“I advocate for renewable energy for everyone, for it to be a basic human right, for everyone to have a job in this industry and be part of this transition.” – Robert Blakekoski

Robert Blake is the founder, owner, and CEO of Solar Bear, a full-service solar installation company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Solar Bear—Gizis-o-Makwa in Ojibwe—is dedicated to accelerating Turtle Island’s transition to a renewable energy future. In addition to his work at Solar Bear, Robert is an adjunct professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, teaching Science, Technology, & Environmental Policy and Tribal Energy Transitions. He is also the Executive Director of the Native Sun Community Power Development, a native-led nonprofit that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and equitable energy transition.

Robert joins us today to share his journey as a renewable energy entrepreneur and Solar Bear’s social and environmental impact practices. He discusses the most impactful climate and environmental justice legislation made to date. He explains how renewable energy has become more financially accessible for entrepreneurs and consumers and describes how the renewable energy industry has grown over the years. Robert also highlights renewable energy as a human right and advises diverse entrepreneurs who want to enter—or are currently working in—the renewable energy market.

This week on Breaking Barriers:

  • Robert’s journey as a renewable energy entrepreneur and what inspired him to found Solar Bear
  • Finding inspiration in the everyday and making a better world for the next generation
  • The economic impact of small businesses on their local communities
  • Why it’s important for diverse entrepreneurs to enter the renewable energy market
  • The Inflation Reduction Act and its provisions for climate and environmental justice and tax credits for clean energy projects
  • Solar Bear’s biggest customer base
  • The growth of the renewable energy market
  • Fighting mass incarceration with renewable energy
  • Changes and innovations in solar technology
  • Robert’s advice to diverse entrepreneurs in the renewable energy industry and making an impact in the community

Resources Mentioned:

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