Powering Homes, Empowering People: Solar Energy for All with Steph Spiers and Nicole Sitaraman

November 23, 2019

Liz Bourguet, YCELP Research Assistant

In early November, the Center hosted two inspirational women for a panel on “Delivering Innovation for a Clean Energy Future.” Steph Spiers is the co-founder and CEO of Solstice and Nicole Sitaraman is the senior manager of public policy at Sunrun. The panel was moderated by Center Director Professor Dan Esty and was co-sponsored by the Environmental Policy Analysis and Energy specializations at Yale FES. The panelists shared their insights and experiences working in the renewable energy field and emphasized the importance of community and rooftop solar generation in our transition to a clean energy future.

Most notably, both Spiers and Sitaraman shared a passion for expanding access to renewable energy to all Americans. In their positions, both actively work to expand access to solar energy to communities traditionally overlooked when establishing clean energy projects, including low income communities and communities of color. They work to make solar energy inclusive to all communities through measures like eliminating the financial barriers to solar installation. Their goal is to democratize clean energy by empowering citizens, giving everyone a seat at the table, and using policy to give consumers more power.

The panelists answered questions from an engaged audience, covering topics spanning finance mechanisms, equity concerns, and policy implications. Overall, the panelists were an inspiration for those seeking to explore how locally produced renewable energy can be a means to address climate change while empowering a diversity of communities across the country.