Eugenia Corrales.Eugenia Corrales
Executive VP, Nanosolar

Eugenia Corrales has held plenty of h
igh-paying jobs at companies like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems, but in 2005, at the age of 40, she wasn’t satisfied. “I guess it was a midlife crisis. I did a lot of soul searching and realized it was time to put my little grain in the sand to create a society that has a very different makeup.” Now, at 47, Corrales is executive vice president of engineering & operations at Nanosolar, one of the world’s most buzzed-about solar companies. The start-up, which has received hundreds of millions in VC funding, is using CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) along with methods of nanotechnology to produce thin-film solar that is just as efficient as crystalline silicone, but at a fraction of the cost. “The big technical risk is behind us — we’re no longer wondering if the technology works, but if we can ramp it up.” Corrales is optimistic: “Solar is poised for massive growth. We’re at a really important inflection point in our lifetime and in the history of humanity. It’s an amazing time to be alive.”