Top 34 influencers in renewable energy in Australia

Check out these must-follow LinkedIn accounts to keep up to date with Australia’s renewable energy and solar sector.
  • Published by
    Laura Rodríguez

    Laura Rodríguez

    Business developer

3 Mar, 21 / UPDATED 5 May, 23

Renewable energy and solar PV, in particular, are having a significant positive impact on the recovery of the economy after COVID-19. Governments, investors, and society have all realized the importance of establishing a Green Strategy urgently.

Nevertheless, some countries have been leading the way for some years now. In Australia, 7.8% of total energy generation comes from solar energy, which is more than double the percentage of the total solar contribution worldwide.

Surprisingly, residential (small-scale) solar accounts for 5.3% of the country’s total generation capacity (12,269 GWh), equivalent to more than 2.5 million households powered by solar over the year.


Discover the ins and outs of the Australian renewable industry. Download the State of Green report: Australia

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Australia’s installed solar photovoltaic capacity is 15.9 GW, an increase of 40.9% since 2018 (11.3 GW).

You probably already know the importance of Australia in the solar industry. However, do you know who is leading this progress?

Leaders of the energy transformation in Australia on social media

First of all, please note that this list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it is a diverse sample of particularly active accounts that we love! Most people listed below are passionate about sharing news and articles about many industries and diverse renewable energy matters.

Sonja Basson

Sonja has been passionate about energy since the age of 10. Accredited as a Professional Engineer in South Africa, Chartered Engineer in Ireland and Australia, and RPEQ in Queensland, Sonja’sSonja’s international career has motivated her to become a motivational speaker & author while at the same time working as Senior Manager of Energy & Resources in Deloitte.

George Phani

George is passionate about applying his solar energy experience and skills to diverse industries, with quality and client satisfaction as his main concern. He currently works as Head of Sales and Business Development at Yingli Solar in Sydney.

Alba Ruiz Leon

Having helped develop, construct, and operate the largest Australian solar farm, Limondale (349 MW), in NSW and with 15+ years of energy market experience in the APAC region, Alba is now leading the Melbourne team at Cornwall Insight Australia. Supporting the company expansion from the UK and Ireland to Australia.

Steve Blume

Steve is one of Australia’s most experienced energy experts and advocates, with over 20 years of experience in the energy sector. President of the Australian Smart Energy Council; Director of the Global Solar Council; Treasurer, of New Zealand & Pacific Solar & Storage Council; Director, of the Australian Institute of Energy and Director, & Steering Committee Chair, Asia PV Industry Association. CEO of NoCarbon Pty Ltd, a smart energy consulting firm. Steve is a former political adviser, private & public sector senior executive, and change advocate assisting in adopting clean energy solutions as a primary climate change response.

Maaike Gobel

Maaike is a renewable energy and energy efficiency expert with a focus on clean energy and climate change mitigation & adaptation. Currently Head of Asia Pacific (APAC) for OpenSolar, Maaike specializes in impact investment, climate change policy, and energy start-ups.

Rachel Thompson

Currently working as General Manager of QLD for the Next Green Group in Queensland, Rachel is a renewables enthusiast looking to implement smart energy solutions to a wide range of businesses. She is also a Co-Director of Life Global Australia, an established global charity focused on rebuilding schools and women’s empowerment in rural India.

State of Green Australia

Discover the ins and outs of the Australian renewable industry.  Download the State of Green report: Australia

Richard Vargas

Founder & CEO of United Solar Group LLC, Richard has over 15 years of global renewable energy development experience. With an electrical, computing, and telecommunications background, he has built a business stretching over three continents.

Sarah Haskmann

Sarah currently works on the Sun Cable flagship project, Australia-Asia PowerLink (AAPowerLink), undertaking front-end project development activities for solar generation, energy storage, and transmission infrastructure. She previously worked as a Project Officer at The University of Queensland, leading the client-side duties of overseeing the design, construction and operation of key energy projects. She also works closely with renewables peak bodies, such as the Clean Energy Council, to ensure project-based engagement in policy development.

