This August, Schatz Energy Fellow Thalia Quinn presented for a panel discussion on Broadening Access to Solar: Jobs, Careers, and Futures, at the American Solar Energy Society’s 47th annual conference in Boulder, Colorado. Panelists discussed paths for the solar energy field to increase inclusivity and the economic opportunities of underrepresented communities. Thalia shared her recent journey from undergraduate work in chemical engineering into the field of renewable energy. Moderated by Annie Lappé, the panel also included representatives from Grid Alternatives, the American Association for Blacks in Energy, Power52, SolarWorld, and Sandia Labs.
Conference talks included the estimated locational value of solar, progress in electric vehicle costs compared to combustion engines, solar resource and solar cost/benefit webtools, and current events in solar policy. The conference closed with a discussion of policies designed to increase the deployment and ease of procuring solar energy in the Interior West region. Jessica Scott described achievements and lessons learned from Vote Solar campaigns: recently, Nevada legislature submitted a ballot initiative pushing for a higher renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which would increase the state’s RPS from 25 percent by 2025, to 40 percent by 2040.