SEIA names Abigail Hopper as new CEO

The Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) new president and CEO Abigail "Abby" Ross Hopper, who will officially assume her duties on Jan. 17.

As pv magazine wrote about in December, Abigail “Abby” Ross Hopper is the new president and CEO of SEIA. While the appointment had been known in the industry for several weeks, SEIA only made the announcement official this morning. Here is an updated version of our original story. 

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) finally announced what the industry has known for three weeks – that Abigail “Abby” Ross Hopper will become its president and CEO, officially starting her duties next week.

Hopper, who previously served as a top energy advisor to former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and director of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), would be the first woman to head the the organization.

Hopper served as a member of Gov. O’Malley’s cabinet and as his senior staff as his senior energy advisor. In her position as the head of MEA, she oversaw a $55 million budget for an agency whose sole goal was to help the state reach its aggressive renewable energy goals.

Hopper spent much of her time as O’Malley’s advisor lobbying the Maryland legislature for such legislation as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would have changed the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS)  from 20% by 2022 to 25% by 2020.

The bill to make the change was vetoed this spring by current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, though most Maryland solar observers expect the legislature to override the veto early in the 2017 session because the bill passed with veto-proof majorities.

Hopper was also involved as a lead negotiator in two major utility mergers: Exelon/Constellation and the First Energy/Allegheny Energy. She worked closely with the state’s Public Service Commission, chaired both the state’s Grid Resiliency Task Force and the Resiliency Through Microgrids Task Force.

The position has been held by Tom Kimbis, who was named interim president in April when previous President and CEO Rhone Resch stepped down.