Vote Solar, a national nonprofit solar advocacy organization, honored its 2018 Solar Champion Award recipients last night as part of its Equinox fundraiser and celebration in San Francisco. California State Assemblyman Phil Ting, a longtime clean energy leader, provided keynote remarks at the award ceremony.
"States have a proud tradition of driving renewable energy progress in this country, creating local jobs, healthier communities, and more ways for families to manage their energy bills. These three leaders give me hope that we can and will keep our country moving forward through local action on solar power," said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar. "With our communities and our climate in crisis, we need their kind of solar leadership now more than ever."
Vote Solar presented Nevada State Senator Patricia Spearman with a Solar Champion Award for her ongoing leadership to build a robust and inclusive clean energy economy in her home state. Throughout the eighteen-month battle to restore Nevadans’ access to rooftop solar and solar jobs, Senator Spearman championed the expansion of solar for all Nevadan families and small businesses by pushing for a community solar program with dedicated commitment to low-income communities.
“We must continue to develop and expand our renewable energy resources for economic development, job creation, and improve our environmental stewardship. For me, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels is a moral imperative as part of our National Security Plan. We ask the men and women, now in uniform, to shoulder the burdens of war, because of our over reliance on fossil fuels,” said Senator Spearman. “We can greatly reduce many of the risks our nation faces from an unnecessary, but ongoing, dependence on foreign oil: by strengthening our resolve to the clean energy revolution, supporting federal and state legislators committed to developing comprehensive energy policies, and educating people on the various benefits associated with solar and other clean energy adoption.”
Rosemary Harris Lytle accepted the "Dr. Espanola Jackson Solar Justice Award" for her leadership advocating for energy justice in the Interior West. She is the founder and Executive Director of Positive Impact Colorado, a nonprofit that aligns energy justice with criminal justice by providing solar job training and job placement for people previously incarcerated. She also serves as President of the NAACP CO-MT-WY State Conference. Ms. Lytle’s climate justice and clean energy leadership began in 2005 when the NAACP led the relocation of 2,600 hurricane disaster survivors to Colorado Springs. In 2014, during debates around net metering in Colorado, and in the years since, she has become a tremendous advocate for solar and equity in her community and across the region.
“We will do our best work when we realize the need to incorporate intersectionality theory,” Ms. Lytle said. “We will do our best work when we are intentional about adding a social justice equity lens to all we do. If our movement goes forward but affected communities do not, could that be justice? The answer is ‘no.’"
California State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) was the keynote speaker of the event. He’s a longtime champion of clean energy and electric vehicles. As the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder, he spearheaded Go Solar San Francisco, a local rebate and tax credit program for city homeowners who invest in solar. Asm. Ting continues his commitment to the environment at the State Capitol by leading the effort to require that all new vehicles registered in the state be zero-emissions by 2040. He’s also behind the California Electric Vehicle Initiative, which aims to increase the number of EVs on the road.
“It’s great to see that California has partners in the west who are committed to clean energy. Both Senator Spearman and Ms. Lytle exemplify the kind of leadership we need to forge a path to a cleaner, greener future,” said Assemblyman Ting.