What drives your interest in working on solar energy issues?

I am a strong proponent of environmental and social responsibility, and I believe solar energy has the capacity to address both. Solar is a zero-emission source of electricity that can contribute toward mitigating climate change and transitioning to a carbon-neutral grid. The advancements in solar are driving down costs and making it feasible to deploy across the U.S., even in places where you’d least expect, like Michigan. Additionally, solar is one of the more publicly accessible forms of renewable energy being that it can be installed at both the individual level (e.g., residential rooftop) and community level (e.g., community solar). I am confident that solar energy is a part of the solution to attend to some of the most pressing issues of our time. As such, I am inspired to do my share to advocate for its adoption.

What impact do you feel the SolSmart program and you as an Advisor will have on the communities with which you will work?

Communities who want to encourage solar energy growth in their area can learn how to do so through the SolSmart program. The SolSmart program will provide communities resources on how to design local regulations in a way that attracts and sustains solar development. As an Advisor, I will help communities navigate these resources and provide tailored assistance.

What aspects of your work plan are you most excited about working on?

I look forward to learning more about the SolSmart program and sharing this wealth of information with those who can benefit from it. Preparing for solar can be a daunting process that may be intimidating for communities to take on. It is my goal to ease these worries and reduce communities’ workload by linking them to SolSmart’s comprehensive guides on how to become solar-friendly.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I hope to connect with a diverse range of Michigan communities and become a part of their journey toward a more sustainable tomorrow!

About Jessica

Jessica Crawford is the Community Programs Coordinator with the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She provides technical and financial assistance to local public-service entities who are interested in adopting energy efficiency and renewable energy practices. Prior to her current role, Jessica has worked in the environmental sector for several years on topics ranging from recycling to landscape restoration. She brings this knowledge into her work with energy management to demonstrate the interconnection of various sustainability efforts. She holds a Master of Science in Community Sustainability as well as a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management.