Solar Storytelling Video Series

In March 2020, the second solar workshop for Here Comes the Sun (you can read about the first workshop here) was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We had hoped to reschedule the event for fall of that year, but as Covid cases rose and mandates followed, it became clear that a traditional face to face gathering wasn’t going to be happening anytime soon. With some outside the box thinking, though, Here Comes the Sun was a video series!

solar array on top of AICHO
OTB’s second solar workshop, originally scheduled to be held at AICHO, has been reinvented as a video series. Image credit: Ivy Vainio

Solar Storytelling consists of three short videos and features BIPOC practitioners in the solar energy sector. Robert Blake, founder of Native Sun Community Power Development and Solar Bear; Nestor Gomez Jimenez, CEO of Litty Solar; and Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos, Youth Coordinator at Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light share their own personal experiences working with renewable energy and related community environmental activities.

"We are in a time of great transition right now and energy has always propelled human kind forward." ~Robert Blake, founder of Solar Bear

Young people standing on AICHO's rooftop
Young volunteers, Carmen and Patience, prepare for filming on top of AICHO. Image Credit: Stacie Renne

Solar Storytelling gets a lot of its heart by featuring young participants at AICHO. Carmen and Patience, both middle school students, ask important questions to better understand why solar energy matters to both individuals and communities. While the videos are accessible to all ages, we want young people to see the impact they can have in the renewable energy movement, and the role they play in giving that movement momentum.

Young person write questions on piece of paper
Patience writes out questions to ask solar energy professionals. Image Credit: Stacie Renne

Each video focuses on a different aspect of renewable energy: from understanding solar powered homes, to what it’s like to work installing solar panels, and perhaps most importantly, how energy activism can impact an equitable and sustainable future.

“Learning about your own skills and what you can contribute to your community is one of the first ways to understand environmental justice.” ~Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos, Youth Coordinator at Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light

Solar Storytelling came to life with the help of many hands. We want to thank our project partners AICHO, Stacie Renne, Height Advantages, Life with Vigor, and Diana Martos Solorzano with the North Central States Regional Council for Carpenters; as well as our featured professionals, Bob Blake, Nestor Gomez Jimenez, and Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos.

Watch the Solar Storytelling video series below, or visit Outside the Box’s YouTube channel to let us know what you think!


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