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.
Farrah Andersen, Research FelloW
Farrah works with Solstice on low- to moderate-income inclusion in community solar as part of her Master in Public Policy capstone project at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to pursuing graduate education, she worked at a BNP Paribas subsidiary, Bank of the West, where she focused on strategy development and project management for the Community Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility department. She has also consulted with Booz Allen Hamilton on reducing food waste, and worked with several nonprofits tackling issues such as immigrant rights and poverty alleviation. Farrah holds a BA from the University of California at Berkeley where majored in Political Economy and minored in Global Poverty. In her spare time, she enjoys salsa dancing, cooking, and spending time in nature.
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.
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
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.
DEEKSHA JUNEJA, SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Deeksha is a Computer Engineer from Iowa State University. She has previously worked as a Web Development Intern at Ravgins and as a tutor for Academic Success Center and Eta Kappa Nu. She believes that Solar Energy is the way to solve the energy crisis in the world. She wants to use her skills as an engineer and a programmer to help solve social and environmental issues. In her spare time, she likes talking to her family, reading and shopping.
GEORDI TAYLOR, MARKET RESEARCH FELLOW
Geordi is a recent graduate of Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, United Kingdom. He studied energy economics and engineering, earning an MSc in Global Energy Management. The focus of Geordi’s graduate thesis was designing an innovative community solar strategy to increase the number of net-metered customers in an Alabama utility’s service area. His most recent position was on the U.S. solar team conducting market and policy analysis for publication. He also covered the U.S. biodiesel and crude oil markets in a business development role prior to commencing his graduate studies. In his spare time, he enjoys Muay Thai, traveling, cooking, and aspires to become a scuba diver.
KELLY ROACHE, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Manager
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.