What drives your interest in working on solar energy issues? 

I’m interested in how to make society more sustainable, and energy is a big part of that. As in most urban areas, the Kansas City region has a plethora of flat rooftops, all of which could be producing clean energy for use on or off site.


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

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has done solar work for six years now. This started when MARC received a Rooftop Solar Challenge I grant from DOE in 2011, allowing us to work with five local governments on policy, planning, and other practices to be more solar-friendly. Then, MARC received a Rooftop Solar Challenge II award in 2013, allowing MARC to lead a team of nine other regional planning councils from around the country to implement the best practices model we developed during the first grant.

During this time, MARC expanded the program locally from five to 26 jurisdictions. Now, as a SolSmart Advisor, we are able to help the cities and counties we already worked with take their solar policies and practices a step further in addition to potentially helping new jurisdictions to be more solar-friendly.


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

I really enjoy the process of sitting down with city and county staff and talking through how they could reach bronze, silver, and gold levels. Most want to go for gold!

About Laura

Laura Machala is a SolSmart Advisor at the Mid-America Regional Council, serving 12 Communities throughout the Kansas City region.