Meet the Team - Solar Citizens

Meet the Team

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:




Heidi Lee Douglas, National Director
Heidi works from the lands of the Gweagal, Bidjigal and Gadigal Clans of the Eora nation 

Heidi resides with her family on the land of the Gadigal and Bidjigal clans of the Eora Nation, at the edge of Kamay (Botany Bay) on reclaimed swamp land that was once the trading route for clans north and south of Goolay'yari (the Cooks River).

Heidi has more than twenty years experience working in the intersection between politics, personal narrative, and social change. She specialises in empowering the voices of others to turn the dial, and using story medicine to help fix social issues. Heidi has a deep passion for community organising and advocacy, and strives to enable to fulfill their dreams.

Heidi knows that to create outstanding results a leader must nurture a strong and positive team. Her management style is informed by radical candour, creating “a yes and” environment, and empowering others to lead whilst also providing clear directives.

Living in one of the most diverse areas of Sydney, Heidi is constantly reminded of the challenges and opportunities of finding common ground to building bridges and create a better tomorrow. She is deeply values aligned with Solar Citizens focuse on helping to fix climate issues through unifying the community to embrace and demand the cost of living benefits that clean energy can provide, .






Stephanie Gray, Deputy National Director
Stephanie works from the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal people

Stephanie lives and works on ​​Jagera and Turrbal country in Brisbane. She’s worked for Solar Citizens for more than five and a half years now, and has a dynamic set of skills having worked in the roles of Digital Campaigner, Queensland Campaigner and now Deputy Director.

Stephanie has led our highly successful Queensland campaign for three years. Coming from a big Queensland family with diverse political views herself, she has a knack for understanding how to shift the hearts and minds of people across the political spectrum to support action on climate change. Her proudest achievement to date is playing a significant role in winning $70 million in federal government funding to turn Townsville into a renewable hydrogen hub. She is ever-enthusiastic about the unique role that Solar Citizens can play in unifying the community to call for clean energy solutions – at the very least so she doesn’t have to deal with climate naysayers at family BBQs.



Hannah Mitchell, Digital Campaigner
Hannah works from the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal people

Hannah lives and works on Jagera and Turrbal country in Meanjin/Brisbane. Hannah joined the team as a Solar Campaigner three years ago and is now driving the team’s digital presence and communications as Digital Campaigner. She is passionate about empowering people to be advocates for positive change and understanding how to drive successful movements, which is underpinned by her background in Psychology and Anthropology.

Hannah grew up in regional Queensland against a backdrop of drought and water restrictions, which fostered a deep love and concern for the environment that lead to joining the youth climate movement. Her diverse experience in campaigning, organising, leadership and training in climate NGOs has built a broad skill set – and nuanced understanding of how we bring along people from all walks of life in the fight for climate justice.

That’s why Hannah sees Solar Citizens as having a unique and vital role in the climate movement. As a voice and powerful advocate for everyday Australians, Solar Citizens can cut through to audiences that are can be hard to reach and build power in communities that are often left out or left behind. For that reason, Solar Citizens is perfectly placed to drive the shift to cleaner and fairer energy and transport systems that put the power back in the hands of the people.



Kanchana Pathirana, Organiser (Queensland)
Kanchana works from the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal people

Kanchana lives and works in Meanjin country of the Jagera and Turrbal people. She has a background in psychology with experience in events and volunteer coordination, and equity-focused advocacy and research. She has been working within community groups to build people power and advocate for climate action in Adelaide prior to moving to Brisbane in 2022 as the Organiser for Queensland at Solar Citizens.

Having lived experience as a renter and migrant in communities of varying levels of cultural diversity and socioeconomic status, Kanchana has an understanding of intersectional barriers to accessing clean energy and transport that some communities are facing. She also sees the great opportunity Queensland has in becoming a role model for setting the standards for a just transition for all.

Kanch has a knack for connecting with people from various backgrounds. Her passion is to connect people with nature, themselves, and their communities; and empower them and decision-makers to take courageous and uncomfortable actions necessary to create a sustainable and thriving Australia for all.




