Michael Kuhn is Founder and CEO of ImagineSolar. ImagineSolar is accelerating the transformation of the clean energy industry through training and workforce development, advocacy and public policy, and subject matter expertise.
ImagineSolar is the first licensed seminar school in Texas focused on the solar and smart grid industries.
As a City of Austin commissioner, Mr. Kuhn successfully advocated for the first major solar energy incentive program in Texas. His work has included projects for the Department of Energy Solar America Cities program, the Value of Solar Study for Austin Energy, the University of Texas, the Department of Labor Energy Training Partnership program, and consulting for several clean energy ventures.
Mr. Kuhn holds a Master of Science in Management of Technology from Washington University (Department of Engineering and Policy) and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas. He is an accredited ISPQ Master Trainer for solar photovoltaics.
Public Policy and Thought Leadership Activities
• Invited pre-viewer of Austin Energy’s Long Term Comprehensive Energy Plan.
• Invited panelist on Austin’s potential for Clean Energy Economic Development with Austin’s Mayor, Chamber of Commerce President, and other industry leaders.
• Invited participant for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Distributed Energy Workshop, Austin, TX, 2002.
• Member, Resource Management Commission (RMC), City of Austin; appointed by the Mayor Pro-Tem of Austin; 1998 – 2005. The RMC consults for the Mayor and the City Council on public policy for advanced energy technologies, renewable energy sources, green building, clean energy economic development, and energy and water conservation. Under my leadership, the RMC brought to council the next-generation of incentives and policies for renewable energy, for commercial, residential, and utility sectors. My resolutions included a new aggressive renewable energy portfolio, specific goals for solar electric power in the city’s 5-year plan, and a new solar rebate program – the first in Texas – which also required certified installers to do the work. Introduced strategic planning, team-building, and effectiveness processes (PR, cable-casting of meetings) to the RMC.
• Steering Committee, Austin Clean Energy Initiative (ACE); 2002 – 2006. The ACE initiative was a public education and advocacy organization promoting the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy with the goal of establishing Central Texas as an international hub for the clean energy industry. I was responsible for strategy, policy advocacy, and relations with government agencies. We disbanded the ACE Initiative once the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce decided to add the Clean Energy industry to their list of focused industry sectors relevant to Central Texas.
Non-Profit Board and Committee Membership
• Serves on the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Institute of Sustainable Power Quality (ISPQ) Advisory Board, 2010 – Current; 2012 marks IREC’s 30th year as a leader in the renewable energy community, known for connecting people, ideas and technology to produce measurable results. IREC, a non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status, has worked with industry, government, educators and other stakeholders to ensure that the broader use of renewable energies is possible, safe, affordable and practical for us all.
• Advisor, Solar Decathlon, University of Texas, 2006.
• North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic (PV) Job Task Analysis Review Committee, Feb 2011 – Current. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the “gold standard” for PV and solar heating installation certification. Designed to raise industry standards and promote consumer confidence, NABCEP offers certification and certificate programs to renewable energy professionals throughout North America.
• Solar Austin, Steering Committee then Board of Directors, Austin, Texas, 2004 – 2011. Solar Austin is a non-profit organization working to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy, building healthy communities, strong economies, and energy independence.
• Austin Local Solar Advisory Committee, 2012 – Current; Created by the Austin City Council in April 2012;
• Top Paper Award, for a paper devising a forecasting approach both quantitative and qualitative for exploring new markets and setting group strategy, “A Strategic Framework for Forecasting and Creating Future Markets,” Michael Kuhn, Motorola System Symposium ’99.
• Essay Winner, NCR National Stakeholder Essay Competition, Michael Kuhn, 1988.
• Opportunity on the Horizon: Photovoltaics in Texas, IC2 Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, June 2007.
• The Value of Distributed Photovoltaics to Austin Energy and the City of Austin, Clean Power Research: Thomas E. Hoff, Richard Perez, Gerry Braun, Michael Kuhn, and Benjamin Norris. March 2006.
