Solar Living Institute
PO Box 836
13771 S. Hwy 101 - deliveries
Hopland, CA 95449
- Solar Living Center Hours: Daily, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
- SLI Office Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.
Karen brings many years of organizational and management experience to the SLI and holds a Business Management degree from St. Mary’s College. Entering her eighth year at the SLI, she has adopted and adapted to the many changing roles that is the nature of a small non-profit. Dedicated to enabling and empowering others to finding their niche in the sustainable economy she oversees the solar training and workshops department, as well as nonprofit administration.
Prior to joining SLI she specialized in eco-tourism developing tours and leading professional groups to World Heritage sites around the globe. She currently resides in Healdsburg, CA, with her husband, writer and author, Christian Kallen.
Miranda is an enthusiastic student of life, a traveler and an environmental and social activist. She initially came up from the southern half of California for a job on the Eel River and found not just that, but also a change in perspective; a greater awareness of the world around her. In 2014 her focus became accelerating the necessary force that is the sustainability movement and The Solar Living Center, with its like-minded community, became the place to do it!
While working with the intern program, sustainable building classes and aiding in networking and outreach, Miranda lives her interests in community empowerment, development and sustainable construction. She loves Mendocino County and spends her time adventuring on the coast and through the Redwoods. Here at The Solar Living Institute Miranda is a team builder with a sincere passion for enabling those looking for tools and opportunities to create a better world.
Farm & Garden Manager
When he isn't learning new alternative energy concepts or weeding in the garden, Caleb likes to spend his time outdoors. Caleb's hobbies include mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, golf as well as jamming on the acoustic guitar. A combination of great music, food, and people is where you will find him.
Prior to his experience in PV installation, Caleb graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, New York. His passion is in Alternative Energies, but after moving west to California he gained a higher awareness to sustainable living practices and our overall impacts on the planet. The mission at SLI fits well with Caleb's passions and gives him the facilities and resources needed as well as networking and connections to improve his skills, knowledge and experience in sustainable living on his pursuit to become a devoted and conscious contributor to the global community.
Board of Directors
Tom Cotter is Sales Manager of Central California at Real Goods Solar. He holds a deep desire to re-think, to re-design and build a positive future. Tom is the organizer and curator of the Fresno Solar Tour, co-founder of Green Central Valley and Founder of Fresno Green Drinks. He also serves on the board of directors at the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and Restore Hetch Hetchy. His roles as father, consultant, clergy, manager, public speaker, community organizer, and professor have provided a unique perspective on the challenges we face and the changes required to overcome them. He sees the end of the era of cheap fossil fuels and key materials, coupled with rising population and anxieties around water resources, food production and harmful wastes, as clearly demonstrating the need to rethink our model of production and consumption, not merely attempting to patch it up. He shares an optimism that this rethinking will bring a better quality of life and increased opportunities as it can potentially restore natural and social capital. Tom frequently speaks to groups about solar, creation care, circular economy, electric cars, postmodern culture and social media for good.
Jaynellen Kovacovich, MA
Jaynellen comes from a farming background with expertise in herbology, permaculture and raising farm animals. She has over 25 years of elementary and high school teaching and administrative experience. Jaynellen has a passion for teaching children about the environment and has spent much of her career coordinating environmental education and ecology programs for middle school and high school students throughout the Bay Area. In 1993, Time Magazine and Amway nominated her for the Earth Teacher Award for her contributions as an environmental educator. Jaynellen co founded Earth Team, an environmental network for Bay Area teens in 2000. She served as the coordinator of Earth Day 2000 for Sonoma County and continues to organize Earth Day events in the North Bay. Jaynellen is active in teaching youth about solar education through hands on experiences. She helps coordinate the Junior Solar Sprint competition each year for teens in northern California. Currently, she serves on two non-profit boards. She is on the board of directors for the Solar Living Institute as the Educational Chairperson and a board member for Earth House Center, a center for sustainability in Oakland, California.