Ajaya Haikerwal, Clean Transport Campaigner 
Ajaya works from the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people

Ajaya lives and works on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung country in Naarm as Solar Citizens’ Clean Transport Campaigner. For over five years, Ajaya has worked in a number of climate NGOs, and brings experience from working in the health sector during the pandemic, an interest in human-centred design, and a love for systems and automation.

Through Solar Citizens’ transport work, Ajaya aims to create an Australia where everyone can get around freely, efficiently and safely, at low or no cost and without creating carbon emissions. He envisions a future where our towns and cities have clean air through abundant public transport options and interconnected active transport routes. All vehicles are powered by Australian wind and sunshine, and do their bit for the grid in the night time.

Ajaya believes that Solar Citizens is well-placed to realise this vision by helping people connect the dots between clean energy and clean transport, demonstrating the cost of living savings for everyday Australians when you pair rooftop solar generation with powerful electric vehicle batteries.



Rafael Branton, Operations Manager 

Rafael works from the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people

Rafael lives and works from the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people in Naarm (Melbourne). With a background in physics and science communication, Rafael has experience in an international solar project, commercial research into technology for monitoring the ecological effects of climate change and most recently co-ordinating a GP-led respiratory clinic helping in the public health response to COVID-19. Now working as Solar Citizen’s Operations Manager, Rafael has keen attention to detail, a warm and friendly disposition and is adept at systematising solutions to operational issues.

With the rapidly growing uptake of solar and Electric Vehicles in Australia, Rafael is wary of the increasing challenge of having policy and infrastructure that can keep up with that evolving landscape. Rafael is confident in Solar Citizen’s ability to navigate and champion the need for equitable policy that can keep up with demand and accelerate our transition to renewable energy whilst ensuring that we don’t leave behind our most vulnerable community members.

Having lived in rental properties their whole life and been lucky enough to have solar in one of those, Rafael understands the huge financial benefits of solar and the difficulty of accessing it as a renter. Rafael hopes to be a part of delivering an Australia powered by clean energy from which everyone can benefit.



Ben Lever, Regional Clean Transport Organiser

Ben works from the lands of the Wadawurrung people

Ben lives and works on the lands of the Wadawurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation. He has a background in campaigning for sustainable transport – mainly walking, cycling and public transport. He founded the Ballarat Branch of the Public Transport Users Association in 2016 to advance this work, and through this has gained extensive experience in transport policy, media, and direct lobbying. He has recently joined Solar Citizens as the Regional Clean Transport Organiser, initially focusing on the Regional Electric Ute Roadshow – showing regional Australians the benefits of electric vehicles.

Ben’s educational background is in Writing and Business, giving him the skills to communicate key messages across the board, but particularly when speaking to those in the business community. His prior work experience in the International Education sector has given him experience in speaking and working with people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Ben has lived in regional Victoria for most of his life, but has travelled to many of the great cities of the world, and is passionate about bringing that best-practice urbanism and transport back to Australia – and especially the regions. He has a strong focus on ensuring that regional Australians – whether in larger regional cities, smaller regional towns, or rural and remote areas – get clean transport options suited to their needs, regardless of their age, ability or wealth.



Joel Pringle, National Consumer Advocate Campaigner

Joel works from the lands of the Awabakal people

Joel lives and works in Mulubimba (Newcastle) on Awabakal lands. His expertise draws on community development, social policy, advocacy, and political campaigning, and he is adept at applying these skills to grassroots campaigning and mobilisation.

Joel's professional experience includes consumer policy, housing affordability, cost-of-living campaigns, and shifting social norms to address discrimination. He brings this rich background to his new role advocating for clean energy for all consumers, on behalf of Solar Citizens.

