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Wednesday, January 11, 2017



Job Posting Title:   Grad RA CURA CAP–Solar Commons: Designing Community Trust Solar Ownership For Social Equity

Position Number:        201703
Job Code:                    9521
Job ID:                        

Desired Start Date:     1/12/17

Job Open Date:          

Total % Appointment:  25%
Salary: $18.58

This is a 195 hour appointment for Spring Term (01/12/17 - 05/28/17).

+ Must be enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program at the U of M.

+Ability to work with a team of community and academic legal innovators
+ Degree/pursuing degree in law, policy, community development, planning, natural resource management, environmental studies, American Studies, Anthropology, ScienceTechnology&EnvironmentalPolicy, History
+Good writing skills
+Good research skills
+Experience with writing reports
+Experience reading and writing legal documents (or: ability to learn this on the job)

Job Duties

Total Percent Appointment: 25%
Salary: $18.58

Using work of Nobel prize economist Elinor Ostrom, this project applies ancient commons design principles to solve a key problem of the modern clean energy economy: the sun shines for everyone, but the benefits of solar energy technology in the US are not reaching low-income households.  The Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) will work with a team lead by a legal anthropologist (Director of the Solar Commons project), a Minnesota community solar builder and nonprofit dedicated to poverty reduction (Rural Renewable Energy Alliance -RREAL), and students and professors from the Energy Clinic of one of the US’s premier environmental law schools--the Vermont Law School.  The GRA will assist the team in creating a new model of community solar using community trust ownership (Solar Commons) to capture local wealth from the sun’s energy and deliver it’s benefits to underserved communities.  To create the model, the team will 1) research community trust ownership from the medieval English common law tradition to the contemporary US Community Land Trust model used for natural resource conservation and affordable housing in Minnesota; 2) apply historical knowledge of community trust ownership to distributed solar energy technology ownership in Minnesota; 3) prepare executable documents for a Solar Commons, a 40kW community trust-owned solar demonstration project in Minnesota with RREAL as the trustee delivering benefits of solar electricity sales to local Native American beneficiaries—a native American women’s homeless shelter/a tribal energy assistance office; 4) write a feasibility study for RREAL outlining the legal obligations of being a Solar Commons trustee in Minnesota entails; 5) create legal templates that can iterate Solar Commons trust ownership in the US using the Minnesota documents.

The Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) will work closely with this team to complete the above tasks during the spring semester of 2017.  This will entail: researching historical and contemporary laws and policies related to trust ownership, solar energy, and nonprofit community benefit organizations; assisting with the needs of the legal team as they create executable legal documents for RREAL as Minnesota’s first Solar Commons trustee; assisting in the writing of a feasibility report to serve RREAL and future community partners who wish to be Solar Commons trustees.

+Research historical and Minnesota state law/policy describing the obligations and stipulations for community trust ownership
+Collaborate with Solar Commons legal team to identify legal examples of community-trust owned photovoltaic arrays that deliver an income stream from solar electricity sale to specific low-income communities
+Assist in writing feasibility study of RREAL as Solar Commons Trustee/AICHO-Gimaajii Homeless Shelter as Beneficiary
+Assist in creating draft of Solar Commons Trust Deed with RREAL and AICHO/Gimaajii Program
+Assist in creating draft of Solar Commons Solar Services Agreement for RREAL and Public Entity

How to Apply
For more information, contact: Prof. Kathryn Milun  kmilun@d.umn.edu

Application Instructions: Applications taken until filled. Apply online only via the U of M Employment System by submitting resume, cover letter, and three references. Materials submitted other than through this website will not be considered.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Activities" page and uploading documents there.


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About the U of M

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research.  Located at the heart of one of the nation's most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.