The Sustainable Economies Law Center is incubating a Permanent Community Energy Cooperative (PCEC), a model of solar development that enables community-led development and crowd-financing of renewable energy projects designed for long-term community ownership and control. It's time to get off of fossil fuels and do so in a way that ensures that everyone can have an ownership stake in our energy future! Learn more about the PCEC model here.
The Law Center has brought together 11 people to develop the vision, business plan, and community engagement model for the PCEC in 2018. Our hope is to build one solar project on a home or business this year, take lessons learned, then grow the cooperative.
Pilot Community Group
We are piloting the model on a small scale with a group of five members from community-based organizations who comprise the first team spearheading a 3-20kW solar project. The group is gathering around food in a fun, social atmosphere while working to choose a site and grow interest in the community to support the project. The pilot cohort members are:
- Franki Betty, People of Color Sustainable Housing Network
- YaVette Holt, Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses
- Vivian Huang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- Angela Scott, Local Clean Energy Alliance
- Jessica Tovar, East Bay Clean Power Alliance
With the support of CrossPollinators and other partners, the Law Center is further developing the financial, legal, and other technical aspects of the project and business plan. Here's a little more about our team:
Subin DeVar directs the Sustainable Economies Law Center's Community Renewable Energy Program, engaging in outreach and advocacy to transition communities away from fossil fuel-based energy, without using predominant business models that result in widening gaps between the rich and poor. He works to break down legal barriers to community-owned renewable energy through policy advocacy, public education, and developing new legal models. Through the Law Center's Energy Program, Subin's current focus is piloting the Permanent Community Energy Cooperative -- a legal model to enable widespread grassroots crowd-financing of new energy projects designed for long-term community ownership and control.
Crystal is building a startup project called CrossPollinators to foster collaboration between grassroots solutions. She has more than 10 years of experience in climate solutions technology – from resource recovery to energy management to solar. After serving as the Chief Operations Officer for a solar startup incubator, Powerhouse, she took on the role to be the Associate Producer for Oscar-winning filmmaker Dir. Charles Ferguson’s climate film, “Time to Choose” (2016) with the goal to create a tool that can make the adoption to climate solutions fun and social. Through CrossPollinators, she also produced the Clean Power Healthy Communities Gathering in 2017.
Jonathan Hung is a UX designer and product strategist, aimed at using human-centered technology and creative problem solving to advance social enterprises. He is an advisor to CrossPollinators and currently works as a consultant for startups, individuals, and organizations that aim advance equity in society. His expertise is in user research, workshop facilitation, and rapid prototyping.
Yassi Eskandari is Policy Director at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Currently, she is most excited about spearheading the campaigns to promote worker cooperative development in Oakland and Berkeley. She has co-authored multiple influential publications including Regulating Short-Term Rentals, a guidebook for equitable policy, and Policies for Shareable Cities, a playbook for cities seeking to cultivate the true sharing economy. Last year, Yassi passed the California bar exam without going to law school, and is honored to soon join a movement of lawyers who are making our economy work for the planet and the 99 percent.
Grayson is a volunteer intern at the Sustainable Economies Law Center assisting with the deployment of the PCEC pilot and relevant legal and policy research. He is passionate about finding opportunities for community-owned renewable energy in disadvantaged communities. He is also a Berkeley alum and an avid musician. He lives in West Oakland with his partner and his cat.
Mmakgantsi is a legal research volunteer for the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Mmakgantsi has a background in law, global investment, and solar energy policy -- most recently managing partnerships and contracts for an energy access microgrid technology start-up. She is most excited when working on solutions aimed at expanding clean energy access and economic opportunities for low-income communities.
Janelle Orsi is a lawyer, advocate, writer, and cartoonist focused on cooperatives, land trusts, sustainable agriculture, community-owned energy, shared housing, and the creation of a more just and equitable society. She is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (in Oakland, CA) and author of Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy. She is also co-founder of H2H Cooperative, which creates natural burial cemeteries on grazing land, thereby channeling capital away from unsustainable funeral industry practices and helping all people leave a legacy of land conservation and common land ownership.