Dr. Jemma Green

Dr. Jemma Green is the Co-founder & Executive Chairman at Power Ledger. Awarded the EY Fintech and Entrepreneur of the Year, Jemma has become the voice of sustainability and corporate social responsibility since she worked in Global Environmental & Social Risk Management at J.P. Morgan. Afterward, she completed a Ph.D. in electricity market disruption and became a research fellow at Curtin University and chair of Climate-KIC Australia. Also active on Twitter as @msjemmagreen.

Chris Young

Chris is a passionate advocate of renewable energy. He leads the development of tailored comprehensive asset management and reliability engineering solutions as a Senior Reliability Engineer at Entura.

Muren Guler

Muren is currently Managing Partner at Venn Energy. He has extensive expertise in project and business development related to renewable energy. In particular, utility-scale Solar PV focused on origination, development, co-development, and investment opportunities in various regulated and unregulated markets in Europe, Northern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, LATAM, the Middle East, Central Asia, and SouthEast Asia.

Paul Hodgson

With over 30 years of industry experience, Paul is chairperson at the Queensland Manufacturing Institute, a member of the advisory board at Scaling Green Hydrogen, and a member of Climate Salad, a community of climate entrepreneurs and mentors. Paul is also an industry commentator for the monthly Australian Industry Group/Minerals, Energy, and Supply Chain Resilience Podcast “What on Earth.”

Anthony Seipolt

Anthony has extensive experience in the Australian energy sector, including an advisory role at the Australian Energy Regulator. Anthony has been managing director at Cadency Consulting for over 13 years, delivering projects in the US, Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia.

Sharon Swift 

Sharon manages the UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute, which is working to enable the electrification of society for a smart, sustainable future. She is also a mentor for the Orbispace Initiative, which focuses on supporting innovation by building business cases and pitching for funding.

renewable energy influencers australia

Laura Harvey 

As Managing Editor at Monkey Media Enterprises, running Energy magazine, Laura leads a team producing thought-provoking and insightful content on the issues affecting the renewables industry.

Jonathan Prendergast

Jonathan is a director at Komo Energy, providing development services to the community and mid-scale solar sector. He is also Director at Prendergast Projects, providing project development and delivery services specializing in sustainable infrastructure.

Heidi Lee

Heidi is CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions, an independent research provider showing how Australian businesses and communities can embrace the net-zero transition. She previously worked as an architect and is passionate about the potential to decarbonize locally-made materials while strengthening the local manufacturing sector.

Richard Gledhill

Richard is an experienced engineering professional, team leader, and consultant with over 15 years of experience in the renewable energy industry. He is currently Market Leader, Renewables at WSP, responsible for business development, team management, and project execution for wind and solar projects across Australia.

Alex Hang

Alex is General Manager for the Asia Pacific region at Chinese solar manufacturer Suntech, which produces solar modules and cells, and was previously responsible for the company’s Australia and New Zealand business. He is a frequent attendee at industry events representing the company.

James Luffman 

A meteorologist, renewables, and environmental data entrepreneur, James is CEO of Solcast, which he co-founded in 2016 to provide a solar irradiance API for solar resource assessment, monitoring, and forecasting. He is passionate about delivering value in environmental data in a way that is profitable for users and looks after the future of the planet.

Renewable Energy Solar Trends Report 2023

Want to learn more about the challenges the renewables industry faces in 2023? Download our Renewable Energy and Solar Research Report to gather market data and insights from 100 renewable industry experts in 2023.

Brian Spak

As director of energy system transition at Energy Consumers Australia, Brian is responsible for negotiating and informing regulators, state and federal government officials, and industry leaders about the energy system transition to ensure the best outcome for consumers.

Pardon Shagwai 

An engineering manager at Australian energy company AGL, Pardon has a 12-year track record of providing smart energy solutions across diverse industries, including mining, healthcare, telecom, and heavy industries.

Huon Hoogesteger 

Huon is the Managing Director of the solar supply and installation business, Smart Commercial Solar. He has extensive experience in off-grid systems, grid connections, grid support, and backup design and installation.

