8 Women Advancing Renewable Energy

Woman with wind turbines
  • Mar 9, 2023

As we celebrate Women’s History Month throughout March and International Women's Day on March 8, we want to celebrate the many women who have helped advance the renewable energy industry, creating a cleaner future for all. On the front lines and behind the scenes, women are making a difference in renewable energy as engineers, educators, advocates, technicians, entrepreneurs, researchers, and business leaders. Here are just a few of the countless women who have helped to advance the renewable energy industry: 

1. Inês M.L. Azevedo, Associate Professor of Energy Science Engineering, Stanford University

Azevedo is a professor and researcher who focuses on the transition to a low-carbon, affordable, and equitable energy system. A widely published and well-regarded researcher, Azevedo has contributed to several National Research Council reports from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on sustainable energy. She has received the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Research Award and the World Economic Forum’s “Young Scientists Under 40” award. Follow her on Twitter @inesliaz.

2. Kristal Hansley, CEO of WeSolar

When she officially founded WeSolar on Juneteenth in 2020, Hansley made history as the first Black woman to launch a solar company. WeSolar provides affordable power to low- and moderate-income families and makes clean energy accessible to all communities through community solar. The Howard University grad formerly served as the Program Manager for the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative before launching WeSolar. Follow her on Twitter @KHansley_ or @WeSolar_Energy, or read more about her in Vogue, Bloomberg, or Blavity.

3. Lisa Jackson, former EPA Administrator

As the first Black woman to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, serving under President Obama from 2009 to 2013, Jackson worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limit carbon pollution at power plants, and take action to fight climate change. Jackson now serves as the Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple, where she works to decrease Apple's environmental footprint by advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency and adopting other innovative sustainability solutions. Follow her on Twitter @lisapjackson

4. Elizabeth Kaiga, Chief Commercial Officer at DNV

Kaiga is a leader in the renewable energy industry who has spent her career providing strategies and solutions to support the global transition to renewable energy. She is a recipient of the C3E award, which recognizes mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy. Kaiga currently serves on the Board of Directors for Women of Renewable Industries & Sustainable Energy (WRISE) and Solar Sister, and she has previously served on the advisory councils of Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), Renewable Energy Alliance Houston (REAL), and the Education Committee for the Solar Power International Conference. 

5. Jessica O. Matthews, Founder and CEO of Uncharted

In 2011 Matthews founded Uncharted, a tech company that uses sustainable infrastructure data to improve access to resilient, cost-effective energy. She has since grown it into a wildly successful business, with more than 15 global patents and millions of dollars in capital raised so far. Matthews' company began by introducing the Soccket—an energy-harnessing soccer ball—and now strives to achieve universal access to clean, affordable power. A Harvard Business School graduate and dual citizen of Nigeria and the United States, Matthews has been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and Inc. and even introduced the Soccket to President Obama. Follow her on Twitter @jessomatt.

6. Hazel O’Leary, former U.S. Secretary of Energy

O’Leary was the first Black Secretary of Energy, serving under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997. She advocated for renewable energy and energy efficiency, increased funding for the research and development of renewable energy technologies, worked to improve the energy efficiency of American appliances, and highlighted the connections between energy, environmental quality, and human health. O’Leary later led the Ambassadors for the Minorities in Energy Initiative, part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Read more about O’Leary here.

7. Beth Soholt, Executive Director of Clean Grid Alliance

Soholt has been a champion for renewable energy for more than 20 years. Her organization, Clean Grid Alliance, works in 12 states including Illinois and Minnesota to support renewable energy policy and advance clean energy in the Midwest. She partners with legislators, utility companies, and local stakeholders to smooth the process of permitting and implementing clean energy solutions including wind and solar. 

8. Laura Stachel, Co-founder and Executive Director of We Care Solar

As an OB/GYN, Stachel worked in Nigeria to help lower maternal death rates. She found that sporadic electricity in field hospitals impaired maternal care, and she often had to perform C-sections in the dark. As an innovative solution to the frequent power outages, Stachel designed and developed the “Solar Suitcase,” which harnesses the power of the sun to charge LED light bulbs, head lamps, and batteries for medical equipment. Her company, We Care Solar, has equipped more than 8,200 health centers with Solar Suitcases, which have served more than 12.8 million mothers and newborns! Stachel was named one of CNN’s Top 10 Heroes of 2013. Read more about her work in CNN.

These are just a few of the many women who have been pivotal to the development of renewable energy. These remarkable women serve as role models to their communities and the nation and have helped pave the way for a cleaner future for us all. 

Here at CleanChoice Energy, our mission is to make clean energy accessible to all. As a renewable energy supplier, we help customers make a positive impact on the planet with 100% clean, renewable energy from wind and solar power. Learn more about how you can choose clean energy for your home today.

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