Cart 0
Empowering your products; extending your reach

Our Team

190828 ConEn Team Photo (blue).jpg

Vijay Bhopal | Managing Director

Vijay has worked in renewable energy since 2011, initially in Scotland where he raised funds for, and led a range of projects, including multi-million pound community-commercial wind energy joint ventures, local energy systems and energy ICT projects.

Since 2014 Vijay has spearheaded Urjaa Samadhan, an Odisha, India, based social enterprise working with poor users of off-grid solar equipment in India. He has also been a driving force behind the development of Cloud Solar - one of Connected Energy's first products.

Vijay's achievements in the renewable energy sector were recognised with the ‘Entrepreneur Award’ at the inaugural Scottish Renewables’ Young Professional’s Green Energy Awards 2015. He also provided analysis to the seminal annual report into the energy access market, The Poor People’s Energy Outlook, for the past 2 years. Vijay is Co-Director at Scene, one of Connected Energy's parent organisations.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Jelte profile pic-01-01.png

Jelte Harnmeijer | Development Director

Jelte spent most of his life in Southern Africa, and worked as an Astrobiologist before taking on off-grid energy.  He is a social entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in and around renewable energy policy, research and delivery. Jelte is particularly comfortable in the domains of microgeneration, energy access, shared ownership – and of course Last Mile ICT.  He has published widely around issues to do with locally owned community energy and spent 5 years+ actively developing renewable energy projects when a director at Scene.

Jelte is tasked with overseeing Connected Energy's business development activities, which he does in various places around the globe, especially East Africa.


ConEn Orange Line.png

Joel Chaney | R&D Director

Joel leads the R&D team and is experienced in experimental design, machine learning, hardware design and has a range of coding abilities. He loves innovation, simplifying and redesigning existing technologies and approaches to tackle complex problems. Joel is passionate about the internet of things approached for social good.

Prior to leading the development of Connected Energy’s technologies, Joel worked as a research associate at Heriot Watt University, developing smart demand response technologies for improved management of local energy systems. He was a key team member in the Europa FP7 project ORIGIN, which was awarded an excellent rating, and resulted in several leading spin out technologies in the energy management field. Prior to this Joel worked for Nottingham University on a UK-India collaboration on biogas and gasification technologies. Joel is a Co-Founder, Director and Trustee of CREATIVenergie.

ConEn Orange Line.png

Gareth Selby | Engineering Director

Gareth is an Architect and Engineer specialising in low carbon design, having worked on a number of Passivhaus projects and currently working on the University of East Anglia’s Enterprise Centre that is set to be the largest Passivhaus in the country.

Gareth is a founding Director of CREATIVenergie and has been overall project manager of the development of Smart Biogas Network, though an Innovate UK funded project. Gareth received training in biogas with BSP Nepal and through CREATIVenergie has designed a number of biogas plants focusing on reducing costs and increasing reliability in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines. Gareth is also a trustee of a charity in Ghana so brings a wealth of experience in the East and West African context.

Paul BW-01.png

Paul Snijders | Operations Director- East Africa

Paul had a career of more than 20 years in the Dutch banking industry.

He worked as a Project- Implementation and Risk Manager for retail and international banking. At Rabobank he carried out implementations in the IT environment of Current Account and High Volume Payment Transactions – IT systems which are characterized by high availability and confidentiality – and was involved in the development of the debit- and credit card system.

For Rabobank Development he headed the IT department for Banque Populaire du Rwanda. With his team at BPR he deployed the first ATMs in Rwanda, developed the national interbank payment system and launched mobile banking, based on a USSD app.

Since 2015 Paul has been active in the PAYG solar sector in Rwanda, especially in the fields of national energy provision, business development and electrification of remote rural areas. He is concerned about the fate of people who live far from the electrical grid and is committed to finding affordable technological solutions.

As Operations Director he is in charge of market introduction and establishing a branch for Connected Energy in the East Africa region.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Olivier profile-01.png

Olivier Phillipon | Lead Software Developer

Olivier has been a passionate Web Developer for 18 years, working for web agencies and start-ups and bigger companies like Le Monde - one of the main French newspapers. During the last few years he has worked as a consultant to help start-ups build the first version of their products- dealing with the "post-MVP" phase- and train their development teams with modern web best practices.

His experience with start-ups allows him to identify factors of technical debt and to prevent or contain them when they emerge.

After having worked with some companies that he perceived to not bring any real value to this world, Olivier decided to dedicate his work to better causes when possible. When the opportunity arose, he enthusiastically joined Connected Energy.

