When an unprecedented heat wave struck California in September, demand for electricity hit an all-time high of 52,061 megawatts, prompting an emergency alert on the risk of outages and the need to conserve power.

The month marked the longest and warmest for the state and other parts of the West, breaking more than 1,000 records in a span of a week.

Amid the disarray, one chief executive was busy delivering solar power to the state. Over eight days, Sunrun, a provider of battery storage and the country’s largest rooftop solar installer, cumulatively delivered more than 1 gigawatt-hour of energy back to California’s grid, helping prevent blackouts.

“This year really put a spotlight on the value our systems can provide to customers, communities, and utilities, and we expect the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act to turbocharge our efforts for many years to come,” said Mary Powell, Sunrun’s CEO.

Powell is among the 44 CEOs who ranked No. 1 within their sector in Institutional Investor’s 2023 All-American Executive Team. She joined the company last year after 21 years with Green Mountain Power, a Vermont utility.

“When I was approached by Sunrun to consider being CEO they had me at hello,” said Powell. “After more than a decade leading radical adoption of distributed energy resources from a utility grid perspective, and being recognized for how innovative and ‘fast’ we were, I had become worn down by how slow ‘fast’ is in the regulated utility world. I felt passionate that I must find a way to have a more direct impact on accelerating the customer-led revolution to a more affordable cleaner way to generate, use, and store energy.”

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