Esra Kucukciftci - EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Facebook

Esra Kucukciftci was an SLI intern in 2003. She helped us with the design of our biodiesel trainings as well as various solar energy workshops. This summer, Esra is participating in the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps program at Facebook. EDF Climate Corps matches trained students from leading business schools with companies to develop practical, actionable energy efficiency and conservation plans.

As a fellow at Facebook, Esra will assess energy efficiency measures for Facebook’s new office campus in Menlo Park through benchmarks, controls, and energy management systems. She will also identify the metrics and best practices for an integrated energy management program at the Menlo Park facility.

“It is truly an amazing time to be part of Facebook’s energy efficiency initiatives” she informs. “In the coming months, the company will be moving into the office campus formerly occupied by Sun Microsystems.  The campus, which will have a new design, new occupancy patterns, and numerous energy efficient technologies, is being retro-commissioned.”

This is Facebook’s first year participating in the EDF Climate Corps program. Its commitment to host three fellows at once is a first for EDF. Facebook is currently implementing a number of green programs focusing on transportation, water conservation, waste diversion, programming and data centers. Facebook’s Open Compute Project, focusing on data center efficiency, was launched this spring.

Following her internship, Esra will be finishing her MBA degree at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She hopes to pursue a career in innovation or program/product management in the areas of energy management and sustainability.


Emily was the Communications Intern in 2010 and did a stellar job of assisting the department in the areas of community outreach, event management, email marketing, building relationships with groups such as Grid Alternatives, and much more. Prior to her internship, she served as a Policy Advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, where she coordinated and implemented the province's new Green Energy and Green Economy Act. While at SLI, she trained and qualified for an entry-level credential in Solar Photovoltaic Design and Installation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.

Upon completing her program she set out to help others, as a volunteer in Nicaragua. This involved visiting two sustainable eco-villages that are incorporating a variety of permaculture techniques. She assisted the Solar Women of Totogalpa, a women's cooperative that is establishing a Solar Center in their rural community. Their program is run through a solar organization called Grupo Fenix that originally started out of a push to re-train landmine victims after the war here to become installers. These women build their own solar PV panels and solar cookers out of recycled materials! In addition, she met with blueEnergy and Green Empowerment that offer solar training programs in Nicaragua, for people interested in getting off-grid rural electrification experience in a developing country.

She is currently in Ecuador developing a series of PV projects with an indigenous community in the Amazon. Read her notes from the field.


SLI would like to congratulate Stuart Kriendler on opening his renewable energy enterprise EMPower, back in his homeland of Bermuda. Stuart was our 2009 Renewable Energy Workshop Intern and earned his NABCEP Certificate of Knowledge after taking numerous PV workshops through SLI, and is looking forward to becoming a fully Certified PV Installer possibly by Fall. He has also recently completed a comprehensive online energy auditing course and plans to become a Certified BPI Energy Auditor after field testing in the coming weeks. Stuart's business, EMPower, offers PV and Solar Thermal installation (through SunWize Solar out of Willits, CA) as well as energy conservation and efficiency consultation.

According to Stuart, "The idea is to empower people to reduce their carbon footprint and save money at the same time and I think there is a lot of opportunity here to make an honest living by doing some good. I'm looking for steady growth at this point and not rushing into anything too big; there are just so many opportunities and so much interest, but I'll start small by putting a 2kW system on our traditional Bermuda cottage (to put my money where my mouth is!) and I have a few customers lined up looking for installs soon after. Of course there is also a lot of interest on the energy consulting side and I look forward to helping people in this aspect; as energy conservation and efficiency should go hand-in-hand with PV or Solar Thermal."
Stuart has also been in talks with the Bermuda Government about renewable energy policies that would help Bermuda become less fossil fuel dependent as well as empowering lower and middle income citizens. We will follow Stuart's progress in the coming months and wish him the best with his renewable energy endeavors! You can contact Stuart at +(441) 599-2105 or by email.

Haley was a workshop intern during the fall of 2008 and had a wonderful "sol-ful" experience. After completing the SLI internship program, she returned to New York, and searched for a job. She wanted to let the SLI know, that as of Jan 2010, she has started a new "green" career!!!

Haley is an Energy Smart Community Coordinator, working as a contactor for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). She promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal customers. The program covers a 9 county region and she is one of 20 coordinators in the entire New York State. She works out of the office of a small non-profit in downtown Rochester, NY, called the Center for Environmental Information.

"I am very proud of this accomplishment and wanted to let the SLI community know that I am forever thankful for the experience I had as an intern there. Without a doubt, the skills and education I received have contributed to my candidacy for this position. "I look foward to maintaining a relationship with the SLI alumni and staff."

Former SLI Interns, Kevin Myers and Barrett Raferty (2007) have teamed up with American African Nehru and Sunpower to participate in bringing solar to the Maasai tribe in Kenya.

The project will install an off grid solar system at the Emprukel Primary school in the Transmara district of Western Kenya. The funding and team support will provide all the materials and cost of the installation, provide education and training of local villagers to work with and maintain the solar electric system, and provide services to benefit the community at large (lighting, refrigeration for medicine and electrical outlets).

Meyer & Raferty hope to bring new prosperity to this African community. Plans include the training of local technicians that will introduce valuable trade skills into the community. It also creates a local support team who will maintain the system while sharpening their skills in the electrical and solar trades. This educational opportunity, combined with an ability to generate income, will create interest in learning about PV and will create employment opportunities for rural residents.


The Solar Living Institute is a 501 (c)(3) educational nonprofit organization offering instruction in solar training and sustainable practices.  Founded in 1998, we have been providing professional solar training and a wide array of sustainability courses for over 15 years. Our courses are taught by experienced practitioners who bring years of real world knowledge to the classroom with a focus on helping students prepare for job opportunities, start businesses, and live more sustainably.

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