• IREC Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference, “Building a Workforce Training Ecosystem for Customer Success,” March 2011.
• Solar Austin Panel Discussion, “Austin’s Place in the Solar Universe: The Benefits for Austin,” February 2011.
• Texas Workforce Commission – Annual Workforce Conference, “Comprehensive National Electrician Solar Training”, November 2010.
• Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, Annual Conference, “Renewables Education & Workforce Development: Creating the Supply,” November 2010.
• Solar Energy Entrepreneurs’ Network, “Perspectives on Solar Power International 2009,” November 2009.
• Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International Annual Outlook, “Outlook for Photovoltaics: Market and Technology,” November 2008.
• Solar Power International 2008, Annual Conference, “Accelerating Solar on a Local Level,” October 2008.
• Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, Annual Conference, panel moderator for “Rural and Urban Opportunities for Solar Electricity and Storage Solutions” and presenter for “Solar PV Electricity: Opportunity and Value,” November 2007.
• Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International Annual Outlook, “The Photovoltaics Industry: Innovation, Supply Growth, Cost Reduction, Global Demand,” June 2007.
• University of Texas, Workshop on Renewable Energy, “Solar Innovation: Technology, Market, and Value,” October 2006.
• City of Austin, Resource Management Commission, “Perspectives on Solar Energy Distributed Generation: The Excellence, the Promise, the Hope”, June 2006.
• World Energy Engineering Conference (WEEC), “Distributed Generation: the True Value of Solar,” 2005.
• 1st Texas Clean Energy Congress, “Catalyzing the Rapid Growth of Solar”, November 2004.
• Austin Clean Energy Initiative Event, “Clean Energy Economic Development,” April 2004.
• University of Texas School of Architectural Engineering, “Building-Integrated Photovoltaics,” March 2004.
• City of Austin, Town Hall Meeting, “Austin Energy’s Strategic Plan,” November 2003.
• The Futures Lab, Frontline Panel, “The Future of Wireless Communications,” 2003.
• The Futures Lab, Frontline Panel, “The Future of Clean Energy,” 2003.
• Solar Electric Power Association Annual Conference, The Photovoltaic Experience, UPEx ’02, “Demand Creation for Renewables through Focused Market Programs,” November 2002.
• Austin City Council Work Session, “RMC Update: Charter, Accomplishments, Goals, and Recommendations,” October 2002.
• City Hall, City of Austin, “Clean Energy: Market Dynamics, Technology Trends, Public Policy,” September 2002.
Industry Collaboration and Affiliations
• Continuing work with members of the following organizations and other thought leaders on strategy to accelerate the solar industry worldwide (private “Solar Circle” retreats twice a year):
SunPower, UC Davis Energy Institute, Solgenix, NREL, Solaria, Acore, Nth Power, Johnson Controls, SELCO Solar Light (P) Ltd., Soluz, Bullitt Foundation, Apollo Alliance, The Solar Alliance, Solaria, Sungevity, Solar Century, Environmental Law & Policy Center, The Energy Foundation, GE Energy, Solar Design Associates, Winrock International, Renewable Energy Access, Arete Corporation;
• Professional memberships include the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the American Solar Energy Society, the Texas Solar Energy Society, and the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA);
• IBEW, NJATC, NECA, training centers in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona;
• Texas Workforce Commission, Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Workforce Solutions San Antonio; Austin Community College, Austin Independent School District;
• Worked with new ventures and organizations in the clean energy industry including the following:
HelioVolt: served on advisory board for 4 years; Texas;
Atonometrics: assisted with initial startup, this venture was formed in 2007 to develop test and measurement technology for the solar photovoltaics industry. They offer unique equipment for PV module reliability testing in high-volume manufacturing environments and are seeking to raise the bar for PV module certification requirements; Texas;
Texas Foundation for Innovative Communities: created initial study for a clean energy technology park; served on first board of directors; Texas;
Prime Energy, Inc., (business plan for small wind turbines); Nevada;
• ImagineSolar has trained the founders or employees of over 170 new solar ventures, electrical contractors, and corporations; See list of clientele.