Robert A. Freling - Executive Director
Bob has been the executive director of the Solar Electric Light Fund since 1997. Under his leadership, SELF has installed over 550 solar energy systems in 25 countries, making it one of the world’s leading nongovernmental organizations that designs and implements solar energy-based solutions for those living without access to electricity.
An early advocate of access to energy as being essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he is widely considered an authority on the subject of energy poverty. During his tenure he has broadened SELF’s mission and vision to address the broader implications of energy poverty. In 2000, he developed the Whole Village Development Model, an innovative approach for using solar energy to help communities improve their health, education, food and water security, and economic development programs. In 2003, SELF completed its first “Whole Village” project in Nigeria, utilizing solar energy to provide electricity for health clinics, schools, street lights, mosques, homes, micro-enterprise centers, and electric pumps that deliver fresh water for drinking and irrigation. A native of Dallas, Texas, Bob received a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Studies from Yale University and a Masters degree from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. In 2008, Bob received the King Hussein Leadership Award from Her Majesty Queen Noor.