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December 22, 2016 RBI Solar Inc

Women In Solar: Nicole Brearton

  • November 4th, 2016
  • Alicia Auhagen

Nicole Brearton, RBI Solar, photo by Alicia Auhagen

How did you get started in the solar industry? What attracted you to it?

My start in the solar industry has been more of a need on the administrative/purchasing side of the business.  I come from a very different educational background than most here at RBI Solar. I have a degree in Social Work/Social Psychology.  My passion is the safety and well-being of children, with particular attention to those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

I became attracted to the solar industry in November of 2015 after stumbling across a documentary about the innovative money exchange in Kenya using a mobile phone-based banking system called M-PESA. Only 4% of Kenya’s remote areas have access to electricity.  Those without electricity rely heavily on Kerosene lamps causing up to 12,000 deaths per year, with a majority of those deaths being children. A company called M-KOPA Solar invented a way to provide inexpensive power to these areas using M-PESA. After watching this documentary the solar industry instantly changed from a cheap and easy way for me to enhance my landscaping at night to a viable solution to enhance the safety and well-being of children all around the world. 

How long have you been in the solar industry?

Less than 6 months.

What do you do at RBI Solar?

I have a dual role in both administration and purchasing.

What has been your proudest accomplishment at RBI Solar so far?

I would have to say my proudest accomplishment thus far has been challenging the left side of my brain to think more like an engineer!  I have only been at RBI Solar a short time, so I would like to think my proudest accomplishments are yet to come.

What advice would you give to women starting out in the solar industry or looking to get into it?

The advice I would give to a woman or anyone for that matter starting out or interested in the solar industry is that solar is so much more than what meets the eye.  There are so many layers to this industry and there is not just “one” field or gender that dominates it.  Don’t just look at the solar industry as a small niche; use your experiences, education, and passion to enhance the industry. It’s a real way that we can reduce our carbon footprint on the planet and improve the lives of those living on it at the same time.

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