Board of Directors
Substantial professional experience and leadership is held by The Solar Foundation’s Board of Directors in the area of renewables policy, law, international energy consulting, government, and international campaign building. The Solar Foundation’s esteemed and entrepreneurial Board of Directors include: Thomas P. Kimbis – SEIA, Peter Fox-Penner – Brattle Group, Scott Sklar – Stella Group, Brian Keane – SmartPower, and Danny Kennedy – Sungevity.
Thomas P. Kimbis
Vice President, Strategy & External Affairs, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
Tom leads the development of long-term policies and strategies to promote the growth of solar energy across the United States. He also provides legal services to SEIA as General Counsel.
Tom has been working in renewable energy since 2000. From 2005-2009, he served as Director of Market Transformation for the Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). While there, he led efforts to maximize opportunities for solar energy commercialization. He also served as Acting Program Manager of SETP, managing a $170 million portfolio.
While at DOE, Tom was a founder of the Solar America Initiative, a billion-dollar effort to accelerate solar commercialization. He also helped to create the Solar America Cities program, a DOE partnership with 25 cities and more than 180 organizations designed to develop innovative methods for the adoption of solar energy technologies. Prior to his work in solar, Tom headed a DOE legislative team, founded and led a real estate investment firm, and practiced litigation for a multinational law firm.
He is a graduate of Williams College (B.A) and the University of Virginia (J.D.)
Principal and Chairman Emeritus, Brattle Group
Dr. Peter Fox-Penner is Principal and Chairman Emeritus at the Brattle Group, an international economic consulting firm. His practice centers on energy and environmental policies and electric regulatory planning and competition issues. He is a former senior official at the US Department of Energy and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and is also on the advisory board of Enviance and Gridpoint.
He is a frequent speaker on energy topics and the author of numerous published articles and books, including the highly acclaimed Electric Utility Restructuring: A Guide to the Competitive Era and his new book from Island Press, Smart Power: Climate Change, the Smart Grid, and the Future of Electric Utilities.
Dr. Fox-Penner earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his M.S. and B.S. in Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
President, The Stella Group, LTD
Scott Sklar runs his technology optimization and strategic policy firm, The Stella Group, Ltd, which he founded in 1995 and came on full time to lead in 1999. The firm facilitates clean distributed energy including advanced batteries and controls, energy efficiency, geoexchange, heat engines, minigeneration, microhydropower and water energy, modular biomass, photovoltaics, small wind and solar thermal-- specializing on blending technologies and financing for projects, assisting companies to scale-up market penetration, and facilitating federal and state polices to expand markets. Primary customers are industrial and commercial, mixed use developers, and governments.
Previously, Sklar served as Executive Director for 15 years of two national trade associations concurrently, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the National BioEnergy Industries Association. He also cofounded and ran for three years the US export consortium of all the renewable energy trade associations, the US Export Council for Renewable Energy, and cofounded its sister energy efficiency entity where he served on its Board of the US Export Council for Energy Efficiency.
Prior of running trade associations, Sklar was Political Director of The Solar Lobby for two years-- a renewable energy advocacy group founded by the big nine US environmental organizations. And for three years previous to joining the advocacy organization, served as Washington Director for two years and Acting RD&D Director for one year of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a federally-funded applied technology institution promoting renewables and energy efficiency for local communities both in the US and globally.
Sklar started his energy career serving as a military and energy aide to Senator Jacob K Javits (NY) on his Washington personal and Committee staff for nine years, and cofounded the Congressional Solar caucus in the mid-1970’s where most of the renewable energy legislation first was passed by the US Congress as a result of the first and second oil embargos.
He serves on the Boards of Directors of three national non-profits: The Solar Foundation, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (climate change), Renewable Energy Policy Project (energy analysis), and CoChairs the Policy Committee of the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (building trades). He also serves as Steering Committee Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, composed of the 20+ national energy efficiency and renewable energy industry organization, advocacy groups, think tanks, and environmental groups.