Jeff Dimery 

Jeff has been CEO of Australian utility Alinta Energy since 2011 and Managing Director & CEO since 2017. He has 25 years of experience in the energy and water resources industry. He was previously a general manager at AGL, responsible for establishing and growing its power generation portfolio.

Jose Miguel Plaza Pardo 

Jose transitioned in March 2023 from Managing Director of Grupo Gransolar (GRS) Construction US to Managing Director at Gransolar Group in Australia and New Zealand. He has an extensive career history in project management in Europe and the Middle East.

Scott Ryan 

Currently Chief Asset and Operating Officer at Endeavour Energy (NSW), Scott has held roles in asset management, system control, regulatory, retail, and operations over the past 14 years. The current position covers asset management and delivery operations with a strong emphasis on grid transformation. Scott is also on the Asset Management Committee at Energy Networks Australia.

Hanna Peruzynska (Slominska) 

Hanna is the Section Leader of Future Power Solutions for Australia and New Zealand at consulting and project delivery firm Jacobs. She has comprehensive experience in the electricity industry, including power systems, network access planning, overhead line refurbishment, substation control, and data systems, as well as analysis and quality assurance experience.

Yuneska Harris 

As an engineering manager at Australian solar technology company Clenergy, Yuneska designs ground and roof-mounted systems for solar installations. She was part of designing and managing the biggest solar farm installed at an airport in Australia. 

Brett Wickham

Brett has been Managing Director at Acciona Energia for five years, working in construction roles since 2006. He has over 12 years of experience in the renewable energy industry, covering the entire project life cycle, from green field development to operations. He has been involved in engineering, construction, and operations activities for over 30 years in the aeronautical, maritime, and electricity generation areas.

Andy McCarthy 

Andy founded Gippsland Solar alongside his wife Kelly in 2010, which became one of Australia’sAustralia’s largest regional solar and storage providers. RACV Solar acquired the company in December 2019, and Andy took on the CEO and Managing Director role. In his 20 years in the renewable energy sector, he has held project management and advocacy roles and mentored start-ups and entrepreneurs from Australia, the US, and Asia.

Manfred Fahr

Manfred moved in April 2023 from a key account manager role for utility, module, and system solutions at Canadian Solar to Senior Project Development Manager at Enel Green Power in Sydney. He has extensive experience in power generation, project development, and power products across the renewable energy sector. He works with investors, developers, and contractors to reduce the complexities and costs of solar system installation and operation.

Ruby Heard

Ruby is an electrical engineer and independent energy consultant specializing in renewable energy and microgrids. Her previous experience in building services, electrical design, medium-voltage distribution and feasibility, and design work for large-scale solar systems and microgrids give her a well-rounded background in the energy and power industry.

Adam Baker

Adam is an innovation product manager at an online energy retailer, PowerShop, which was acquired by Shell Energy, leading the development of e-mobility products and services. He has experience in global product, strategy, operations, and investment across multiple sectors, including energy, agriculture, the Internet of Things (IoT), and services from early-stage to late-stage companies.

Raghavi Bhoopathy

Raghavi has over five years of experience in renewable energy engineering with expertise in Solar energy, O&M, and Energy yield optimization. She is currently a Solar Energy Engineer at WSP. This experience gives her a detailed understanding of the demands of the solar energy sector.

What you should do now

Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways we can help you grow your solar business and reduce LCOE of your PV plants.

  1. Get hands-on with a free RatedPower self-service guided tour. If you’d like to learn the ins and outs of how top photovoltaic software can help your engineering team, go ahead and request your free demo. One of our solar experts will understand your current design and engineering workflows, and then suggest practical tips on how to speed up them though the right tool.
  2. Let's get physical, physical! Learn the latest on renewable energy and PV in the second edition of Pulse, our annual get-together full of technical workshops, inspiring talks from energy leaders and tons of networking. Learn more.
  3. If you’d like to learn insights, ideas and inspiration for the low-carbon energy transition for free, go to our blog or visit our resources section, where you can download guides, templates and checklists solar successful pros use.
  4. If you’d like to work with other passionate experts on our team, or learn more about our purpose and corporate values, then see our Careers page.
  5. If you know another solar designer, developer or engineer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Laura Rodríguez

Business developer

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