Grassroots Education and Solar for All
On December 18, Elevate Energy—the administrator of the Illinois Solar for All Program—held a stakeholder engagement session covering the program’s grassroots education provisions. The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) mandates that up to 5% of funds available under Solar for All be allocated to community-based groups to “assist in grassroots education efforts.” Particular emphasis is placed on outreach in difficult-to-reach communities, low-income communities, and environmental justice communities. Elevate is currently in the process of determining how best to implement this element of the law.
The stakeholder engagement session provided useful insights into Elevate’s proposed approach. Elevate will periodically accept proposals for specific education campaign to be conducted by community-based organizations. To be selected for funding, proposals must clearly articulate goals and methodologies. Elevate wants to know, for example, what topics will be addressed, which stakeholders will be targeted for outreach, where those stakeholders are located, and what strategies will be deployed to spread information effectively. Specificity is key.
The engagement session laid out four potential topics that grassroots education efforts may focus on.
- Benefits from participation in Solar for All and renewable generation.
- Job training consideration relevant to Solar for All.
- Environmental justice topics.
- Community engagement considerations.
The session also made clear that grassroots education efforts, like the Solar for All Program more broadly, should aim to serve a particular set of stakeholders.
- Environmental justice communities.
- Low-income households.
- Affordable housing owners.
- Job trainees and job training organizations.
- Community organizations.
- Non-profit and public-sector entities.
These stakeholders have not historically benefited from the development of renewable energy. Solar for All aims to ensure more a more equitable distribution of benefits moving forward.
For a more comprehensive look at what was discussed during the session, see Elevate’s grassroots education slides. To submit comments to Elevate, reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12:00 CT on January 7, 2019. And keep an eye on the next steps in Solar for All implementation.