RE-volv Blog

Introducing the Harbor House Solar Champions

April 14, 2017

RE-volv has historically worked with student groups, called Solar Ambassadors, to encourage solar crowdfunding campaigns in a university’s community. While this partnership has worked well, the goal has been to empower anyone who wants to support their local nonprofits with solar. For the first time we are doing this through our “Solar Champion” program, where any volunteer from the local community can run a campaign with support from RE-volv.


To learn a little bit about their motivations, we asked the Solar Champions to tell us a bit about themselves and what motivated them to get involved with RE-Volv and the Harbor House project.

Cecilio Aponte

Energy is kind of my life. When I was exposed to energy issues in college, I was immediately  drawn to how big the problem was and how many ways it could be tackled. In college, I studied materials science and engineering at MIT and tried to look at it from that angle. Then I got interested in policy and moved to DC to work on how cities are engaged with issues in sustainability. Now, my ever changing path has brought me to the Bay Area where I work at a solar company, Sunpower, through the Climate Corps Bay Area fellowship.


When I moved to the Bay Area, I knew I wanted to get involved with the community in which I lived. It was also around election time, where everyone was looking for a way to give back. After hearing about RE-volv on a webinar and being bathed by personal, feel-good buzz words like “community”, “solar”, and “empowerment”, I jumped on the opportunity. Becoming a Solar Champion allowed me to use my passion in a way that could support my community, all while learning important professional skills that are so helpful early in my career.

Michaela Ballek

About eight years ago, I began to work with renewable energy and energy efficiency both on a professional and on a personal basis. At my employer, McKinsey & Company, I joined the Climate Change practice, and almost at the same time, we started to make plans to retrofit our house to make it much more energy efficient. We installed both PV and solar for warm water, among several other measures, and reduced our gas consumption to a third of our usual bill, when everything was completed. We also paid a lot less for electricity. I think everyone should have this opportunity, and particularly people and organizations that need it most. That’s why I love to support this cause as a Solar Champion volunteer for RE-volv.

Jacqueline Kha

During undergrad, I was closely involved with running education and outreach for energy reduction projects on my campus. My fellowship right now doesn’t have opportunities to be as involved as I would like with energy and things I’ve been involved with before, so naturally I had to look for it elsewhere. Luckily, I found those things in being a Solar Champion, and I was able to learn more about renewable energy and get in touch with my community at the same time!

Joey Gale

With a strong passion for sustainability, RE-volv allows me the opportunity to not only give back to my community, but also improve my overall understanding of the renewable energy sector. Currently working as an environmental specialist on NEPA procurement for airport improvement projects and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Management with the University of Wisconsin, I volunteer with RE-volv because it is an organization with great direction and leadership. As a Solar Champion, I am proud to assist RE-volv in driving a community-based transition towards solar energy.   

Learn more about the Harbor House solar project here: https://re-volv.org/project/harborhouse/

The Solar Champions: Cecilio, Joey, Jacqueline, and Michaela

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