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.
STEVE MOILANEN, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
Responsible for internal operations and management, community outreach, regulatory affairs, legal, and talent. 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.
DANNY TOBIN, Communications and Development Associate
Danny is a recent graduate of Occidental College, where he took a broad curriculum of economics, biology, environmental policy, and international relations classes in completion of a B.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs (with a focus on environmental policy). Prior to joining Solstice, Danny explored sustainability issues as a Research Associate at the Council for Watershed Health, a non-profit dedicated to improving water policy and water systems in Los Angeles. Outside of work, Danny enjoys running in beautiful places, traveling, speaking foreign languages, and trying new foods.
SEAN HUTTON, Field operations manager
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 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.
Gregoire Mazars, Market research fellow
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. Along with Taylor, he conducts interviews in Boston in order to understand customers' preferences and together they try to adjust Solstice's marketing strategy based on their findings. Greg's interest for the community solar industry grows stronger every day as he learns more about the market and the legislation that revolves around it. He also recently started to work for the Institute of Sustainable Energy and writes articles for the Earth & Environment Review at BU.
STEPH SPEIRS, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
Responsible for external engagement and partnerships, marketing and communications, raising capital, and expansion. Steph is a social entrepreneur and community builder with 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.
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.
KELLY ROACHE, Senior Program Manager, Low-to-Moderate Income Financial Inclusion
Kelly has years of experience working as a diplomat and activist fighting for human rights and social justice. At the US State Department, she helped achieve a humanitarian evacuation in Syria, advanced the U.S.-India bilateral relationship, and led an Ambassador-level review and overhaul of the goals and objectives of the U.S. Embassy to the UAE. While in graduate school, Kelly pivoted to intersectional social justice activism. As an organizer, Kelly led a campaign to divest Princeton University's endowment from corporations complicit in human rights violations in the Middle East, which won majority support among the student body. She has likewise campaigned for marriage equality and LBGTQIA+ rights in New Jersey. Kelly earned her BA cum laude and an MPA, both from Princeton. She loves traveling, studying foreign languages, reading contemporary fiction and feminist theory, and spending quality time with her little cousins and malshi puppy.
SANDHYA MURALI, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Responsible for finances, product development, solar developer relationships, and financial inclusion. 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.
Anthony chen, Lead engineer
Anthony Chen is a solar enthusiast and full stack technical leader with over a decade of experience in designing distributed software systems and service oriented architectures. Starting with a DIY 45W solar-powered chicken tractor, he has moved on to a 10KW 40 panel rooftop install and is looking forward to helping ease the path to solar for more people. Anthony has held various roles in engineering including individual contributor, team lead, software architect and CTO. He has worked in several industries including virtualization, disaster recovery, non-profit education, and consulted for medical and internet press companies. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and remains connected by volunteering to coach and mentor MIT undergraduates on leadership and career path.
MADELINE IFFERT, COMMUNITY OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
Madeline recently graduated from Penn State University with degrees in Industrial Engineering and Spanish. She is working with Solstice through the fellowship program 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.