In 2016 Front and Centered joined, energy advocates, including lead partner NW SEED (now Spark Northwest), other environmental justice organizations, utilities, regulators, solar installers, universities, and the Washington State Energy Office in a successful $2 million three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Solar Plus project, as it’s known, kicked off in March 2017. The project convenes diverse stakeholders to create a plan to develop solar in Washington and Oregon over the coming years. Critically the “plus” signals that the plan will seek to maximize the technical, economic, and social benefits of solar, including specific goals for lower income communities.
Front and Centered entered this initiative to be able to explore in greater depth the specific interests and approaches our communities want to see in solar power and the clean energy economy.
This summer Front and Centered organizations will hold listening sessions across the state in diverse communities. The findings from these sessions will form a foundation for goal-setting and strategy development. As co-chairs of the work group on access and opportunity, we will explore the options in collaboration with partners.
At the stakeholder forum in Portland earlier this month, Front and Centered, along with Verde, and APANO in Oregon presented an equity framework to guide the work moving forward.
The Solar Plus proposal laid out goals for equitable growth of solar capacity and jobs while lowering costs. Over the next few months the forum participants will identify state specific goals and metrics and outline strategies to meet those goals.