Meet a Solar Ready Vets Fellow: Jim Purekal
IREC leads the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program. Offered at no cost, the fellowship matches solar industry employers with service members who are in transition from the military to the civilian workforce.
Jim Purekal: Manager, Market Development and Policy
Jim launched his solar career as a Solar Ready Vets Fellow at SunPower Corporation in August 2020, where he now serves as a Manager of Market Development and Policy.
Jim began his military career as a CH-46E pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264, then later served as the Assistant Air Officer for the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Headquarters element. He ended his aviation career as a pilot and liaison officer for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron One, where he provided domestic and overseas helicopter lift support for the President of the United States.
In 2016, Jim headed to Capitol Hill, where he served as a Defense Fellow for Senator David Perdue. He advised the Senator on military-related issues pertaining to his role on the Foreign Relations Committee, and drafted key legislation in support of veterans and active duty military personnel. Over the next few years, he continued his legislative work, but switched to specifically supporting Marine Corps programs through the US Marine Corps Senate Liaison Office. He then served as the Aviation Budget Officer and Congressional Affairs Officer under the Deputy Commandant for Marine Corps Aviation in the Pentagon.
After 20 years of military service, he set his sights on a career in the growing field of renewable energy. Through the Solar Ready Vets Fellowship, Jim was connected to his current role at SunPower, where he now serves as Manager of Market Development and Policy. He reflects that as he was separating from military service, the fellowship afforded him the opportunity to find a way to extend his call to serve not only his country, but also his local community and his planet.
Jim began his SunPower career focusing on policy and market development across a regional portfolio that included California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. He now manages the mid-Atlantic and Southeast portfolio—a region that includes Virginia, Washington, DC, The Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. In his current role, Jim represents the company with regulators and elected officials, monitors legislative action and trade press, works collaboratively with coalitions of stakeholders, and provides strategic guidance and thought leadership on policy to advance adoption of solar and energy storage technologies at the residential, commercial and community scales. His role supports growth and development of solar energy at a pivotal time for the industry.