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:
Joseph Scales, National Director
Joseph is long term advocate and campaigner, in areas as diverse as workers’ rights, industry reform and LGBTI equality. Prior to joining Solar Citizens, Joseph was Secretary of the Australian Services Union - SA + NT Branch, where he was a champion in the union movement for a just transition for coal communities. Joseph led the ASU’s work on the Repower Port Augusta campaign, which has resulted in one of the world's largest solar thermal with storage plants being built in Port Augusta.
He is a Non-Executive Director of a financial services institution, exposing him to the benefits and importance of business acting on climate change; and was previously a member of the SA Premier’s Climate Change Council, providing independent advice to the state government on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.
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.
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, National 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, Digital Campaigner and Media support
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandy Pitcher is an experienced chief executive and senior public sector leader, with over twenty years' experience at executive levels of the public sector across Australia and the United Kingdom. Throughout 2015-2018 Sandy led the South Australian government's response to Climate Change and is an international spokesperson on Climate Change and renewable energy.
Sandy is currently the Chair of the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide, and is consulting on climate change and sustainability. Sandy was a founding member of Climate - Knowledge Innovation Community (KIC) Australia and was the national Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Government and Community) 2012. Sandy is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Claire is passionate about sun-power and people-power because they will fuel a fairer and cleaner world for all. Claire was national director of Solar Citizens from 2014-2017 and boasts a 1.5kW system on her home. Claire has 15+ years' experience in journalism, campaigns and organising in organisations of social value in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.