ConEn Orange Line.png

Jordan Silverman | Technical Designer

Jordan has been working in R&D in the energy access space for 2 years after completing an MSc in Practising Sustainable Development with a specialisation in ICT4D. His master’s research led him to explore the potential use of smart-phone management systems in the small-scale fishing industry in the Caribbean, linking with a research team from the University of West Indies. Having completed a BSc in Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town, Jordan has an understanding of environmental challenges in a developing world context.

Recently, Jordan has taken a development role building IoT systems for energy access in rural communities and has built an understanding of the technical challenges involved in using open-source hardware. He has a unique combination of social research skills and hardware development experience.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Gulbin BW.png

Gulbin Durmaz | Admin & Comms

Gulbin is a brand and marketing specialist with experience in the banking and finance sector. She holds BA in Public Relations and Advertising from the Eastern Mediterranean University, also an MA in Advertising and Brand Communication Management. After studying, she worked as a Research Assistant and Assistant Lecturer in Istanbul, where her focus was on persuasion in advertising. Recently, her focus has moved to consumer behavior and she is preparing to start a PhD in marketing. 

Gulbin joined our team to support in the company’s finance and business administration and aid in both communications strategy and campaigns. In addition to her professional life she is interested in boxing.


Rowan Spear | Product and UX Designer

Rowan holds an MA in Product Design from the University of Edinburgh where his research focussed on the intelligent use of plastics within a circular economy. This research included investigations into more environmentally sustainable solar pico and solar home systems in East Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Rowan continues to research and design for this space through his role as product manager and designer at the University of Edinburgh.

Rowan joined the Connected Energy team from CREATIVenergie having engaged with the initial design of Smart Biogas Network. He brings knowledge of human-centred design practices and experience of conducting user engagement workshops in Kenya and Tanzania.

Lorna BW-01.png

Lorna Sherwood | Technical Manager

Lorna gained a BSc in Zoology and an Msc in Animal Welfare. After working in research and animal welfare charities, she spent 8 years working in agriculture for the Scottish Government progressing from on-farm inspections through to managing the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme.

It was while working for the Scottish Government that Lorna got the opportunity to act as a Product Owner on a large-scale software re-design project. This experience led to a change in career and re-training in software development. After spending a couple of years as a Quality Assurance Engineer Lorna is now keen to apply her technical knowledge, project management skills and passion for agile methodology to guide the Connected Energy development team.

Outside of work Lorna spends as much time outdoors and away from the screen as possible, be it on the sea or up a mountain.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Guilhem profile pic-01.png

Guilhem Forey | Software Developer

Guilhem is a software engineer and a lover of innovation with a strong belief that technological solutions and conscious application of A.I. will be humanity's answer to our biggest environmental challenges. He studied computer science at Napier University in Edinburgh and electrical engineering in Nantes, France. Having gained knowledge in full-stack software engineering, web development, and is currently immersing himself in machine learning.

Guilhem cultivates his technological skills and problem-solving attitude at Connected Energy with dedication to it's green mission, balancing it with artistic expression as a jazz pianist.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Chris profile pic-02-01.png

Chris Donnelly | Software Developer

Chris holds an BA in Economics from Strathclyde University and the IMC from the CFA Society.  He spent twelve years working in the asset management industry for a global investment business with a focus on responsible and sustainable investment.  This included mutual funds investing in listed companies screened on a variety of sustainable and ethical criteria, as well as private equity portfolios investing in clean tech companies and carbon management/neutralisation strategies.

With a keen interest in how technology will shape our approach to solving structural problems in developed and developing economies, Chris retrained in software development so that he could contribute to the design and creation of the technological solutions tackling these issues.

ConEn Orange Line.png
Zak profile BW.jpg

Zak Buys | Software Developer

After completing his PhD in Atmospheric Science at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, Zak's love of logical and creative problem solving led him into Software Engineering. He has focussed on exploring the future of Front-end development (UI and UX) in an increasingly Internet of Things (IoT) enabled world where human interactions with the physical world will play a key role [Voice, Web, App, Physical things, Presence, Other Interactions]. He joins Connected Energy from Deloitte Digital, specialising in Frontend and UX, he worked on a variety of large financial sector digital transformation projects gaining experience of Agile methodologies and working closely with clients to up-skill their current dev teams.

He loves the great outdoors, and exploring our beautiful planet. Hiking, scrambling, mountain biking and camping in the wild fuel his love of photography and aesthetic perfection.

ConEn Orange Line.png