Have you ever dreamt about driving a solar powered car? Or have your house be completely self-sufficient from the energy you generate? Solar technology has developed dramatically in the recent decade to make clean electricity accessible to the population and allow futuristic technologies seem closer than you think. When looking into leaders in the solar industry, a lot of them were, in fact, WOMEN! This is outstanding because men typically outnumber women in the STEM field. These seven ground-breaking women are paving the way to continue development in the future:
1. Erica Mackie
Erica Mackie is the CEO and co-founder of GRID Alternatives, a solar company impacting low-income communities in the United States and Nicaragua. She has won major awards, including Clean Energy and Empowerment Award, US Green Building Council’s Green Building Super Hero Award, and many more. This down-to-earth entrepreneur says “it’s important for [her] to get out of the office, the boardroom, the fundraising world and make sure [she] can touch and feel what [they’re] doing because [she] think[s] there’s something really magical about people coming together.”
2. Lynn Jurish
As the CEO and co-founder of Sunrun, she has created the largest dedicated residential solar company in the United States. Sunrun will design, install, finance, monitor, and maintain the solar system on a homeowner’s rooftop, so he or she doesn’t have to lift a finger. They give the option of Sunrun owning the system, while the consumer just pays the lower monthly electricity bill for the solar power. Also, the consumer can opt to own the system and reap the profit after the pay-off period. This is a great way to target those households that are not ready to invest in their own solar panels, but want to have clean energy.
3. Eden Full
Eden Full has created a device called SunSaluter, which uses the power of gravity to attain maximum solar energy. A
waterclock hanging from the frame of the solar panel empties throughout the day and the container gets lighter, therefore rotating the panel so that it gets maximum sunlight during the day. In fact, this system boosts energy output by 30% by keeping the solar panel oriented towards the sun. Also, it contains a water purification device, so each day it can produce four liters of clean drinking water to whoever uses it. This is especially useful in those areas that do not have easy access to clean drinking water.
4. Laura E. Stachel
We Care Solar targets maternal health centers by supplying electricity and powering emergency obstetric care in developing countries. Laura Stachel is the executive director and co-founder of We Care Solar and has a background in gynecology and obstetrics. She has also won numerous awards for her work in the field of solar technology. Their goal is to “ensure that mothers and newborns are born in skilled healthcare facilities that have adequate lighting and power to save lives.” With this, they provide a Solar Suitcase that contains the necessary lighting, communication, and medical devices in those areas that need it most.
5. Kristen Nicole
Women have overall lower numbers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field than men. Kristen Nicole is acting to increase those numbers and make women feel more comfortable in the workplace. With her organization, Women in Solar, she has created a networking center to provide services to women such as education, capacity building, advocacy, strategic partnerships, and networking events.
6. Abigail Ross Hopper
Hopper is the President and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). SEIA is the national trade association of the United States solar energy industry and represents all organizations that “promote, manufacture, install and support the development of solar energy.” Abigail Ross Hopper has held this position since January 1, 2017, which made her the first woman to lead the company at SEIA.
7. Theresa Jester
Last but not least, Theresa Jester serves as the CEO and chairman of Silicor Materials, a solar panel manufacturing and design company. She began her career as one of the few female engineers in the solar sector and has worked in the solar industry for over 35 years. In addition, she serves as an advocate for encouraging women to work in STEM fields.
All of these female entrepreneurs are pioneering new ways to use solar technology in order to help both people and the planet. They’re successful because of the innovative strategies they use to create and implement their solar technology around the world. In addition, their open-mindedness allows them to incorporate solar technology with everyday products, especially in third world countries and in the residential sector. With these emerging technologies and cutting-edge thinkers, who knows what will come next? Those futuristic dreams may become real sooner than you think!