A strong trajectory for growth, our US development team’s story

The development team is responsible for the earliest stages of a project’s life, taking the lead from project origination or acquisition, through construction kick-off. In the United States, team members work on-the-ground in project localities to form meaningful relationships with a variety of people in the community, all while navigating land acquisition, permitting and other technical requirements for utility-scale solar development. Our development staff comes from a wide range of backgrounds—engineering, local government, the non-profit sector and more—lending a diverse range of skillsets and knowledge bases to their work. 

As Lightsource bp responds to the urgent need to decarbonize the energy sector, our US pipeline has expanded dramatically. The development team has had to grow quickly to keep pace. In 2019, Lightsource bp had fewer than 10 development team members in the United States. Today, we have more than 30, with many more hires planned for 2022 and beyond.  

Keep reading to learn more about some of our development team members in the United States. 

 

Amity Lynn Balbutin-Burnham, Development Director 

Amity joined the team in 2019, with an MBA/MPH from UC Berkeley.  Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with team members, landowners and communities. Amity says she is inspired by the diverse individuals she works with who share her goal to create a more sustainable future for the energy sector.

 

 Cliff Scher, Senior Development Director 

Cliff earned an undergraduate degree in biological anthropology before pursuing an MBA with a focus on engineering management. He has been developing renewable energy projects since 2008, and enjoys the challenge of the work, as well as knowing he is making a positive impact. Cliff feels Lightsource bp has the resources, expertise and capabilities needed to make project development easier for his team, on the way to bringing 25GW of solar online globally by 2025. 

 Crystal Murad, Development Director 

Crystal was one of several new hires to the US development team in January 2022. She brings 10 years of title insurance experience to the table, as well as a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications. She says she joined Lightsource bp to be part of a fast moving and forward-thinking company. Her favorite part of the job is “bringing energy to life.” 

 

Darrin Jacobs, Development Manager 

Darrin served as county planning director for a rural community prior to joining Lightsource bp. He enjoys getting to know landowners and other residents of the communities he works in as a solar developer. He chose Lightsource bp because the company is committed to being good stewards of the land and good community partners. 

 

Diana Rivera, Development Director 

As head of greenfield development at Lightsource bp, Diana has the exciting opportunity to identify sites and develop new solar projects in collaboration with colleagues across the company. She is passionate about enacting change at scale and feels that utility-scale solar development is an important solution for moving the needle on climate crisis mitigation. Diana began her renewables career developing a 700-mile transmission line for wind energy after receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School. 

 

Elise McGrath, Development Associate 

Elise was introduced to Lightsource bp in a sustainability marketing class during her junior year at Penn State University. She began interning with the company that summer and became a full-time employee in the fall of 2021. As an intern, she says, she thoroughly enjoyed the people she worked with and loved the Lightsource bp culture. She is excited to be part of such a fast-growing team and company. 

 

Jack Steele, Project Development Manager 

Jack came to Lightsource bp from the non-profit sector, where he worked for a statewide land trust doing conservation easement work on large ranches in New Mexico.  He says solar development is not only essential to mitigating the worst of the climate crisis but creates important benefits for communities as well. He enjoys working with community members, landowners and local decision makers, and feels Lightsource bp makes a real investment in project localities. 

 

Jacqui Kitchen, Sr. Development Manager 

Prior to joining Lightsource bp, Jacqui spent 14 years working in city and county government, as a land use planner, Planning Director and Assistant City Manager. In these roles, Jacqui facilitated land use master planning, worked to create a positive team culture that supported thoughtful local development, and helped direct municipal operations for a large urban City. Empowering communities to be a part of a renewable future is one of her favorite parts of her job, and Jacqui believes Lightsource bp is committed to smart, sustainable development practices. As a Developer, she is proud to talk about the company in the communities she now works in throughout the country. 

 

Javier De La Garza, Senior Development Director 

Javier joined Lightsource bp in 2019 after over a decade in the renewables industry, attracted to the company’s culture and the people’s passion for building renewable energy projects.  He says he is proud to work on a dedicated, respectful team who work together to deliver on the company’s ambitious commitments. 

 

Krista Coyne, Development Manager – Real Estate 

Krista entered the renewable energy field after working in law enforcement for 18 years. Krista is especially proud of Bighorn Solar, which is restoring the native ecosystem and helping preserve over 1,000 steel jobs in her home state of Colorado. To her, the project shows that Lightsource bp “does solar differently, with integrity.” 

 

Peter Lawn, Development Manager 

Prior to entering the renewables field, Peter worked at an NGO focused on building access to clean water and sanitation in Africa and Central America. He has since worked in solar for over a decade, enjoying the strategy, creativity and problem-solving that it takes to develop a plot of land into an operational solar facility. Peter says he has learned a lot from Lightsource bp colleagues across departments and seeks to build strong relationships with his coworkers.  

 

Phillip Guerra, Land Acquisition Manager 

After graduating law school, Phillip began working for an oil and gas company in Ohio, running title and leasing land. In 2019, he transitioned to renewables, originating land for community solar projects on the east coast. He enjoys working with landowners, he says, as you never know who you are going to meet. Phillip was attracted to Lightsource bp’s culture, team, and leadership within the renewables industry. 

 

Seth Green, Senior Development Director 

Seth is an environmental engineer turned solar project developer. He really enjoys his work because of the culture and ability to collaborate with so many talented professionals. He says it is a joy to work for such a capable company that is blessed with substantial resources and driven by good intentions. Even better is that he gets to work with a lot of gifted and motivated individuals that care for one another, and he says he is grateful to be among them. 

 

Shanelle Montana, Director of Development 

With previous experience in policy consulting and the energy sector, Shanelle says she chose Lightsource bp because it’s not a “cookie cutter development shop.” She works closely with communities in the eastern United States and appreciates the company’s responsible approach to solar development. Shanelle says the company prioritizes communities’ needs in the development process, and helping create economic opportunities in rural areas is the most rewarding part of her work.  

 

Tami Clare, Director of Real Estate 

Tami joined Lightsource bp through bp’s acquisition of 7X Energy. She has previous experience with land and title insurance in the renewable energy sector. Tami says working with the landowners is her favorite part of the job.  

 

Environmental Affairs and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 

Our environmental affairs and GIS teams work adjacent to development, informing decisions about solar farm siting, permitting, design, land management and more. Follow the links below to meet these teams.  

–> Mapping the future of energy, our GIS team’s stories 

–> Pushing the boundaries, our Environmental Affairs team’s stories

 

Join our team, make a difference 

 By choosing a career at Lightsource bp, you will join a global team that truly cares about creating a more sustainable future for our world, through safe and meaningful low carbon energy projects.   

Learn more about US careers at Lightsource bp