Solunesco develops renewable energy projects, leveraging local knowledge and local boots on the ground.  We coordinate a diverse group of stakeholders, including:

  • connecting rural landowners with new revenue opportunities through sustainable, cost competitive energy generation, and

  • working with the community to ensure responsible development.

SolUnesco was founded in 2015 by Francis Hodsoll and Jon Hillis based on four plus decades of utility plant management, energy project development, construction experience, and corporate leadership. Prior to forming SolUnesco, they had already delivered over 1GW of power generation projects. They have also led solar policy and legislative efforts in the mid-Atlantic for the last five years. SolUnesco develops clean energy projects utilizing our market and full value chain expertise, energy regulatory experience, project development skills and general management experience.

At SolUnesco, we conduct ourselves based on the following values:
Trust: Our business relies on our reputation, built on fairness and transparency.
Passion: We believe our projects contribute to a more sustainable future and are determined to achieve their success.
Creativity: Every project is unique and will require a different path to success.
Community: We are the guests of any community we build in. We respect local interests and character.
Expertise: We offer knowledge and experience in highly complex and heavily regulated markets

Sharing Our Success

When SolUnesco proposes a solar project in a new community, we try to find ways to embrace the community, including offering our assistance to local organizations. To accomplish this goal, we have formed the SolUnesco Charitable Giving Program, through which we give back to the communities in which we operate.

We seek opportunities to share our success in communities where we do business and with organizations一either local bodies or branches of larger organizations一that are servicing local constituents through their programs. We welcome partnerships with those organizations that demonstrate a philosophy that is consistent with SolUnesco’s core values of trust, passion, creativity, community, and expertise.

Read more about our charitable giving projects below.

Sustaining Communities

  • Locust Grove Middle School in Locust Grove, VA: In support of Locust Grove Middle School’s STEM Camp, SolUnesco has offered a gift of a Solar4STEM 200 Solar Electric Energy Trainer kit, in addition to funding towards books related to sustainable energy, notebooks, and other materials.

  • Seneca Ridge Middle School in Sterling, VA: SolUnesco partners with Seneca Ridge Middle School and other businesses and members of the Northern Virginia community. We give to Seneca Ridge not only with monetary donations, but also in a variety of ways, including donating time, equipment, specialized training, and service.

  • South Central Red, White and Blue Music Festival in Chase City, VA

  • Peanut Festival in Emporia, VA

  • The Brink Ruritan Club in Emporia, VA

  • Meals on Wheels in Charlotte County, VA

  • Tin Cup Fund in Loudoun County, VA

  • Christmas Parents in Charlotte County, VA

  • Department of Social Services in Charlotte County, VA: SolUnesco contributed $5,000 to assist in the emergency response after one of the worst ice storms in recorded history.

  • Dominion Golf Classic 2021 & 2022 in Loudoun County, VA

  • Charlotte County Dixie Youth baseball team

  • Charlotte County Dixie Darlings softball team

  • Charlotte County Dixie Boys baseball team

  • Provided grants under the Red Brick grant program: Town of Kenbridge and Lunenburg Lightning Youth Football League, Lunenburg County Youth Baseball League


Meet Our Team

Francis Hodsoll
Francis HodsollCEO and Co-founder
Francis leads strategy, business development, policy, human resources and community engagement. He works with our team to gather and analyze market intelligence to navigate a highly competitive industry, applying his expertise in energy wholesale markets, policy, land use, strategy, finance, and performance management. Additionally, Francis focuses on staff development to continuously improve team skills and abilities.

Francis’ previous positions and memberships include: the MD-DC- VA Solar Energy Industry Association, Chair of the Energy Workgroup for Governor McAuliffe’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, Member of Governor McAuliffe’s Energy Committee, and Founder of the Virginia Advanced Energy Industries Association.

Francis holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a BA in Economics from Colby College. He stays active in the community and his children’s activities by coaching youth football, basketball, and soccer, and serving as a school PTO member.

Nia Copeland
Nia CopelandContracts Compliance Officer and Paralegal
Nia ensures that our team and counterparties comply with the terms of our real estate agreements. She project manages the execution of new arrangements while tracking and monitoring existing contracts. She corresponds and coordinates with landowners and outside council. She also manages a database of real estate agreements and ensures the proper filing of all legal agreements and documentation.

Nia has experience in Property Law doing conveyancing and compliance related matters, as well as a Corporate Paralegal formulating and dissolving corporate entities. She holds a law degree from the University of East Anglia and a foundation degree in Law and Humanities.

A few of her favorite things are reading, travelling and spending time with friends and family.

Vanessa Hampden
Vanessa HampdenMarket & Financial Analysis Manager
Vanessa leads cash flow management, project costs & revenue tracking, trend analysis, budget vs. actual analysis, COGS & balance sheet oversight, process improvement and automation of processes with UiPath.
Vanessa held previous positions in various industries such as investment banking, healthcare, government contracting and legal. Vanessa holds an MS in Accounting with a concentration in taxation and a BS in Accounting with a minor in theology from St. John’s University.
A few of her favorite things are spending time with friends and family outdoors, exploring new places, listening to her son play guitar, piano and watching him coding games which they then play together!
Melody S. Gee
Melody S. GeeCommunications Manager
Melody creates and manages content and communications strategies for social media, local press, blogs, the SolUnesco website, the SolUnesco Foundation, and the South-Central Virginia Business Alliance. She enjoys communicating with solar project stakeholders and community members to promote the benefits and safety of solar.

Melody is an experienced strategist and writer for multiple industries, including law, tech, HR, education, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She is a former college English professor and holds an MA in English from the University of New Mexico and a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, being an active member of her parish, and publishing creative writing.

Lea Maamari
Lea MaamariResearch & Marketing Senior Associate
Lea leads research and analysis in support of project development. She executes research assignments and reports, while maintaining data on county ordinances and solar project permit provisions. She is also point on marketing initiatives such as social media, campaigns, website maintenance, community meetings, and more. She holds a BS in Environmental Policy and Planning from Virginia Tech. In her free time, Lea enjoys yelling at the TV during football and basketball season to make sure the Hokies are winning.
Lauren McCarty
Lauren McCartyProject Developer
Lauren represents and advances individual projects through various stages of development, including site acquisition, early stage engineering, local permitting, and environmental permitting. She performs critical policy, technology, and environmental research, and prepares and presents permit applications at hearings and meetings. Lauren joins us after having previously served as SolUnesco’s Southern Virginia local rep and as a US Navy Administrator. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys being a beach bum, painting, and going to local concerts.
Seth Maughan
Seth MaughanDirector of Project Development
Seth leads engagement with landowners during site procurement and manages relationships with government agencies, utilities, and vendors regarding permitting, interconnection, and site work. Prior to working in solar energy, Seth spent several years in the Canadian oil and gas industry. He holds an MS in Energy Policy and Climate Science from Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Geology from Western Washington University. In his free time, Seth enjoys struggling to keep his bonsai plants alive and (slowly) developing his ukulele skills.
Susan Posey
Susan PoseyDirector of Administration
Susan Posey is the lead for all administrative duties at SolUnesco, and also provides executive support. Prior to starting at SolUnesco, she had successful careers in retail management, and C-suite level executive support. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, backpacking, cave exploring, and catering to every whim of her two cats, Maggie and Frank.