Equitable Community Solar and EV Smart Communities

Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 2:00–3:30 pm

Walter Library Room 101
117 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

About the Event

This seminar included presentations highlighting community solar and electric vehicle (EV) smart communities.

Gabe Chan of the U's Humphrey School of Public Affairs provided an overview of community solar—solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers—in Minnesota and elsewhere. He discussed the features and benefits of community solar, the amount of solar developed as part of these projects, and how equity, climate justice, and environmental and economic benefits can be achieved in a community solar framework.

Then, Diana McKeown of the Great Plains Institute (GPI) discussed the upcoming launch of GPI's EV smart communities certification program. The program, which includes a track for tribal nations and a separate one for cities, is based on pilot efforts conducted as part of the Cities Charging Ahead initiative in 2021. The certification program, modeled in part after SolSmart, is based on a framework of best practices to provide communities with a roadmap to EV readiness.

The seminar was held in conjunction with a joint meeting of the CTS Environment and Energy in Transportation Council and the CTS Transportation Infrastructure Council.

Event Materials


Gabe Chan
Gabe Chan

Gabe Chan is the principal investigator of the Chan Lab and an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He serves as director of graduate study for the Humphrey School's Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program. He is also a faculty associate and member of the Faculty Leadership Council at the U's Institute on the Environment and affiliate faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to joining the U of M in 2015, Chan received a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, where he was a research fellow in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, Chan received BS degrees in political science and earth, atmospheric, and planetary science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Diana McKeown
Diana McKeown

Diana McKeown is the metro Clean Energy Resource Team (CERT) director at the Great Plains Institute. McKeown has led the metro region of CERTs since October 2007, during which time she has coordinated and participated in a number of clean energy initiatives. These include Apple Valley’s Better Energy Program, Neighborhood Energy Service, and an energy makeover of the Lao Family Community Center in partnership with Xcel Energy. McKeown has also collaborated on the launch of a number of projects and programs, including GreenStep Cities, Minnesota Schools Cutting Carbon, and a variety of energy savings measures through CERTified Campaigns. McKeown has coordinated successful events, forums, and tours, including the annual Brake for Breakfast gathering and the SolarWorks workshop series. Prior to joining the CERTs team, McKeown worked for over 14 years at Clean Water Action, where she gained experience with media work, grassroots organizing, campaign planning, lobbying, and fundraising. She has a state certificate in residential energy auditing from Dunwoody and holds a BS in environmental studies from the University of Minnesota.

More Information

Please contact Samantha Hahn-Douville at snhahn@umn.edu.