Sklar has coauthored two books, “The Forbidden Fuel: A History of Power Alcohol, published in 1985 which is updated and released in late 2010 by University of Nebraska Press, and a “Consumer Guide to Solar Energy” first published in 1998 and is in its third publishing.
He lives in a solar home in Arlington, Virginia incorporating passive solar features, solar water heating, photovoltaics, and high-value energy efficient lighting and appliances, and a ground-coupled (geothermal) heat pump. His VA office has PV roofing shingles, solar daylighting tube, hydrogen fuel cell, small wind turbine and a ductless heat pump. His DC office has a unique PV system featuring modules from 12 global PV manufacturers.
Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University teaching a unique multidisciplinary sustainable energy course. On November 4, 2010 Secretary Locke approved Sklar's appointment to the Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC).
Twice named “Connecticut’s Environmental Hero,” Brian F. Keane is president of SmartPower. A former advisor to the late Senator Paul Tsongas (D-MA) and congressional aide to Representative Les Aspin (D-WI), Keane has an extensive background in management, political organizing and communications. Keane was one of the architects of The Concord Coalition, a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating the federal budget deficit. He was also the founding executive director of Economic Security 2000 (ES 2000), the nation's first nonpartisan, grass-roots organization dedicated to saving and reforming Social Security. Keane’s testimony before the U.S. Congress helped make ES 2000 a recognized national leader in the debate on Social Security reform. Former presidents Clinton and Bush both recognized ES 2000 as a valuable resource in the discussion on Social Security.
At SmartPower, Keane combines his passion for the environment with a marketer’s commitment to creating compelling messages that resonate with the general population – not just the converted. As such, Keane is a much sought-after interview and presenter on clean energy and energy efficiency. He has spoken extensively across the nation, internationally and with local and national media.
With operations coast to coast, SmartPower has become the clean energy industry’s leading marketing organization. For their efforts, Keane and SmartPower have been recognized with numerous awards, including the coveted Green Power Pilot Award presented by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy; four Gold Awards from the Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA); and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Circle Award. In 2005 Keane was recognized as one of Connecticut’s “Outstanding Forty Under 40.” And in the summer of 2009, Keane was offered a senior-level presidential appointment to the US Department of Energy – an opportunity he turned down in order to stay at SmartPower.
Keane is a 1989 graduate of The American University in Washington, DC, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. The tenth in a family of eleven children, Keane served as the chairman of his eldest brother’s successful campaign for the Boston City Council and his brother’s subsequent race for the U.S. Congress in Massachusetts’ eighth congressional district in 1998. Keane was briefly a candidate for the Massachusetts State Senate in 2002.
Keane serves as the president of the American University Alumni Association and sits on the board of directors of the Vermont-based Clean Energy Group. He is also a member of The Solar Foundation’s board of directors.
Keane and his wife, Kate Sawyer Keane, live in Arlington, VA, with their three children.
Danny Kennedy is a passionate activist, successful greentech entrepreneur and recognized opinion leader on global environmental issues. He was recently named 2011 “Innovator of the Year” by PBS’ program, Planet Forward, for providing an innovative, high-impact and commercially viable solution that responds to the world’s environmental challenges.
Kennedy founded the leading residential solar power company, Sungevity, in 2007, as an integral part of the campaign to promote the use of clean energy and eliminate the world’s dependence on fossil fuel. He serves on the company’s board of directors and oversees government relations and community engagement programs.
Kennedy has worked on climate and energy issues for over two decades. Prior to starting Sungevity, he served as a campaign manager for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. In the US, Kennedy ran Greenpeace’s California Clean Energy Campaign in 2001-02, which led to substantial market support. Before that Kennedy directed Project Underground, an organization committed to the human rights of people struggling with mining and oil operations.
Tireless in his efforts to evangelize the mass adoption of solar power, Kennedy serves on the board of the Solar Foundation, a global research and education organization in Washington DC, and SolarMosaic, a solar-focused, crowd-funding startup in Berkeley, CA.
Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Macquarie University in Sydney and resides in Oakland, CA with his wife Miya Yoshitani and two daughters and seven chickens.