About Solar United Neighbors of Ohio

Ohio has long been at the intersection of the world’s energy and manufacturing industries. The world economy is changing and Ohio is changing with it. Solar is creating new local opportunities for wealth creation and new jobs. The sun shines bright on the future of solar in Ohio.

Our vision

We envision a clean, equitable energy system that directs control and benefits back to local communities, with solar on every roof and money in every pocket.

Our mission

We’re a community of people building a new energy system and rooftop solar is the cornerstone. We help people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights.

Our partners

We work with amazing partners to spread the solar word. Our partner organizations range from nonprofits to municipal governments, universities to community organizations, and individual “super volunteers” to houses of worship.

Some of our awesome partners in Ohio over the last few years have included:

Ohio advisory board

Our Ohio advisory board provides strategic guidance to our work. Members do not have fiduciary oversight but provide strategic direction to the program. They are members of successful solar co-ops, solar champions, and leaders in the community.

Cathy headshot Cathy Cowan Baker

Cathy chairs the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 program in the city of Columbus and the state of Ohio. So far, 162 American cities, including Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Lakewood in Ohio, have committed to 100% renewable energy.Cathy leads the campaign in Columbus as well as a statewide group supporting Ready for 100 efforts in Dayton, Toledo, and more. She is a trained Climate Reality leader (Iowa 2015, Denver 2017, Atlanta 2019), works with the Sunrise Movement, and started the Columbus chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.

In her professional life, Cathy has a 25-year career in journalism, communications, and public relations. She recently earned a dual Master’s degree in Public Administration and Environment & Natural Resources from The Ohio State University.

David headshot David Carpenter

David is a former research engineer and high school physics teacher who promotes solar energy. David has given numerous presentations and solar tour open houses for Green Energy Ohio and the American Solar Energy Society. He also developed and taught a high school unit on climate change. He was the organizer of the Delaware County Solar Co-op.

David’s solar array on the roof of his home produces all of the electricity used by his household. It was installed 11 ½ years ago, and has been dependable and maintenance free. He has had some grid-tied photovoltaic solar for 17 years.David has a B.S. in physics and an M.A in math & physics education. He also got ETA training in solar installation.

Yvonka headshot Yvonka Marie Hall

Yvonka received a Master of Public Administration from Texas Southern University and a Bachelor of Arts from Notre Dame College. She is a proud graduate of John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 2019 inductee into its Alumni Hall of Fame. The 1974 murder of her mother, Yvonne Boston Hall, dramatically changed Yvonka’s life: Her childhood promise to use her life to help others has led to the creation of cutting-edge programs and impacted thousands of people’s lives.

Ms. Hall is a published author lending her story “The Making of a Public Health Emergency” to the book Not Far From Me: Stories of Opioids. She is a mother, grandmother, and impassioned activist deeply involved in social justice activities both locally and nationally. She is a nationally recognized, Congressional award-winning expert in health disparities. Her strength and tenacity will save many children from the lifelong impacts of lead poisoning. She speaks all over the country about effectively engaging the African American community and the art of community engagement. She is an activist, leader, influencer, speaker, researcher, and philanthropist.

Phillip headshot Philip Leppla

Philip is an associate at Leppla Associates, Ltd., and a native of the Dayton area. Philip earned a B.A., cum laude, in 2008 from The Ohio State University and a J.D., cum laude, in 2012 from Capital University Law School.Philip is a member of the Dayton Bar Association, Miami Valley Trial Lawyers, Ohio Association for Justice, a City of Dayton Landmarks Commission member, and president of the McPherson Town Historical Society. At Leppla Associates, Ltd., a general practice, family firm, his primary focus is civil litigation.

Philip is a proud downtown Dayton resident, along with his wife, Heather. He enjoys hiking in Yellow Springs on the weekend and going to concerts. Philip owns an electric car and will soon be powering it with solar. His home will soon go solar as part of the Dayton Area Solar Co-op.

Eugene Matthews

Eugene served over twenty years as a facilities director at Oberlin College and Case Western University and is a Certified Energy Manager (retired status). Prior to that Eugene spent many years as a Journeyman Electrician. He serves on the board of several local organizations working on expanding solar and energy efficiency, including Oberlin Peoples Energy Coalition.

Eugene went solar as part of SUN’s Lorain County Solar Co-op. Before adding solar to his own home, he helped expand solar at Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve University during his tenure at each institution.


Gillbert headshot Gilbert Michaud

Gilbert is an Assistant Professor of Practice at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. There, he teaches courses in the Master of Public Administration program and conducts solar energy research with the Consortium for Energy, Economics & the Environment. Dr. Michaud’s work focuses on state- and local-level policies to encourage solar energy, ‘value of solar’ methodologies, and community solar programs. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Contact the Ohio team