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.

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“We look to leaders who are walking the walk on the path to a 100% renewable energy future where solar shines for everyone,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar. “While states and cities have a proud tradition of being at the forefront of the clean energy movement to create healthier communities, local jobs, and action on climate, it’s leaders like Senator Wiener and Cheryl Johnson who are the engine driving progress. We’re honored to recognize these two solar champions for their unwavering devotion to leaving the world a better place than they found it.”

Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery, accepted Vote Solar’s Dr. Espanola Jackson’s Solar Justice Award, which honors extraordinary leaders in environmental justice. People for Community Recovery was founded by Cheryl’s mother, Hazel Johnson, widely-recognized as the “Mother of Environmental Justice,” to fight environmental racism on Chicago’s heavily polluted southeast side. Under Cheryl’s leadership, People for Community Recovery remains a leading advocate in campaigns to mitigate environmental and economic burdens disproportionately borne by underserved communities in Chicago. Cheryl’s advocacy has had a wide-reaching impact across the city, including the recent establishment of a successful solar workforce training program and brownfield solar project, both designed to create jobs and clean energy savings for the residents of a frontline public housing complex.

“Bringing renewable energy to public and low-income housings are great opportunities in jobs and savings to families,” said Johnson. “We have been advocating for alternative energy usages for a very long time and we are excited that we were able to convince our housing authority to build a solar farm in my community and to train residents to be part of the development of this opportunity.”

California State Senator Scott Wiener accepted the Solar Champion Award for his longtime support of clean energy, including his recent Solar Bill of Rights legislation, which protects the rights of families, businesses, schools, and other energy customers to generate and store solar on their own property. This is Senator Wiener’s second Solar Champion Award, which he was previously awarded in 2017 for his leadership advocating for solar on all new construction in San Francisco and statewide.  

“I am honored to be recognized for this work,” said Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). “By working to protect consumer access to renewable energy, we are making it easier for more people to reap the benefits of solar power. It’s the right thing to do for our consumers and for our planet.”