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.
Shani Tager, Senior Campaigner
For the last ten years, Shani has led campaigns to move Australia away from old and polluting sources of energy. Hailing from the sunshine state, she has spent vast amounts of time on the road, working with communities to protect farmland and most recently the Great Barrier Reef from inappropriate coal developments. Having experienced the benefits of rooftop solar firsthand, she's excited to be working with Solar Citizens to bring about 100% clean energy for all Australians.
Dan Spencer, SA Campaigner
Dan has been campaigning to support clean power in South Australia since 2010. For the last five years Dan has worked as a community organiser with the Port Augusta community campaigning to build Australia's first large solar thermal plant with storage to replace the town's closed coal stations and as a campaigner with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Dan is excited to join the Solar Citizens' team at a time when South Australia's renewable leadership is in the spotlight and work with solar owners and supporters to make sure that leadership continues.
Louise Matthiesson, QLD Campaigner
Louise brings a world of campaign experience to us and knows George St better than most, having spent the 5+ years working for WWF and Greenpeace on the Fight for the Reef and Galilee basin campaigns, and before that on stopping land clearing with The Wilderness Society. She's no stranger to the energy space, having worked with the Moreland Energy Foundation doing communications and community engagement, and more recently helped kick off the Sunpowered Queensland collaboration. She has a background in journalism and is committed to people powered wins.
Oliver Woodley, Digital Fundraiser
Oliver is a highly engaged campaigner and organiser, with a passion for digital media and data analytics. He brings more than seven years of campaigning experience to the team, having worked with a broad range of NGOs and trade unions, so he understands that a strong collective voice is the most powerful tool to create change. Oliver believes solar is the future for Australia, and uses his skills and experience to campaign for a healthier, cleaner, sun-powered nation.
Kristy Walters, NSW Community Organiser
Kristy found her passion of helping to create social change through the student environment movement more than 10 years ago. Since then she has worked on protecting farmland from coal expansion, creating a fairer food system and in environmental education. Kristy is thrilled to bring her community building skills to seek a renewable powered future with Solar Citizens.
Stephanie Gray, Media and Operations Officer
Stephanie comes from a background in science communication, which explains her passion and enthusiasm for all things solar powered. She learnt the ropes of community organising from volunteering with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, where she spent countless hours building momentum and having conversations with the community, particularly about inappropriate coal projects in Queensland. Coming from the Sunshine State herself, Stephanie is dedicated to making the most of Australia’s wonderful weather.
Hayden Williams, Tour Organiser
Hayden's first exposure to renewable energy campaigning was as part of a group of young people trying to start a renewable energy cooperative on the NSW Central Coast in 2011. He has worked around NSW training environmental and social justice campaigners, and in 2012, Hayden attended the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to build capacity amongst the youth climate movement. Hayden's commitment to a clean energy future comes from his strong sense of social and economic justice.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Roberts has nearly 20 years experience fundraising for outstanding causes including MSF and Greenpeace. Sarah's fundraising efforts have enabled positive social change across a range of environmental and social issues all over the world including Brazil, China, India, SE Asia, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong to name a few. As a passionate advocate for environmental issues and solutions Sarah passionately believes in Solar Citizens efforts to engage with millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia.