Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus, Director
Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus is the director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). SETO has an annual budget of $280 million to support early-stage research and development projects to advance photovoltaic and concentrating solar-thermal power technology, improve solar’s ability to support the reliability and resilience of the electric grid, and provide technical information to support decision-makers. Dr. Jones-Albertus also works with DOE leadership on key cross-cutting issues such as grid modernization, systems integration, and workforce training.
Dr. Jones-Albertus has spent her career advancing solar technology, from fundamental research and development to manufacturing. Her research roles have spanned academia, industry, and the national labs. She has been at SETO since 2013, serving first as the photovoltaics program manager and then as SETO’s deputy director. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Jones-Albertus worked at Solar Junction, where she led efforts to develop solar cells that twice achieved world-record efficiencies, and then transitioned the technology to manufacturing.
Dr. Jones-Albertus graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a B.S. in electrical engineering and holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she co-founded an organization dedicated to improving environmental sustainability on campus. She has more than 10 patents and 40 technical publications.
Garrett Nilsen, Deputy Director
Garrett Nilsen is the deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, which advances research and development in solar energy technologies. Garrett has managed over a hundred research and development projects covering all technology spaces in the office. Multiple technologies from projects he managed are now actively used in the solar energy industry. In addition, Garrett has been involved in the development of prize programming, technical assistance efforts, and data analysis. Garrett specializes in the transition of research and knowledge to stakeholders across the solar energy industry.
Garrett joined the office in 2012, and has had led both the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team and the Balance of Systems Soft Costs team. He has worked with businesses of all sizes focusing on the development of innovative products and manufacturing technologies to help drive down costs and increase the deployment of solar energy. He has helped innovators in the solar energy space de-risk their research, products and processes to make them attractive to private investment along with helping them access the resources and develop the skills needed to make an impact on solar energy.
He has also worked on the other side of government contracting—from 2007-2009, he worked as an optical engineer for Technologies Solutions and Invention, a small business in Connecticut that was an awardee on government contracts to develop optics-based devices for various government customers.
Garrett has a B.S. in physics from Union College in New York and an M.S. in solar energy engineering from Hogskolan Dalarna (Dalarna University) in Sweden.
Michele Boyd, Strategic Analysis and Institutional Support Program Manager
Michele Boyd is the program manager of the soft costs/balance of systems team in the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). The team supports the development of analysis, tools, and data resources to reduce the non-hardware (soft costs) of solar energy and accelerates learning through technical assistance programs and national partnerships. Michele joined SETO in April 2016 as a technology manager on both the soft costs and the technology to market teams. Previously, Michele was the government relations manager at Abengoa Solar, where she developed and implemented strategies to advance effective financing, siting, and transmission policies for solar. Prior to her work on solar, Michele focused on environmental and policy issues related to nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and nuclear waste at Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, and the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
Michele has two Bachelors of Science degrees in biology and environmental science from Purdue University and a Master’s of Science in environmental policy from the University of Michigan.
Ebony Brooks, Operations Supervisor
Ebony Brooks is the operations supervisor for the Solar Energy Technologies Office, a position that she has held since March 2014. Prior to joining SETO, Ebony served as a lead budget analyst managing the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs portfolio. Ebony began her federal service in 1999 in the Office of Science and went on to manage the Office of Science's internship and fellowship programs within the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists. She was selected to join the first Assistant Management Board, which recognized rising talent within the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Ebony holds two bachelor's degrees – one in economics and another in government and politics – from the University of Maryland-College Park, as well as a master's degree in organization management from Trinity University, Washington, DC.
Victor Kane, Acting Manufacturing and Competitiveness Program Manager
Victor Kane is the acting program manager for the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Manufacturing and Competitiveness team, having spent the previous three years helping establish the American-Made Challenges Solar Prize and the American-Made Network. Victor’s work has focused on helping solar innovators make their products and processes more attractive to private investors, as well as gain the resources and develop the skills needed to succeed through commercialization. Victor and the Manufacturing and Competitiveness team assist businesses of all sizes with their U.S.-manufactured technologies and innovation in order to help drive down costs and increase the deployment of solar energy on the nation’s grid.
Victor joined the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) in 2010 and led the expansion of the SETO Incubator program over 11 rounds of funding. Under his leadership, the incubator model was implemented across all solar technologies from research to deployment, resulting in awardees who have consistently leveraged their proofs of concept into private investment and eventual commercialization. Previously, Victor served as EERE’s Director of National Lab Impact, managing the Lab-corps, Small Business Voucher, and Lab-Bridge programs. Lab Impact emphasizes the importance of commercializing lab work by bringing together leaders from government, academia, national laboratories, and the private sector to increase understanding and communication for an effective lab-industry relationship.
Prior to joining EERE, Victor worked at General Electric and solar cell startup Suniva. He earned a Bachelor and a Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering and Master of Business Administration from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Avi Shultz, Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Program Manager
Dr. Avi Shultz is the program manager for concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), which supports research, development, and demonstration of solar-thermal components and systems that can enable wide-spread deployment of low-cost CSP with thermal energy storage. Dr. Shultz has been with SETO since 2013, where he started as a science and technology policy fellow, supporting the CSP program on a wide variety of topics.
Prior to joining SETO, Dr. Shultz was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam, after getting his Bachelors and Doctoral degrees in Chemistry, from Columbia University and Northwestern University, respectively.
Dr. Lenny Tinker, Photovoltaics Program Manager
Dr. Lenny Tinker is the program manager for the photovoltaics team. He has been at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) since September 2011 and started as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow on the Photovoltaics team working on Incubator Round 6. He now manages early-stage applied research and development programs at national labs, universities, and companies to develop advanced photovoltaic systems. Dr. Tinker is also the SETO representative on the IEA PVPS Executive Committee.
Prior to his position in the Energy Department, Dr. Tinker was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, where he designed inorganic complexes to be used in organic light emitting diodes and to promote triplet-triplet upconversion processes. Dr. Tinker obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and a B.S. from Beloit College. His Ph.D. research focused on visible light-induced water reduction using iridium (III) chromophores and colloidal catalysts to produce a portable fuel using sunlight.
Dr. Elaine Ulrich, Senior Advisor
Dr. Elaine Ulrich is a Senior Advisor for strategy in the solar office at the U.S. Department of Energy. She formerly led the balance of systems/soft costs team that works to reduce the non-hardware (soft costs) of solar and lower barriers to U.S. solar adoption. She recently served as a Senior Advisor for Energy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
A former American Physical Society/American Association for the Advancement of Science policy fellow and IREC “Energy Hero”, Elaine has spent the past several years working on renewable energy. She previously held positions in the office of former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, the Energy Department’s Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis, and in the office of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, where she worked to build a comprehensive solar energy portfolio.
Elaine holds a B.A. in physics from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in optical science from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Guohui Yuan, Systems Integration Program Manager
Dr. Guohui Yuan is the program manager for the systems integration (SI) subprogram. His team supports research, development, and demonstration of technologies and solutions to enable the widespread deployment of solar energy on the nation’s electricity grid.
Dr. Yuan has been supporting SETO as a technical advisor since 2011. Previously, he held several key positions at industry-leading clean technology startups, including CURRENT Group, GridPoint, and WaveCrest Labs. Early in his career, he worked at COMSAT Labs as a systems scientist. He is a recognized thought leader and has many technical publications. He holds nine patents.
Dr. Yuan holds a B.S. degree from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, both in physics.