The committee

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Gavin Gilchrist Project Manager

Gavin is our project manager, responsible for managing residential sales rounds, liaising with solar installers, delivering community-owned solar projects, keeping on top of the politics of energy and climate, and generally pushing the group along. He is an experienced clean-energy professional. He ran his own energy-efficiency company for 15 years, and was a consortium partner in both the Adelaide and Blacktown Solar Cities. In 1994 he published a book on energy and climate issues, The Big Switch: clean energy for the 21st century. Gavin lives and works in the Inner West.


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Kathy Bluff Chair

Kathy Bluff is a professional musician who has lived in Annandale  for more than 20 years. As a clean energy enthusiast she was disappointed to learn how low the uptake of solar energy is in our area and decided it was time to get involved at a local community level to support and advocate for the clean energy transition in our community.


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Barb Matchett Treasurer

Barb is an Ashfield  resident who is committed to increasing  solar uptake in our local community and in making solar more available for fixed and low income households. Her home has had the benefit of solar energy for over 7 years, with greatly reduced electricity bills for her household which is now largely self sufficient, having recently added a solar battery. Solar can be the energy system of the future for all Aussie households.


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Rafael Chemke

Rafael is an environment and sustainability practitioner with over 25 years experience in the private and government sectors. He is an enthusiastic advocate for residential solar  as a means to reduce energy bills as well as carbon emissions and their impacts. Rafael’s particular interest is in exploring opportunities to establish community energy sites to benefit residents of the inner west with limited roof-space or those living in apartments.


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Dr Leila Alem

Dr Leila Alem is an entrepreneur, a principal consultant and a research scientist. In her spare time and in a pro bono capacity she helps advance social and environmental causes. Leila advises NFP organisations, social enterprises and start-ups including National Justic project, Solar Citizen and the Independent Peaceful Australia Network.


Tom Zwar
Tom Zwar

Tom is in his second year of a Bachelor of International and Global Studies, majoring in Government and Policy at the University of Sydney. As our youngest member, he provides energy and social media savvy to the IWCE team as well as support for our meetings and market days.



Coby Smith

Coby has developed a passion for solar over the last 8 years, driven by the installation of a PV system at his home in Balmain. After being an IT network engineer for the last 20 years, Coby is currently moving his career into renewables, which means he is enthusiastic about the technology and about helping others to get on the next wave of energy.