John Woolard, president and CEO, BrightSource Energy Inc.

John Woolard, president and CEO, BrightSource Energy Inc.


One of the most influential experiences for John Woolard was working as a whitewater rafting guide in Africa on the Zambezi River. While truly majestic and awe-inspiring, the Zambezi River ecosystem was imperiled, and he witnessed firsthand the devastating environmental issues. This experience made Woolard realize that he wanted to dedicate his life to protecting our natural environment and ecosystems. Carbon accumulation in the atmosphere is one of the biggest problems we face, and the greatest impact on carbon is the way we produce and consume energy. Today, Woolard is no longer guiding tours down the Zambezi River, but he is helping the environment through his work as president and CEO of BrightSource Energy Inc., a designer and developer of solar thermal technology that produces high-value electricity and steam for power, petroleum and industrial-process markets worldwide. The BrightSource team blends internationally renowned solar thermal technical experience with world-class finance and project development capabilities to minimize impact to the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

The principal members of BrightSource’s technical team pioneered the first utility-scale solar energy plants nearly three decades ago by designing and developing 354 megawatts of solar energy. The plants are still in operation today.

In addition, the team has collectively developed, constructed and managed more than 20 gigawatts of solar, wind and conventional power projects worldwide. Today, BrightSource’s technical team is building on this experience to advance the industry by developing and deploying a solar power tower system that provides both higher solar energy conversion efficiencies and lower costs. Woolard’s vision and expertise in the energy field has brought together some of the brightest minds in the industry to develop the technology and grow the business to be one of the leading solar thermal electrical power plant developers.

HOW TO REACH: BrightSource Energy Inc.,