analyzing solar energy policy in Maine. Outside of the classroom he is a member of Bowdoin’s sailing team. He is a campus Eco Rep responsible for promoting sustainable practices in the college dorms and tutor in 5th grade mathematics at a local elementary school. He is also a representative of BSAAC, which works to maintain intersections between athletics, academics, and social life on campus. In his free time, he enjoys telemark skiing, paddle tennis, tennis, and squash.

 

ESSAH CHISHOLM, COMMUNITY OUTREACH FELLOW

Essah was raised in the city of Cambridge. A rising senior at Union College, he is majoring in political science and minoring in environmental studies. He recently worked for the Alliance for Clean Energy in Albany, an organization that supports the promotion of renewable energy within New York state. Last December, he visited New Zealand for a month and was able to experience their various renewable energy sources. His interests include traveling, attending music festivals, conversing about philosophy, and eating chicken wings.

 

IAN SEELEY, POLICY AND BUSINESS STRATEGY FELLOW

After graduating from Oberlin College in 2011 with a degree in politics, Ian worked on the operations/logistics side of a data storage reseller, later transitioning to a role in the company’s sales department. Ian is currently pursuing an MBA at the Boston University Questrom School of Business, concentrating his studies on business strategy and clean energy/environmental sustainability. Long term, Ian intends to pursue a career focused on clean tech.


ADVISORS

Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute

Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute

Nathan Ratledge, Former Executive Director, Community Office for Resource Efficiency 

Nathan Ratledge, Former Executive Director, Community Office for Resource Efficiency 

Adam Gibbons, Founder, Community Collaborative Consulting  

Adam Gibbons, Founder, Community Collaborative Consulting

 

Dawn Dzurilla, Founder, Gaia Human Capital Partners

Dawn Dzurilla, Founder, Gaia Human Capital Partners

Batool Hassan, Director, Acumen Fund

Batool Hassan, Director, Acumen Fund

George Foote, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP  

George Foote, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP

 

Will Byrne, Founder, Groundswell

Will Byrne, Founder, Groundswell

Adje Mensah, CEO, A.F. Mensah Inc.  

Adje Mensah, CEO, A.F. Mensah Inc.

 

Tom Hardart, Founder, XOL Ventures

Tom Hardart, Founder, XOL Ventures

Tom Leyden, Vice President, SunEdison

Tom Leyden, Vice President, SunEdison

Leyla McCurdy, Former Director, Public Education and Outreach, American Lung Association

Leyla McCurdy, Former Director, Public Education and Outreach, American Lung Association

Brian Trelstad, Partner, Bridges Ventures

Brian Trelstad, Partner, Bridges Ventures


FELLOWSHIPS

   

INCUBATORS/ACCELERATORS


FEATURED IN


Supporters


COMPETITIONS

  Awarded SBIR grant  

 

Awarded SBIR grant

 

Awarded funding from Princeton Alumni Entrepreneurship Fund

Awarded funding from Princeton Alumni Entrepreneurship Fund

Runner-Up, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Pitch Competition  

Runner-Up, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Pitch Competition

 

Winner of Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016/Obvious Ventures #worldpositive Pitch Competition

Winner of Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016/Obvious Ventures #worldpositive Pitch Competition

Winner of Audience Choice Award and Overall Runner-up Award, Princeton Entrepreneurs' Network Business Plan Competition

Winner of Audience Choice Award and Overall Runner-up Award, Princeton Entrepreneurs' Network Business Plan Competition

Semifinalist in Verizon Powerful Answers Award

Semifinalist in Verizon Powerful Answers Award

Winner of Kia Revisionaries Contest  

Winner of Kia Revisionaries Contest

 

Awarded SOCAP15 Social Entrepreneur Scholarship

Awarded SOCAP15 Social Entrepreneur Scholarship

Semifinalist, MIT 100K Competition  

Semifinalist, MIT 100K Competition

 

Winner of a Gold Stevie Award in the 2016 International Business Awards

Winner of a Gold Stevie Award in the 2016 International Business Awards

Booz Allen Aspen Ideas Award Finalist  

Booz Allen Aspen Ideas Award Finalist

 

Semifinalist in MIT Climate CoLab competition

Semifinalist in MIT Climate CoLab competition

Awarded funding from MIT Sandbox Fund    

Awarded funding from MIT Sandbox Fund

 

 

Selected to present as a "Success Story" at the White House Community Solar Summit

Selected to present as a "Success Story" at the White House Community Solar Summit

Awarded funding from MIT IDEAS Challenge  

Awarded funding from MIT IDEAS Challenge

 

Runner-Up, Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN) Pitch Competition

Runner-Up, Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN) Pitch Competition