Our supporters and volunteers are the heart of our organisation, and we rely on volunteers for so much of what we do. We also have a small staff who ensure the campaign and organisational objectives as well as essential core functions are met. Let us introduce you to some of the key faces in the organisation:
Claire O'Rourke, National Director
Claire's interest in solar began in 2008 when she installed a solar hot water system as part of a renovation designed to reduce her home's energy footprint. Claire brings 15 years experience in journalism, communications and campaigning to Solar Citizens. Claire has a broad history of organising and campaigning in the labor movement and organisations of social value, including overseeing communications for the successful Every Australian Counts campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Maria Cirillo, Deputy National Director
Maria enjoys organising, campaigning and advocacy, and has developed skills in these fields during her 17 year career working in public sector unions at both state and federal levels. Maria sees local, community centred organising as the foundation for winning. Maria has led a variety of campaigns having first earned her stripes on campaigns for breastfeeding rights at work and recognition of domestic and family violence as a workplace issue. Living on the sunniest continent on earth, Maria believes solar is the common sense pathway for Australia’s energy future.
Aimee Bull-McMahon, Communications and Digital Campaigns Manager
Aimee cut her teeth campaigning for her university to go solar and has since worked in the labor and environment movements on campaigns that raise the voice of day-to-day people in politics. With a background in digital and communications, Aimee joined Solar Citizens to channel the almighty power of the internet so the millions of Australians across the country who have solar, or want solar, can join together to grow the rooftop revolution.
Alex Soderlund, Communications and Campaigns Coordinator
Alex is passionate about community organising, and has been involved in the renewable energy movement for many years. She comes from a science communications background and recently finished her thesis on the climate change debate in Australia. Alex is one of 5 million Australians proudly living under a solar roof. Alex joined the team in 2014 because she is passionate about our country becoming a leader in solar power and the opportunities this would bring for all Australians.
Nell Schofield, Project Manager
From 2014 - 2016 she helped spearhead the Land Water Future campaign in NSW as Sydney Coordinator with Lock the Gate and Sydney Campaigner with The Sunrise Project. In 2007, Nell trained with Al Gore as one of his Climate Leaders and has worked in the Office of the Lord Mayor of Sydney on local government issues such as Planning and Amalgamations. Previously Nell worked as a presenter with ABC TV, Showtime, CNN and Channel 9, and as a broadcaster with Radio National. She has served as a director of the Sydney Festival, the Centre for Australian Design, the Rock Surfers Theatre Company, and as President of the Running Stream Water Users Association.
Jason Lyddieth, Community Organiser
Jason has been involved in community groups for over fifteen years working on various local environment issues. For the last four years he worked for Greenpeace Australia Pacific managing Greenpeace’s volunteer groups. Jason is very excited to be joining Solar Citizens because solar is good for the community, the environment, the economy and the future.
Emilie Carey, Community Organiser
Emilie comes from a community organising background in electoral campaigning, the union movement, and grassroots environmental campaigning. Most recently Emilie worked with 350.org, and organised climate activists to encourage our government to take on a stronger emissions target following the Paris climate talks. Always a fan of solar, Emilie joined the Solar Citizens’ team to work with communities across the country transitioning Australia to a bright, renewable powered future.
Steve Fuller, South Australia State Coordinator
Steve’s interest in solar began when getting solar for his new ‘old’ home. Navigating the myriad issues was challenging and intriguing and he found that not only was he going to be saving money but becoming a part of the democratisation of the once monolithic energy system. With a background in the welfare sector, the labour movement and refugee assistance Steve wants to help ordinary citizens to come together to understand and promote this important part of the transition to a clean sustainable society. SA has been a pacesetter – now we need to up the pace!
David, Melbourne Team Coordinator
David has been active in power generation and distribution as a professional engineer and project manager for 15 years. His involvement in Solar Citizens is part of a broader interest in addressing climate change. He became politically engaged in the area of renewables in the last two years and thinks Solar Citizens is a great way to make an impact in this area.
Lindsay Soutar, Convenor
Lindsay Soutar, the founder of Solar Citizens, has spent more than 8 years as a campaigner and community organiser working for a renewable powered future. In this time she experienced first-hand the continual solar-coaster of changes to solar programs to Australia and the efforts of the big power companies trying to stop the roll out of solar across Australian rooftops. She lives in Sydney with 2kW of solar on her roof and a gum tree in the backyard. Lindsay is former Young Environmentalist of the Year.
Sue McKinnon, Treasurer
First connecting with the organisation after attending the Big Solar Bootcamp in February 2012, Sue McKinnon joined the board in early 2013. Sue brings her background in organisational finance and accounting - as well a common sense practicality and passion for empowering community action - to her role on the board. Sue lives in the Sutherland Shire in NSW with her family, is active with the Sutherland Climate Action Network and is a proud solar panel owner.
Taegen Edwards, Secretary
Taegen believes very strongly in the power of community members to speed up the transition to renewable energy and has nearly a decade of experience working on initiatives to do this. She worked for Solar Citizens from 2013 to 2015 as a community organiser and campaigner, helping to support the growing national network of solar supporters and active volunteers. Taegen has previously worked in public policy and research roles including at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. She got hooked on community organising through her experience helping set up a grassroots climate action group in 2009 and began her ongoing obsession with solar power after getting involved in the Yarra Community Solar project in 2012.
Erland is chair of his local community energy group, the Blue Mountains Renewable Energy Co-op as well as Climate Action Blue Mountains. He works as a campaigner, facilitator and photographer and is currently studying design at the University of Technology, Sydney. Erland was a climate and energy campaigner for a number of years with Greenpeace and the Nature Conservation Council.
Sarah joined the EDO NSW in October 2013 as a Solicitor in the Sydney Office. She provides clients with advice and representation on a wide range of environmental legal issues including administrative law, planning, pollution, biodiversity, mining and coal seam gas. Her special area of interest is marine conservation. Before taking up the role at EDO NSW, Sarah worked in corporate practice as a Solicitor in the Environment & Planning team at Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts/Law (BA/LLB) from Macquarie University. In her spare time she enjoys swimming, surfing and all things outdoors.
Mark started out as an mechanical engineer, but soon moved onto business. His career has taken him through management consultancy with McKinsey, search giant Google and his own start up. Through this time he has never lost his engineering passion and is excited by the potential solar has to transform our energy generation onto a more sustainable footing.
Anna is an Australian author and environmentalist, National Manager of Earth Hour, and the 2015 Australian Geographic Society Conservationist of the Year. She is also a former Young Environmentalist of the Year, recently won the inaugural Trailblazer award from the Foundation for Young Australians and is a former Churchill Fellow. In 2006 Anna co-founded the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). At 120,000 members, AYCC is now one of Australia’s largest youth organisations. Anna achieved first class honours in Law and a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) from the University of Sydney.
David is interested in the power of groups to achieve desirable environmental solutions. He views solar power as a key element of a sustainable modern society. David is currently a lawyer in the class actions department of Maurice Blackburn in Sydney. He has previously worked for non-government organisations seeking better outcomes for communities adversely impacted by international development.