Michiana Area Council of Governments (IN)
Leah Thill is a SolSmart Advisor for the Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) and provides assistance to Goshen, South Bend, and Nappanee, Indiana. Prior to becoming an Advisor, Leah worked at the Indiana University Office of Sustainability and as an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow. Leah holds a Master of Public Affairs and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from Indiana University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Goshen College.
What drives your interest in working on solar energy issues?
I am motivated to empower people to participate in the transition to clean energy at the local level. Solar energy gives individuals and communities greater energy independence while benefiting local economies. I'm also inspired to do this work because I believe that actions at the local level can make solar energy more accessible and affordable.
What impact do you feel the SolSmart program and you as an Advisor will have on the communities with which you will work?
I am excited to bring a wealth of experience and best practices from other communities to help reduce barriers for residents who want to install solar, while reducing the administrative burden for municipal employees.
What aspects of your work plan are you most excited about working on?
I am looking forward to clarifying the processes for solar development within local governments and then making that information more transparent and accessible to the public. This can increase demand for solar and assure local solar developers that the area is solar-friendly and open for business.
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
As I recently completed my Master's degrees, I am privileged to have this opportunity to launch my career by gaining in-depth and on-the-ground experience with solar development from a local government perspective. I will be well equipped to bring both experience and knowledge to other communities in the future.