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SEI Alumni Highlight: Rebecca Offensend - Strategy Director, SunSaluter

Posted by: chris
February 26, 2014

by Rebecca Offensend - Strategy Director, SunSaluter - SEI Alumna

At this time last year, I knew nothing about solar energy. But 9 months ago, I was brought on as the Strategy Director for SunSaluter, a social enterprise tackling solar energy efficiency and clean water. The SunSaluter product is a solar tracker designed for the developing world that uses the power of gravity and water to rotate solar panels and increase efficiency, helping users get more energy from their panels.

When I started my job, I was nervous that my lack of knowledge about solar energy would hinder my ability to fulfill the organizational mission of spreading clean water and energy as far and as wide as possible. I didn't want to let the organization down, so I knew I needed to learn more about solar.

Soon after I started, I met Kathy from Solar Energy International, and she extended an invitation to Solar PV 101 to get me up to speed on the basics of solar energy. It was an incredible experience. Because the lectures are online, I could watch anytime I wanted, which was hugely helpful when trying to balance early morning calls with partners in India and attending conferences and networking events here in San Francisco at night. The forums were helpful for answering questions, and the instructors really cared about my learning.

Armed with my SEI textbook, I set up my first mini array on my roof. The knowledge I gained from the SEI class helped me troubleshoot a difficult charge controller and identify an issue with the data logger. After the class, I definitely felt like I had the tools to understand the technical side of solar and SunSaluter's work.

Now, we are launching SunSaluter in India and I am working with a number of local solar companies to find the right products and setups to pair with the SunSaluter. Having the technical background has been a huge asset in communicating with engineers, identifying potential markets, discussing the best practices for SunSaluter, and optimizing our manufacturing process.

SEI helped integrate me into the solar energy community and without that knowledge, I couldn't serve SunSaluter the same way.   

Rebecca Offensend - Strategy Director, SunSaluter - SEI Alumni

Read more about SunSaluter >>

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