New report from Cleveland Owns describes how community solar can promote racial and economic equity

28 Feb

Today Cleveland Owns released Equitable Community Solar, a report that describes policies for community solar programs that promote racial and economic equity.

The report proposes an ambitious, expansive roadmap for equitable community solar -- 30 policies and program guidelines that promote community ownership and governance, participation by low- and moderate-income households and households in pollution-burdened neighborhoods, and a rapid expansion of clean, renewable energy.

The same report finds that in Cleveland, a community solar program of 50 megawatts could create 554 jobs and produce economic impacts of $96 million. Most benefits of the project would occur during the construction phase of the project, delivering an immediate economic boost.

You can download the report, which was published research partners Cooperative Energy Futures and the Institute for Local Self Reliance, here.

“Cleveland can launch an innovative community solar program that builds on programs done by other municipal electric utilities and states by adding a racial and economic equity lens,” said Dr. Gilbert Michaud, Assistant Professor of Practice at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University and one of the contributors to the report.

“A community solar program in Cleveland would unlock tremendous value,” said Jonathan Welle, Executive Director of Cleveland Owns. "A program like this is a win-win. If we layer on community ownership of the solar gardens, residents gain in three ways: upfront jobs and economic stimulus, monthly savings on their bills, and long-term financial returns of ownership. Community ownership of solar would help ensure Cleveland makes a just transition to a clean energy economy.”

Cleveland Owns' policy work supports its organizing for collective ownership of solar in Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Detroit Shoreway, and Hough. We're excited to build out the policy side of this mission!

We'll discuss this in detail on a webinar March 10 at noon EST - sign up here. We'll also explore highlights from the report on this site over the next few weeks.

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