WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced today it has elected the following officers to serve on SEIA’s Board of Directors Executive Committee: Chairman Roger Efird, managing director of Suntech America; Vice-Chairwoman Julie Blunden, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate Communications at SunPower Corp.; Treasurer Chris O’Brien, Head of Market Development and regional President at Oerlikon Solar; and Secretary John Stanton, Vice President of Government Affairs for SolarCity. The election was held in December at SEIA’s Board of Directors meeting in Washington D.C.
“Our new officers bring to SEIA over 70 years of experience in the solar and renewable energy industries,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Their knowledge and leadership over a wide range of issues facing the industry – including federal policy, international trade, and market development – will be an invaluable resource as SEIA continues its efforts to expand the U.S. market in the coming years.”
The new officers will serve during a pivotal time for the U.S. solar energy industry. The solar market has grown tremendously in the last few years with growth, but remains challenged by a lack of stable, long term policies at the federal level and reduced access to capital markets critical to project developers.
SEIA’s new officers’ bios are below:
• Chairman: Roger Efird is a renewable energy pioneer with over 20 years of experience in the solar industry. As a private consultant, Mr. Efird has worked with several of the world’s largest solar companies developing global marketing strategies and regional business plans. Mr. Efird is currently a Managing Director of Suntech America, Inc., a company he founded in 2006 and a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntech Power Co. LTD. This is Mr. Efird’s second term as the Board Chair for SEIA. Mr. Efird holds a BS degree in Marketing and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Solar Energy Industries Association and Solar Industry Trade Shows, Inc.
• Vice Chairwoman: Julie Blunden has served as Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate Communications at SunPower Corp. since 2005, leading public relations, financial relations, public policy, and market development. Prior to SunPower Corp., Blunden was a consultant at KEMA-XENERGY on energy markets, renewable resources and policy to industry, utilities and state and federal governments. In that role, Blunden supported the Schwarzenegger administration in developing the Million Solar Homes Initiative. In 1997, she co-founded Green Mountain Energy Company, a national retail electric supplier of renewable power. She received her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB from Dartmouth College majoring in engineering, modified with environmental studies.
• Treasurer: Chris O'Brien joined Oerlikon Solar as Head of Market Development in 2008 and was appointed President of Oerlikon Solar USA in April 2010. Chris has held senior management positions with leading solar PV companies including Sharp Solar and BP Solar since 1995. He has previous career experience in the energy efficiency industry, the independent power industry, and in grass roots energy efficiency development in Africa. Chris holds an engineering degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford University. He lives in Washington, DC.
• Secretary: John Stanton joined SolarCity in March, 2010. Formerly Executive Vice President and General Counsel at SEIA, John previously served as Vice President for Energy, Climate and Transportation Programs at the National Environmental Trust (renamed the Pew Environment Program in 2008). He also previously served as Legislative Counsel at the US Environmental Protection Agency, New Jersey Deputy Attorney General and Counsel and Director of the Energy and Environment Committee at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He earned his law degree at Georgetown University Law School.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.