Rafael Alfonzo

Rafael is a renewable energy & technology entrepreneur, an attorney, and a former U.S .Marine.  He is currently Senior Vice President of Structured Finance at Sol Systems, a solar energy investment company, where he manages the firm’s Developer Advisory Services group.

Rafael previously co-founded Distributed Sun, a commercial solar energy company that develops and operates solar power plants across the country.  He was also an angel investor and adviser to The Map Network, an event-based data and mapping company that was acquired by Nokia/NAVTEQ in 2006; and an investor in Witten Technologies, an early leader in underground radar imaging.

Prior to his entrepreneurship, Rafael practiced law at Holland & Knight, where he specialized in corporate compliance and business litigation.  He is admitted to the Bar in California, the District of Columbia, Florida, and New York.  He was also a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving overseas in Southeast Asia and South America.  Rafael earned his JD at the George Washington University Law School and his AB at the University of Michigan, and is a candidate for an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Why did you apply to the Young Leaders Program? What are you seeking to get out of it? 
I wanted to meet smart, thoughtful people in the context of cultural exchange. 

What did you aspire to be when you were young? 
A trial lawyer. 

You are obviously highly accomplished professionally.  What is one mistake you made that was a great learning lesson? 
When I was younger, I didn’t take the time off I needed to recharge after months of hard work.  Vacation is important!