The unique and dedicated team of people who work at Sol Systems have been a key part of our success over the past eight years. With a growing staff of over 60 full-time employees, in offices at Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the driven, talented group of industry professionals have created resourceful financing mechanisms for the solar industry and thousands of individual projects. Every month, we give you an inside look at some of the incredible work our team members have been doing. This time, we are featuring Associate Counsel Senayt Rahwa, to hear about her experiences and opportunities at Sol Systems.
1. Why did you choose to pursue a career centered around solar energy?
During law school I took several climate change and environmental law classes which were just more interesting to me than the other courses I was taking at the time. My particular focus was environmental law from a social justice perspective – the intersection between community development and renewables became an area I really enjoyed and I felt compelled to pursue after graduation.
2. What work were you doing before coming to Sol Systems?
After law school, I worked at a law firm here in D.C. in the tax credit finance and syndication group for several years. My practice there was really a hybrid of real estate, debt financing and tax equity work with both New Markets Tax Credit and Solar Investment Tax Credit projects. I was able to work on a variety of projects including representing institutional investors financing large commercial solar projects to construction of new charter schools in low income communities.
3. What made you want to start a career at Sol Systems?
I met Yuri and Leslie at an Energy Bar Association event and was really drawn both to the company’s mission as well as Sol Systems dynamic and unique company culture. Hearing of the history of the company and what it has grown to become was motivating and made me want to get involved with this team.
4. Since starting at Sol Systems, how have you found in-house counsel differs from your earlier work experience at a larger firm?
At a large firm, you are working with multiple clients all of whom have differing business models and objectives, so getting to know those clients really well is more challenging. Working in-house has been different because my only client is Sol Systems and I’m deeply embedded in the company’s mission, purpose, goals, and work. The nature of the work is also such that I am charged with providing legal guidance with commercial insights rather than only identifying risks and deferring to the client’s tolerance for such risks.
5. Since joining Sol Systems, what has been your favorite part about working here?
Sol Systems is very dynamic – each day here is different and poses new, interesting challenges and watching how our team comes together to face those is cool. I appreciate how decisions are made intentionally, people are very collaborative, and there are is comradery amongst the team that encourages everyone to support one another.
6. What are the key facets of renewable and solar deals are you providing legal aid and counsel for?
There are a ton of projects out there, but we help evaluate if those projects are actually financeable for the investors who are putting money into a deal. We work to bring the investor perspective to bear on the development side that is focusing on the on-the-ground realities of the project.
7. Outside of Sol Systems, what do you do with your free time?
I like hiking and kayaking – and just being outdoors in general. I love spending time with family and friends both here in the DMV and back in Colorado. And at the moment, I am enjoying getting ready for a new addition to our family due in December!
Want to be a part of the Sol Systems team too? To learn more about available solar energy careers with Sol Systems, please visit our careers page.
ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS
Sol Systems, a national solar finance and development firm, delivers sophisticated, customized services for institutional, corporate, and municipal customers. Sol is employee-owned, and has been profitable since inception in 2008. Sol is backed by Sempra Energy, a $25+ billion energy company.
Over the last eight years, Sol Systems has delivered more than 500 MW of solar projects for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, universities, churches, and small businesses. Sol now manages over $650 million in solar energy assets for utilities, banks, and Fortune 500 companies.
Inc. 5000 recognized Sol Systems in its annual list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for four consecutive years. For more information, please visit www.solsystems.com.