Melanie Santiago-Mosier is someone you should know about. She is the Vote Solar Access & Equity Director and was awarded the competitive Advocacy Award during the 7th annual U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Women in Clean Energy Symposium, a distinct award that recognizes Santiago-Mosier for her impact advancing clean energy through policy leadership. C3E is a prestigious program of the Department of Energy, in collaboration with MIT, Texas A&M, and Stanford, that honors outstanding women in clean energy. The award ceremony was held today at Stanford University.
“It’s an honor to be recognized in this year’s cohort of C3E awardees,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier. “I’ve had the privilege of working with women whose tireless support and mentorship has been a source of inspiration throughout my career, and today I’m humbled to be among distinguished leaders committed to the success of women and excited about the opportunity to use this honor as a springboard for continuing to support women in clean energy.”
We’ll get to her background in a minute, but first know this: Based on a deep personal commitment to advancing women of color in the solar industry, Santiago-Mosier will invest the $8,000 C3E-awarded prize money in the next edition of The Solar Foundation’s U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, due for release in spring 2019. This updated study will provide the latest data on women, people of color, and veterans in the solar workforce, along with best practices and model policies on diversity and inclusion. This study will also include a detailed section on women of color in the solar industry.
“Melanie is a force and we are so honored that she is choosing to use her award to support our research on a diverse and inclusive solar workforce,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “This award gives well-deserved recognition to Melanie’s tireless efforts to make the benefits of solar energy accessible to everyone. Her generous contribution will help us produce an expanded Solar Industry Diversity Study that helps move the industry forward.”
Santiago-Mosier has been involved in clean energy policy and advocacy for over a decade and is accomplished in clean energy advocacy before state legislatures and public utility commissions, winning legislation, regulations, and other policy matters that advanced solar and clean energy. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Santiago-Mosier has taken on more than ten volunteer leadership and board roles over the past decade.
Santiago-Mosier helped launch Vote Solar’s Low-Income Solar Access program in 2016, and today her work focuses on four objectives: policy analysis and research, thought leadership, partnerships, and advancing statewide policy campaigns to increase access and equity. This policy work is also centered in Vote Solar’s broader vision for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), which Santiago-Mosier has helped to lead. This work includes commitments to programs, partnerships and internal practices that help advance a more just energy system.
Today she’s the Program Director of Access and Equity, an evolution of the program to encompass the broader scope of solar energy’s ability to equalize growing inequality in the U.S. by creating domestic jobs across a variety of education levels, lowering energy costs, and improving public health makes it a powerful tool for addressing these pressing economic and social issues. In an era when economic issues are a top priority for a majority of Americans, connecting the dots between solar and economic opportunity will further accelerate our transition to clean energy.
“We believe that everyone should have the ability to participate in, and benefit from, the clean energy economy, and we’re proud to have Melanie at the helm of our work to make that possible,” said Adam Browning, executive director at Vote Solar. “Melanie earned this award for her unwavering dedication to maximizing solar energy’s potential as a force for social good. Her leadership building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive clean energy future is inspiring, and all of us that are lucky enough to work with her are very happy she’s receiving this well-deserved recognition.”
— Solar Builder magazine