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Social Change Through Solar Energy

October 4, 2016

India's community solar project inspires others to engage in social change and alternative energy.

Join UMD for a presentation about Community Colar Energy on Thursday, October 13 from 5 - 6:30 pm in UMD's Griggs Center, 1120 Kirby Drive, Duluth, Minn.

The presentation leaders are Anshuman Lath, India, Solar Community Trust; Kathryn Milun, professor of anthropology and director of Solar Commons; B.J. Allen electrical engineer and special projects manager at Rural Renewable Energy Alliance;

How is community solar part of the solution to the problems of inequality and climate change across the earth? In India where over 300 million citizens (roughly the population of the US) are still without electricity, community solar is arriving to electrify remote rural villages with solar microgrids that are packaged in new ownership and governance structures that empower women.

In Duluth and Northern Minnesota, community solar is also newly arriving, but in what social forms and to what social ends?  This panel-lead discussion will consider whether Minnesota's community solar is also emerging with new ownership and governance models that make this technology a vehicle for social change. What can our local community solar initiatives learn from the village solar model in India?  And how might public art be engaged to help us better imagine the potential “community” and “social ecology” values of community solar?

In this panel-lead discussion, we have invited Anshuman Lath to speak about his work with community trust owned solar in rural villages of India and Kathryn Milun and BJ Allen to speak about their work combining community trust solar and federal energy assistance for low-income neighborhoods in Duluth and for Native American tribes in the Midwest.

Members of UMD and the wider community are invited to learn from our distant Indian and local Northland innovators about the value of community solar for social change.


Cultural Entrepreneurship Program, UMD

Institute on the Environment, UMTC

Anthropology Program, UMD

Office For Sustainability, UMD

Center For Social Research, UMD

For info contact:
Aparna Katre
Assistant Professor of Cultural Entrepreneurship