When it comes to financing solar projects and closing deals, Megan Byrn is the one you want handling the details. As a senior manager on Standard Solar’s structured finance team, she works directly with the sales team to vet solar projects and provide detailed pricing on financial transactions throughout the United States. She conducts financial reviews for potential offtakers during the due diligence process and assists on project funding by providing support to tax equity partners as portfolios work towards closure.
Crunching the numbers on solar finance comes naturally to Byrn, whose professional and educational background is in environmental and managerial economics. After stints in the financial industry, she joined the solar sector seven years ago.
“Working in the solar industry fuels my passion for renewable energy and finance and is a great marriage of those two topics,” she says.
While she’s the only woman on a team of six, she says that there are “substantially more women in the field” than when she started in the solar industry in 2013.
Byrn sees the speed at which the industry is growing as a benefit to women looking to join the industry.
“It’s a younger industry, so we’re all learning together. Leaders in the field are open to change and incorporating new ideas,” she says, and are actively seeking ways to diversify the industry.
Standard Solar is one solar company working to prioritize diversity, by creating a Diversity and Inclusion Council, and Byrn says as the company has grown quickly, new opinions and perspectives are always welcome.
“In the solar industry, there’s a desire to have more women and promote them up the ranks,” she says.
Among her role models in the industry is Abigail Ross Hopper, the first female President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade organization for America’s solar energy industries. “It’s inspiring to see her in charge,” Byrn says.
How can the solar industry encourage more women to join? “Targeted recruitment can go a long way—there are more women getting STEM and environmental science degrees, and they should be recruited for the solar industry,” Byrn suggests.
She also offers tips for women new to the industry: “Use your voice and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” she says.
She finds that the women in the industry are a tight-knit group, and all share a motivation in an industry that’s so clearly a win-win for the environment and economic growth.
When she’s not securing the best finance deals for our clients, Byrn takes part in a book club where they only read books about women or by women, and it’s clear that supporting women inside and outside the solar industry comes easily to Byrn.
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