By Yao Sun, Ph.D., Avanish Kulkarni, & Sania Murtuza
As the global emphasis on sustainability grows every day, it is crucial to assess different alternatives for energy that do not require burning fossil fuels and nonrenewable energies in general. The research team conducted a review of relevant scholarly research in preparation for launching the community-based online crowdsourcing events.
Overall, the literature revealed that the accessibility of renewable energy, particularly solar energy, has been rapidly growing thanks to technological advancements. However, the gap continues to widen between the rich and the poor in terms of adopting renewable energy. This leads to reduced accessibility to renewable energy among under-resourced and disadvantaged populations despite their great need for the cost reductions offered by solar power.
According to prior research, education, awareness, and experience of solar and renewable energy were the primary factors associated with the success of such programs. Financial considerations were also a key factor, with the low-income community’s major concern being the cost associated with utilizing renewable energy. In addition, various barriers to low-income households’ access to solar energy included their lack of representation in policy generation, distrust toward local commercial organizations, and lack of technical support.
Bearing prior research findings in mind, the research team is planning to work with crowdsourcing platforms to launch participatory events to determine the state-specific social, financial, and political factors that influence the effectiveness of New Jersey’s solar energy projects. This work aims to remove social, financial, and political barriers and pave the way to a successful implementation of solar energy programs in New Jersey.
Avanish Kulkarni is an undergraduate student currently pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and Sania Murtuza is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and both are attending school at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).