Member Spotlight: Joelle Hammerstad

In July 2024, Solar Washington interviewed Joelle Hammerstad, a member of Solar Washington who helped plan the 2023 Solar Summit.

Solar Washington: How did you become interested in solar?  

Joelle HammerstadIn 2016 I was the Sustainable Operations Manager at Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) working to reduce electric utility consumption and carbon usage in Parks Department buildings. Seattle City Light approached us with a partnership opportunity to build an innovative new project. City Light had a Clean Energy Fund grant to build a solar microgrid, which pairs a large solar array with industrial-sized batteries. A microgrid “islands” itself from the electric grid in the event of a power outage and operates independently to power a building or facility. Together with the community, City Light and SPR chose Miller Community Center to site the microgrid. We opened the Miller Microgrid in April 2022. During this same period, I also worked with the City of Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment to receive a GreenUp Grant from Seattle City Light, which SPR used to put a large solar array on a community center in Magnuson Park. These two experiences really opened my eyes to the possibilities that exist to build out many more solar arrays in the region to help reduce carbon use and power a sustainable future.

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Member Spotlight: Daniel Marshall

In June 2024, Solar Washington interviewed Daniel Marshall, a member and a board member of Solar Washington.

Solar Washington: How did you become interested in solar? 
Daniel Marshall: I remember being intrigued by solar as a kid during the 80’s and 90’s. Growing up with actual calculators that had a little strip of solar cells. I know I wasn’t the only one in class who was amused by the magic of the making the numbers on screen fade in and out through variations of a blocking the cells with my hand or an eraser. It felt like a magical power as a kid, and solar continued to pique my curiosity since. Fast forward to 2016, when I started working for PSE. I had the opportunity to be part of the team handling the Net metering interconnection applications! I spent the next 7 years doing what I loved, working with a great community of the solar installers, touring manufacturing facilities, getting on a few roofs, and watching the industry advance from mainly solar into more complex system designs with solar + battery storage. I continue to be excited for the industry, as microgrids, EVs, and an entire ecosystem starts to take shape that incorporates “Solar + X”.

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Member Spotlight: Nora Hawkins

In May 2024, Solar Washington interviewed Nora Hawkins who is a member and a board member of Solar Washington.  

Solar Washington: How did you become interested in solar? 
Nora Hawkins: In the fall of 2017, I joined the Washington, DC Department of Energy & Environment to work on their Solar for All program which aims to reduce the electric bills of 100,000 income qualified district residents in half through the deployment of solar throughout the city. Prior to joining DC government, I worked on energy and environmental programs in the federal government. While that work was fascinating and had far reaching impacts, I found a new sense of fulfillment working on clean energy projects and energy burden reduction in my local community. It was rewarding to visit project sites but even more so to meet the residents who would benefiting from the solar that was being installed. I also had the privilege to work with brilliant and dedicated colleagues at DOEE and to learn from our grantees who were piloting innovative ways to get the benefits of solar to residents in various housing types throughout the city. Through my experience working for the city of DC, I recognized the ability of distributed solar to make the clean energy transition tangible at the local level.

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Member Spotlight: Lindsey Virdeh

In April 2024, Solar Washington interviewed Lindsey Virdeh, a long-time member who has attended several Solar Summit and is now volunteering on the 2024 Solar Summit Planning Committee.

Solar Washington: When and why did you become interested in solar? Any specific experience(s) with solar.

Lindsey Virdeh: My dad was a professor of architecture and taught passive solar design concepts, so I was introduced to solar and sustainability at a young age, which influenced my career path. I worked as a project designer in architecture and GreenPoint Rater in California, and projects I worked on incorporated solar into the design. Subsequently, my career path led to the education sector where I worked at Skyline College and now Shoreline Community College, both in programs with a solar design focus.

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Member Spotlight: Shane Frye

In March 2024, Solar Washington interviewed Shane Frye, a current Solar Washington member and board member. Shane tells us how his professional experience has shaped his understanding of solar.

Solar Washington: How or why did you become interested in solar? Tell us about any specific experience with solar.

Shane Frye: I have always had an interest in solar and fortunately was given the opportunity to learn more as when I began working in Customer Service at Snohomish County PUD. From there I became more involved through our Energy Services department and was given the opportunity to take over PUD's Solar program with my initial focus being to streamline our Interconnection Application and review process to make it easier for our customers to go solar. I have also done extensive work on building out our website to be more informative and educational so that customers can get the information they need before making their final decision.

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Member Spotlight: Ryan Bradt

In November 2023, Solar Washington interviewed Ryan Bradt, a longtime member, former board member and Solar Summit participant who shared his enthusiasm about solar.  

Solar Washington: Ryan, how did you become interested in solar? 

Ryan Bradt: Way back in 1998 I first became interested in solar energy as a commercial electrician apprentice at the Northwest Washington Electrical J.A.T.C. As a part of our apprenticeship, we had a short lesson on solar electricity and the then just blossoming industry. The class included the instructor cooking a hotdog with the leads of a PV module to demonstrate the potential power of the sun and associated hazard. In 2008 I found myself in that same classroom as an instructor and saw a need to expand our solar PV curriculum. I reached out to Solar Energy International, got included in a DOL training grant for instructors and as they say the rest is history.

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Member Spotlight: Maina Mumbi

In late June 2023, Solar Washington talked to Maina Mumbi who shared his amazing pursuit of solar knowledge.  Maina has been a member of Solar Washington for over two years and is serving on the Solar Washington Education Committee.

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Member Spotlight: Jay Larson

In late May 2023, Solar Washington talked to Jay Larson, a long time member based in Spokane who currently serves on the Board of Solar Washington. Jay talks about how his interest in solar developed at a very young age and led to a career in solar.

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Member Spotlight: Richard Hartung

In April 2023, Solar Washington talked to Richard Hartung, a long time member who currently serves on the Board of Solar Washington.  Richard talks about how his participation in a community solar project led to his full immersion into solar.

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Member Spotlight: Jack Newman

In early March 2023, Solar Washington interviewed Jack Newman, a long time member and board member who is Solar Washington's Immediate Past President, about his connection to solar. Jack has been thoroughly immersed in solar for years and he offers valuable insight and recommendations.

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