Locally Charged: Centering Community Voices In Public Power – UROP Summer Symposium 2021

Locally Charged: Centering Community Voices In Public Power

Nyia George

Nyia George

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

UROP Fellowship: CCSFP, Schoolcraft College
Research Mentor(s): Karl Hoesch, MPP, PhD Student
Research Mentor Institution/Department: School for Environment and Sustainability

Presentation Date: Wednesday, August 4th
Session: Session 1 (3pm-3:50pm EDT)
Breakout Room: Room 3
Presenter: 4

Event Link


The effects of climate change will require a change in the tools needed to support the health of planet earth. One of the biggest changes needed is the switch from fossil fuels to using renewable energy for electric generation. Although climate change will impact everyone on earth in some ways, the impacts on low-income and minority communities are more likely to be severe. Residents in these communities already experience disproportionately high energy burdens and exposure to air pollution from fossil fuel sources. However, merely swapping fossil fuel generating plants for renewable energy sources may preserve the inequities of the current energy system. Locally Charged: Centering Community Voices in Public Power is a project dedicated to preserving the environment but also providing residents with affordable solar energy. The project focuses on community solar as a means to promote energy justice. Community solar involves the installation of medium-scale solar energy systems to supply affordable renewable energy to members of low income and minority communities. Residents subscribe to the energy from these arrays and get credits on their electricity bills. One year after receiving their first solar bill credits, subscribers participate in virtual interviews (conducted via zoom or phone call) to share their experiences. Most subscribers attest to the cost reduction and positive experiences with the community solar project but questions remain about their perceptions of renewable energy and its justice implications. The Locally Charged project will in time collect this data and use it to contribute to the growth and expansion of community solar to more communities in need.

Authors: Nyia George, Karl Hoesch, Doctoral Student (SEAS)
Research Method: Survey Research

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