High Stepping Through the Neighborhood
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While Carney is focused on Tennessee, research shows that his experiences in Nashville reflect national trends. In , Deborah Sunter was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, working on electricity grid modeling when her work took her in an unexpected direction. She was mining the massive trove of data behind Google's Project Sunroof , a website that helps homeowners figure out the costs and benefits of installing rooftop solar.
Rooftop solar refers to solar installations on top of buildings, usually homes or businesses, versus utility-scale solar farms built on vast tracts of land. Project Sunroof used Google Earth imagery to analyze more than 60 million buildings across all 50 states, noting which buildings already had solar panels on them.
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By studying where there already were solar panels, Sunter thought she might be able to predict where they could be adopted in the future. She looked at U. To her surprise, population density wasn't among the most statistically significant factors. But race and ethnicity were. Given how much solar prices have fallen in recent years, Sunter sees these disparities as a kind of environmental injustice, akin to the placement of a toxic landfill near a poor neighborhood.
Now an assistant professor at Tufts University, Sunter is trying to figure out why minority communities are not adopting rooftop solar at the rates of white communities. One hypothesis is that people of color are less likely to know anyone working in the solar industry. The Solar Foundation, along with the Solar Energy Industries Association, published a diversity report earlier this year that found that executive leadership in solar companies is almost exclusively white men.
It also found that women and African Americans are underrepresented in the industry. The solar census found that 7. The industry association has called on solar companies to diversify, calling it a business imperative. Compare that to a quarter of Hispanic-majority census tracts and only one-fifth of white-majority census tracts.
In Nashville, Carney doesn't know of any black household — aside from his own — that has installed solar. That troubles him, given what he knows about black neighborhoods in Nashville. Many residents, including his own grandmother, face high energy burdens, meaning they spend a large share of their income heating and cooling their homes.
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And when the houses are old, they're less efficient," he says. Or it's old and sagging and not doing what it used to do. Roofs may need to be updated. HVAC units [may be] out of whack. Carney says all of this contributes to monthly utility bills running in the hundreds of dollars — and to a sense of helplessness.
The conversation is always about how high my bill is. People almost get into a competition. It's like a sad competition" about who has the highest bill, he says. Through advocacy work over the past few years at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and now at his own clean energy consulting business , Carney has tried to steer the conversation elsewhere. And then there's his project at Whites Creek High School , a majority-black, majority-low-income public school that is a seven-minute drive from his home in north Nashville.
While a graduate student in , Carney had the idea to build a solar array somewhere in the community as an educational model — a conversation starter of sorts. By providence, he says, the local high school turned out to be the perfect spot; it's home to several career academies aimed at giving students exposure to fields such as community health, automotive technology and alternative energy.
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Van Clief spent much of his senior year working alongside Carney on the project, calculating the depth of the steel posts that hold up the frame, pouring concrete for those posts, building the frame and installing the pound panels, a task that required no small amount of acrobatics. Seeing the solar array take shape, other students would drop by to ask questions and help out.
Carney's message to students goes beyond that. He talks a lot about job opportunities in clean energy and tells them they can absolutely take part. Right now all you need is knowledge. You need to understand how it works. And you need to have faith in yourself to go after it.
But he knows that rooftop solar is a hard sell in Tennessee right now. It's part of a bloc of Southern states that, unlike much of the country, has not adopted mandates promoting renewable energy. And while the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally owned power supplier, once offered generous economic incentives for installing rooftop solar, it no longer does so.
When we do that, everyone benefits, even those who can't afford or don't want to install personal solar panels. Still, Carney looks for signs of hope where he can find them. Solar technology is steadily getting better and cheaper, and lots of people are already seeing the benefits through lower electricity bills but not everyone. In black and Hispanic neighborhoods, there is far less solar than in white neighborhoods. He was getting a group of teenagers to haul solar panels from a storage garage to a grassy slope on the edge of school property.
HSU: This spring, Jason Carney was finishing up his dream project, his baby - a solar installation paid for by grants and donations, designed and built largely by students; students he's pretty sure wouldn't have otherwise been interested in renewable energy. He tells me about one of the kids, Daniel Van Clief. It was nothing, right? I mean, you can elaborate on that, Daniel.
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What were you saying? HSU: Van Clief spent much of his senior year working on this - everything from calculating how deep the posts for the frame had to be to cutting the steel and pouring cement and now climbing a ladder and throwing himself over the top of the whole thing to secure the panels. In fact, he wants to work just like this alongside his mentor. Hence, Pittsburgh Public Schools board decided that students living East of Negley will attend Westinghouse but can opt out in 30 days and attend the default Pittsburgh Milliones, University Preparatory School which faced increased enrollment.
Projected enrollment for Westinghouse was to be students. But in the early fall of , students have signed up.
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By November , the three principals that started the school year at Westinghouse were gone and the district also made an announcement that the single-gender operations would end in early The ACLU and others made threats of looming legal challenges and rather than go to court, the district decided that changes were the more prudent pathway for the future of the school. Westinghouse offers Culinary Arts and Cosmetology as part of its school-within-a-school programs.
A summer program allows students in the Academy to work with several colleges and universities. The Business and Finance Academy teaches students the skills needed in the financial services field, preparing students for further work in college or in the job market.
Students are provided with training in the computer skills used most frequently in the business world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Westinghouse High School disambiguation. Westinghouse High School. United States historic place. National Register of Historic Places. City of Pittsburgh Historic Structure. This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability or notability policies.
Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they are notable AND alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. July Discover PPS. Pittsburgh Public Schools. Retrieved August 10, National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved July 4, Retrieved May 13, National Park Service.