Joel sees ensuring fair access to the cost-of-living benefits of renewable technologies as the major driver of climate equity in Australia, and essential to consolidating the successes of climate campaigns. He knows that climate justice and social justice are integrally connected and that renewable technologies should be available to everyone in our communities. He understands that it’s up to Australian communities to get involved in making make this happen, and that organisations such as Solar Citizens and its partners can empower everyday Australians to do this.



State Teams 


Janet, Sunshine Coast Team Coordinator

Janet has been volunteering with Solar Citizens from our inception in 2013 and has been an instrumental part of our Queensland efforts. She is passionate about getting to a future powered by 100% renewable energy and has a background in university administration. 

Janet ensures all the Sunshine Coast team meetings involve delicious food & drinks to accompany their strategic discussions. 


Steering Committee 



Genevieve Kelly, Chair

Genevieve Kelly (formerly Rankin) has a wealth of experience in environmental activism and community organising. In 2004 Genevieve received an AM in the Order of Australia, for service to the community, in particular the areas of conservation and the environment, reconciliation, local government, social justice, and education. Most recently she was project lead for Sydney Alliance Western Sydney University Organising unit. She previously worked as a senior university lecturer at Western Sydney University and as NSW Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

For many years she was a core community campaigner in the campaign against the building of a new Nuclear Reactor at Lucas Heights. Genevieve was an elected member and Mayor of Sutherland Shire Council up until 2004. She was the first Mayor in Australia to give a formal apology for the Aboriginal genocide at the commemoration of Cook’s landing at Kurnell. Genevieve is a mother and grandmother and is passionately committed to Solar Citizen’s vision of 100% renewable energy for Australia.





Mark Capps

Mark Capps 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. 



Ric Brazzale

Ric Brazzale is Chairman of the Green Energy Group and has more than 30 years’ experience in the energy sector. Prior to establishing the Green Energy Group in 2007, Ric headed the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), now the Clean Energy Council, a leading advocate for renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in Australia. Before this, Ric worked in a number of business development and finance roles with Fletcher Challenge Energy, John Holland and Woodside Petroleum. Ric is also President of the REC Agents Association, President of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Association and a Director of the Energy Savings Industry Association. Ric is also Chair of the National Steering Committee of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.





Clara Mazzone
Clara is a renewable energy engineer with over ten years’ experience in project management across Australia, the Pacific and India. Her interest in and work on microgrids, solar hybrid systems and batteries were recognised by Engineers Australia with a High Commendation for Young Professional Engineer of the Year in 2017.
Clara studied environmental and political sciences as well as engineering as a result of her passionate advocacy for sustainability and renewable energy. She recognises the important role of community based organisations like Solar Citizens’ in the national debate on energy.


Ellen Roberts



Ellen Roberts

Ellen has a background in law and has worked in social change and advocacy for over twenty years, and on climate action and energy for ten years. She has worked for unions, universities, community legal centres and NGOs. Most recently she was Solar Citizen's National Director, and prior to that led GetUp's organising work in Queensland, and worked at the Mackay Conservation Group on sustainable development and climate change.

In 2018 she was listed in the Courier Mail’s 100 Most Influential Queenslanders. She currently lives in Brisbane, and indulges in bird watching, writing and drawing in her spare time.

Stephen Pfeiffer



Stephen Pfeiffer

Stephen works on the lands of the Gadigal people

Stephen worked in education for 12 years, first as a high school history and English teacher then later in universities in student services. He has since shifted his career focus, working on developing a climate and environment focused giving and investment strategy, prioritising transformative core-funding to high-impact organisations and businesses delivering climate solutions. Stephen is currently exploring ways of supporting and mentoring others to give and invest more towards the transition to renewable energy. 


Noosheen Mogadam

Noosheen is a lawyer and has practiced in commercial firms, as well as, community legal organisations in Australia. She has also worked in international emergency humanitarian response operations across the middle east, in program management, protection and advocacy roles. Noosheen is passionate about diversity in human rights and environmental movements for amplification of outcomes, and sees grassroots organisations like Solar Citizens as prime influencers in realising sustainable development initiatives locally.