Community Outreach and Solar Equity: A Guide for States on Collaborating with Community-Based Organizations

Abbe Ramanan, Shauna Beland, Yasmin Yacoby, Nicole Hernandez Hammer | Clean Energy States Alliance

This guide is aimed at state energy agencies that are looking to strengthen their relationships with local under-resourced communities or are beginning to engage in energy justice work. The guide is a collection of best practices, ideas, and principles that provide states a foundation for building equitable relationships with community-based organizations (CBOs) and for working with them on solar development.

Partnerships between state energy agencies and CBOs are a key component of advancing energy justice. Solar development in under-resourced communities will be most effective and equitable when trusted community organizations are involved. Community engagement can lead to innovative, equitable, and inclusive solar projects by connecting the concerns of communities to the decisions that allocate public funds.

The guide covers the preliminary steps and training state agencies can undertake prior to pursuing collaboration with CBOs, how to structure community engagement, and how to build long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. Case studies highlight successful state/CBO collaborations. The guide provides a helpful primer and additional learning resources on environmental and energy justice, as well as an appendix on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.

This guide was produced by CESA and based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Award Number DE-EE-0007667.

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Date: February 17, 2021
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