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About me

Sophie A. Akins is a Deputy County Counsel at the County of San Bernardino in the land use division, specializing in renewable energy and land use matters. Prior to joining the County, she was a Partner at Best Best & Krieger, LLP and head of the firm's renewable energy group. During her years of practice, she has focused on general public agency law, governance, procurement, public contracts, water agency law, renewable energy and proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission.

From 2006 through 2012, Ms. Akins served as General Counsel for the Ramona Municipal Water District. In this capacity, she provided day to day advice on district matters, including conflicts of interest, Brown Act, public contracts and the Public Records Act.

Ms. Akins was the lead attorney for the City of Ontario's $150 Million Citizens Business Bank Arena. She was also the lead attorney for the Ontario City Hall modernization, which was a LEED certified Gold project.

From 2007-09, Ms. Akins worked on a little over 14% of the State’s public agency design-build, lease-financed and power purchase agreement solar projects. Her recent projects include a 3.5 mW design-build solar project for the Southwestern Community College District.

In 2010, Ms. Akins successfully represented a coalition of San Diego County Water Districts and School Districts before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), defeating San Diego Gas & Electric's application to shut-off power to over 130,000 San Diego County residents.

In 2011-13, Ms. Akins again successfully represented a public agency coalition at the CPUC, defeating SDG&E's proposal to modify the distrbuted-generation renewable tariff.

In 2012-13, Ms. Akins lead another public agency coalition to success in the Assembly Bill 327 proceeding which provides for a 20-year grandfathering period for existing net-energy metered customers.

Specialties:Power Purchase Agreements, solar projects, wind projects, biogas projects, renewable energy projects, public construction, procurement policies, prequalification of bidders, bid disputes, government contracts, alternative delivery methods, prevailing wages, labor compliance programs, public records act, conflicts of interest and water conservation.


Languages spoken: French

Photos and videos

46516 1244070913

Contact info

San Bernardino County Counsel

385 N. Arrowhead Ave 4th Floor
San Bernardino, CA, 92415

Practice areas


  1. Energy: 34%
    14 years
  2. Government Contracts: 33%
    14 years
  3. State & Local Law: 33%

Attorney endorsements

1 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Roman Michael Whittaker

    Sophie is the go-to renewable energy lawyer. I recommend her highly.


    Roman Whittaker Arbitration Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Young InfluentialsSan Diego Daily Transcript2012
Top 25 Cleantech Attorney in CaliforniaDaily Journal2011
Rising Star - Top 10 Energy Attorneys Under 40 to WatchLaw3602010
40 Under 40San Diego Metropolitan Magazine2010
Special CommendationCity Councilmember Ben Hueso2008
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Deputy County CounselCounty of San Bernardino2015 - Present
PartnerBest Best & Krieger2001 - 2015
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Solar Energy SocietyMember2008 - Present
Association of California Water AgenciesMember2006 - Present
California Center for Sustainable EnergyBoard Member2010 - 2012
California Redevelopment AgencySustainability Committee Member2008 - 2011
Greater Golden Hill Community Development CorporationBoard Member2006 - 2009
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
California Public Utilities Commission Application No. 08-12-021Prevailed over San Diego Gas & Electric
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
San Diego Daily TranscriptExperts gather at USD for third climate and energy law symposium2011
Contra Costa TimesYee proposes bidding requirement for solar projects2011
Ramona SentinelSolar Changes Could Save Ramona Water District More Money2010
GlobeSt.comOptimism Not an Option Yet, John Cushman Says2010
Ramona SentinelWater District Expects to Generate Savings with Solar2010
Law360Rising Star: Best Best & Krieger's Sophie Akins2010
San Diego Union-TribuneWater, solar power work together2010
Ramona SentinelWater District Looks Into Solar2010
California Special Districts AssociationCollaboration is Key to Alternative Energy Projects2010
San Diego Daily TranscriptRenewable Energy Faces Challenges2010
San Jose Mercury NewsNo bids necessary for big solar projects, and that can cost you2010
San Diego Union TribuneSolar's picture brightening with power-purchase deals2009
San Diego Business JournalPursuit of LEED Ratings Could Lead to Contract Disputes2009
Best Best & Krieger Legal AlertState Regulators Deny San Diego Gas & Electric’s Controversial Shut-Off Plan2009
North County TimesREGION: SDG&E offers generators2009
E-Bulletin$302 Million in Federal Stimulus Funding to be Awarded to California Cities and Counties2009
San Diego Union-TribuneSolar's picture brightening with power-purchase deals2009
Ramona SentinalFederal mediator to help resolve power shut-off issue2009
San Diego Daily TranscriptClose-up: Sophie Akins, 'Green Team' associate maintains small carbon footprint in work, life2009
San Diego Daily TranscriptSolar Lawyers Expect to See Boom in Business2009
Western Real Estate BusinessShedding Light on Solar Energy and Real Estate2009
San Diego Daily TranscriptBailout Bill Gives Boost to Renewable Energy Market2008
Los Angeles Daily JournalSolar Energy Partnerships Can Help Callifornia Beat the Heat2006
Hastings Constitutional Law QuarterlyCongress' Property Clause Power to Prohibit Taking Endangered Species2000
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of California, Hastings College of the LawLawJD - Juris DoctorN/A
University of California - San DiegoUrban Studies and PlanningBA - Bachelor of ArtsN/A
University of California - San DiegoSociologyBA - Bachelor of ArtsN/A
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Annual Climate & Energy Law SymposiumAdvancing a Clean Energy Future2011
UCLA Green SymposiumHigh Performance Green Building Retrofits: Realities of Planning, Execution, Results and Financing2010
Solar Schoolhouse ForumDeveloping your solar team: Best models for writing RFPs for solar installations.2010
Executive RoundtableRenewable Energy Roundtable2010
Drafting and Negotiating Power Purchase AgreementsPower Purchase Agreements2010
Association of Environmental Professionals 2010 Annual ConferenceFunding of Renewable Energy Projects2010
Association of California Water Agencies Annual Spring ConferenceFinancing Solar Energy Projects2010
WebinarSimple Green: Demystifying Alternative Energy Projects2009
Solar Seminar For California Water AgenciesWriting the Optimal Power Purchase Agreement2009
San Diego Solar ConferenceDrafting and Negotiating the Optimal Power Purchase Agreement2009
San Diego County School District Chief Business Officer MeetingCalifornia Solar Projects2009
Renewable Energy WorkshopPower Purchase Agreements - Meeting Performance Objectives2009
Cost-effective Energy Conservation ProjectsPower Purchase Agreements2009
Coalition for Adequate School Housing Annual Statewide ConferencePhotovoltaic Projects and Energy Efficiency Projects: Contracting and Constructing2009
Should Our School District go Solar?Power Purchase Agreements2008
2006 C.A.S.H. ConferenceUse of Solar Energy to Reduce Electrical Costs2006