Two of the world’s most pressing issues today are global poverty and climate change. We are a community of idealists, unwilling to accept that one in three people lack access to modern electricity, and we believe improving the lives of those in vulnerable communities goes hand-in-hand with benefiting the environment. We aim to break the cycle of poverty by giving children access to clean, reliable, solar energy, thus providing them the resources they need to excel in school and beyond. We envision a world where every child- even in the most remote regions- has access to modern energy.
We have the technology and capacity to bring energy to communities in need and by partnering with on-the-ground organizations and equipment manufacturers, we can combine our efforts to maximize our impact. With solar, we can fight energy poverty and empower all children to create brighter futures for themselves.
Who We Are
Julie Kaszton: Founder and Executive Director
Julie first became interested in sustainability initiatives while interning at National Geographic in Washington D.C. There, she helped promote geographic literacy and was a core contributor to the My Wonderful World website, covering issues ranging from deforestation to renewable energy policy. She then worked as an Environmental Research Associate at Pacific Research Institute where she analyzed emissions data in comparison to economic indicators. After successfully developing an interactive website on complex environmental data at PRI, her interest in human rights issues led her to take a position as the Outreach Coordinator and Associate Researcher at Not For Sale, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit. There, she helped develop and grow a consumer-facing tool, consisting of a mobile application and interactive website called Free2Work, which assesses companies on their procedures to prevent forced and child labor in their supply chains.
Julie has a BA in International Affairs and Spanish and also spent time studying abroad in Madrid and Shanghai. Julie enjoys action-sports adventures, DJing, and clean energy solutions.
Peter Hennessy: Chief Strategy Officer
Peter co-founded White River Solar in July, 2010. He was previously at SunPower, where he worked on dozens of projects across all stages of development, including the California Valley Solar Ranch, a 250MW project now owned by NRG. Prior to SunPower, Peter worked with First Wind, Citi Alternative Investment’s Sustainable Development Investments, and with US Renewables Group. Peter was previously at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on the open market operations and foreign exchange desks. After college he worked on a small family owned and operated dairy farm in Vermont.
Peter has a BA in Economics with High Honors from Middlebury College, an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and an MBA from The Wharton School. He enjoys backcountry skiing and is an Eagle Scout.
Paul Huelskamp: Vice President
Paul has extensive experience in the solar energy industry. He is currently a managing member of White River Solar, LLC, a utility-scale solar development company based in California. Prior to founding WRS, Paul worked at SunPower Corporation, where he focused on the development and finance of utility-scale solar power plants in North America. During such time, he supported all stages of development with the Utilities and Power Plants group at SunPower for a portfolio totaling over 2,000MW. Prior to SunPower, Paul worked at The Praedium Group, an opportunistic real estate private equity firm based in New York City.
Paul has a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College, where he played varsity baseball with his twin brother and was twice selected to the First Team All-Ivy in rugby.
Matthew S. Luskin: Advisory Board Member
Matt is a conservation biologist and rural development economist specializing on environmental issues in tropical developing countries. Matthew is currentlyfinishing his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. His research program at Berkeley examines the impacts of biofuel production on biodiversity and human livelihoods in Malaysia and Indonesia and is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP). Matthew has published numerous articles in scientific journals and he has given lectures both domestically and internationally. In addition to years of fieldwork in Asia and the Pacific, Matthew’s on-the-ground experience encompasses nearly forty countries through Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America.