John Schaeffer, Founder, Board President
John has been exploring renewable energy and sustainable living since graduating from UC Berkeley in 1971. Over the last 32 years, he founded and grew Real Goods Trading Company as its President from a garage start-up to the foremost global source for tools and information on renewable energy and sustainable living. In 1995 he created the Solar Living Center in Hopland, California, a 12-acre educational demonstration site. He founded and remains Board Chair of the educational non-profit Solar Living Institute dedicated to promoting renewable energy through inspirational environmental education. He continues as President of Real Goods Solar, Inc., now a public company (NASDAQ: RSOL), that has installed more solar than any other company in the U.S. with over 6,000 homes solarized. John has received numerous awards including Small Business Person of the year, Most Environmental Catalog from the Direct Marketing Association three years running, and has been twice nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year. John lives with his wife Nancy remotely in Mendocino County, California in a natural home built mostly from recycled materials in the middle of a permaculture off-grid oasis powered by solar and hydro-electric, where John and Nancy also raise grapes, olives, fruit trees, and an abundant vegetable garden organically and biodynamically.
Joel is a proven business executive with a track record of success across sales, marketing and business development. He is currently leading the Marketing Department at Ecology Action. Ecology Action, a California-based non-profit, is a leading provider of innovative marketing and engagement programs that overcome barriers to reducing energy use and achieving environmental sustainability. Joel co-founded Independent Energy Systems, one of the top solar companies in Ca, that is now part of Real Goods Solar. During his 9 years in the solar industry, he had a hand in almost every aspect of solar, from his work as a NABCEP certified installer to his extensive experience in sales, business development and marketing. He has a broad background in energy efficiency for residential clients including solar thermal, passive solar, and green building. He served on the Leadership Committee of the U.S. Green Building Council for the Monterey Branch and continues to educate his community about the need to be more efficient with our resources. He is passionate about helping his country reduce its fossil fuel based energy use and reduce our personal energy consumption. And yes, he has solar on his house.
David Arkin AIA, has taught and lectured on the subject of sustainable design for over fifteen years. He and his wife Anni Tilt are the principals of Arkin Tilt Architects, a firm specializing in energy and resource efficient design.David and Anni are founding members of the California Straw Building Association (CASBA). He is past-President of Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR). A licensed architect, he spent four years as project architect and planner with Van der Ryn Architectsmost notably on the Real Goods Solar Living Centerand apprenticed with Obie Bowman at Sea Ranch. David and Anni live with their two children in a 100 year old solar and wind-powered home in Albany, CA, where he currently serves as a planning and zoning commissioner.
After 12 years of electrical contracting work, Jeff Oldham worked 18 years for Real Goods as lead tech and manager and has owned his own Solar Contracting business, Regenerative SOLutions, for the last 4 years. He has been living off-grid with solar and hydro power for over 30 years. In 1993 he was selected as one of the coordinators of the Dream Team for The Greening of The White House project, and was responsible for Plugloads/Equipment and Renewables. He has taught classes in all aspects of sustainable development and RE. Currently, his work is 60% off-grid and 40% grid-connected with about half of it international, primarily in Latin America.
Oliver is Principal and Founder of The CONSILIO Group, a Washington DC based government relations firm. He has close relationships with top officials in the U.S. Congress, Department of Energy, Department of Defense and the Obama Administration. Specifically he works with the United States Senate (Senators and Senate Committees such as Appropriations, Armed Services, Energy & Natural Resources, Environment & Public Works, Commerce), the United States House of Representatives (House Members and House Committees such as Appropriations, Armed Services, Energy & Commerce, Science & Technology), The White House (the President, Council on Environmental Quality), and with appointed officials and others at the Pentagon, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of the Interior and others. Oliver specializes in U.S. Government funding and legislative support for technology related companies. He sits on the board of directors for the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, California. Oliver Meissner co-founded laser optics company Onyx Optics, Inc. in 1992 and served from 1995 to 2005 as its CEO. At Onyx he developed the market for the companys proprietary adhesive-free bond crystal based optical components, primarily for high power solid-state lasers. Oliver fostered relationships with as well as with members of Congress, enabling multiple multi-million dollar direct contracts. Oliver is author or co-author on a number of awarded and pending patents, primarily in the optics field. He has a Bachelor of Arts - Music degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Owner, Donald Aitken Associates
Ed Begley, Jr.
Actor; Environmental Media
Association Board Member
Founder & Director, Post Carbon Institute
Executive Editor, GlobalPublicMedia.com
Author, High Noon for Natural Gas
Executive Director, Co-op America
Vice President of Sales at Real Goods Solar
Center for Resource Solutions
Owner, Donald Aitken Associates
Board President, Rainforest Action Network
New College of California at Santa Rosa
Author, The Party's Over and Powerdown
Executive Director, California SEIA
Robert W. Shaw, Jr.
President, Aretê Corporation
President, The Stella Group Ltd.
Executive Director, Solar Energy Int'l.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and President of Waterkeeper Alliance