What drives your interest in working on solar energy issues?
While volunteering for the national service program AmeriCorps, my passion for the environment came into focus around issues of energy and sustainability. I started to take evening classes for completing a renewable energy institutional certificate at Austin Community College and then worked for the private sector installing solar. However, I realized I wanted to pursue my M.S. in sustainable development for researching the complexities in moving our electric grid towards a more sustainable energy system. Ultimately, I see PV as being part of the solution in providing a more sustainable energy future.
What impact do you feel the SolSmart program and you as an Advisor will have on the communities with which you will work?
I believe the hardest part for communities in addressing sustainable energy development is starting the process and knowing where to start. The SolSmart program will provide a framework and impetus for moving these communities towards a more sustainable future. As an Advisor, I believe there are three areas in which I may have an impact: 1. Alleviate the burden on government staff, in qualifying the communities for SolSmart designation; 2. Provide the communities with valid educational resources and methods for making their communities more solar friendly; and 3. Assist in building consensus between the community and regional partners, utilities, and developers. Ultimately, these impacts will build on each other and serve as a signal for developing the regional solar market.
What aspects of your work plan are you most excited about working on?
The aspects of Adams County’s work plan that excite me the most are exploring community solar opportunities on brownfields, and also assisting in the development of a ‘bulk’ purchase program for solar. Under the City of Lafayette’s work plan, I’m most excited about engaging Xcel Energy in helping provide a more streamlined interconnection and electrical inspection process for Lafayette.