Since the recording of this interview, Chandra Farley has accepted the position of Chief Sustainability Officer within the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience, where her team has been tasked with assessing Atlanta’s sustainability plans, goals, and programs including updating the city’s comprehensive climate and energy plan in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable development goals (SDG’s), creating the first comprehensive food systems plan, creating a sustainable procurement strategy, as well as supporting the city to capture, utilize, and leverage federal resources from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and especially the historic climate legislation – the Inflation Reduction Act.
In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Chandra Farley about how climate change has impacted the energy industry and how she has managed it through initiatives such as ReSolve and the Good Energy Project, which additionally involves “equity-centered delivery infrastructure”. Chandra gives us an insight into her life as a full-time cheerleader, as an architect, and then as a clean energy business woman focused on environmental justice. She also shares how being raised by her grandparents taught her to be committed to her community and how she used that as her principal purpose on her projects.
Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest-grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice-chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11, and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.
Chandra Farley serves as the CEO of ReSolve, a consulting practice with a mission to increase the impact of climate justice initiatives by creating an equity-centered delivery infrastructure. Farley also founded the “Good Energy Project '' with a vision to connect the transformational power of Black Women to the movement for just and equitable clean energy. With a career history at Southface Energy Institute and Partnership for Southern Equity, Farley is well-known in energy, utility, and climate justice circles. She has formed national partnerships to improve the environmental and financial sustainability of nonprofit facilities and developed equity-centered strategies to advance energy and climate justice at local, regional, and national scales. Farley is the Co-Chair of the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice Advisory Board, chair of the Georgia NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Committee, a graduate of the EPA’s Environmental Justice Academy, President Emeritus of the Environmental Justice Academy Alumni Association, and serves on the Board of Directors for Community Movement Builders, Georgia Conservation Voters Education Fund, the People’s Justice Council/Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and Greenlink Analytics.
Insights from this Episode
- Chandra’s youth and experience at Kentucky’s University
- How did Chandra go from cheerleading full time to being involved with solar
- The projects she developed while being at the Environmental Justice Academy
- How the pandemic influenced the creation of ReSolve
- The relation between the Good Energy Project and ReSolve
- The importance of exposure for Chandra
- Chandra’s thoughts on mentorship
- What the Public Service Commission is
- Chandra’s candidacy for the Public Service Commission
- The insights of the Inflation Reduction Act
- Chandra’s experience as a black woman in the clean energy business field
Quotes from the Show:
- “Community-based organizations and grassroots organizations are so used to being under-resourced that they’re always operating in a level of scarcity, not enough resources but do incredibly amazing things with what they got”- Chandra Farley in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “We were talking yesterday just about how difficult it is to connect people to issues of energy and environment…its like infrastructure, nobody is thinking about it until it breaks”- Chandra Farley in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “When you have decision makers who don’t want to look past what a utility is telling them, who is only set up to make money, they’re delivered a very important resource and they are granted their monopoly because of that”- Chandra Farley in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “I never, in a million years, would’ve thought, even five years ago, that I would be able to be in conversations or spaces where I can talk about white supremacy, where I can talk about racism, where I can talk about the impact of the patriarchy and how those play out on this clean energy economy that’s been emerging”- Chandra Farley in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
LinkedIn: Sharon Lee
Facebook: Sharon Lee
LinkedIn: Chandra Farley
Twitter: Chandra Farley
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.