Danny Kennedy is an entrepreneur, an activist, and the author of the book Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy— and Our Planet—from Dirty Energy (2012). He founded Sungevity, a leading global residential solar power company and is also Cofounder and President of the world's only Incubator and Accelerator for solar entrepreneurs - known as the SfunCube in Oakland, CA. Danny sits on the Boards of several solar start-ups including Mosaic, Powerhive and Sunergise. He serves with several non-profits including the Board of the Solar Foundation, the Clean Tech Council of the Sierra Club and WRI’s New Innovators Council.
Experience at the Distribution Edge
I work in solar every day. I dream about distributed solar. I think about it in the shower. Is that enough? As Chairman of the Board of Sungevity Australia – a country that already has over 1 million solar homes or more than 10% of households providing electricity to the grid – I understand the dynamics of maturing PV markets. In Europe, I see how DG is destroying giant utilities that are not keeping up with the change. I have been involved in more forecasts than I care to remember and the only thing I know is that the modular nature and distributed architecture of solar technology in particular means we always underestimate how quickly the shift to DG will occur. And I am working with a variety of companies in emerging markets, where we are leapfrogging central station models altogether, and see even more evidence of how quickly disruptive distributed power will be.
Describe what you want to offer teams trying to Accelerate their projects
My experience starting a successful business in the space that has doubled revenue every year, now employs about 500 people worldwide, and has thousands of happy customers with a net promoter score greater than anyone in the industry. I have also made a habit (and another company – the SfunCube) out of supporting other solar entrepreneurs to succeed so I know a little about the praxis of getting startups from a great idea to revenue and beyond. The work of making SFUN, solar for universal need, is what I now do with most of my time and I look forward to working with the Accelerator teams.
What personally motivates you to work on issues at the Distribution Edge?
I wrote a book about it called the Rooftop Revolution. We need this not just to save ourselves from climate change but to undo so many of the perverse issues related to fossil fuels and central station power supply. The concentration of wealth and political power by vested interests in the incumbent technology set is something I think distributed generation models seriously challenge – by having SFUN we can take back the power both literally and figuratively for the people. And we can create lots of jobs and economic opportunity at the same time. What else could I possibly be doing?