Hola! I’m Karla, Big Solar Co-op’s first Community Energy Local Coordinator, working alongside Community Energy Birmingham to meet a target of 1000 kW of new rooftop solar in Brum by 2023! In my role I’ll be the main point of contact for projects in Birmingham and coordinating our local volunteers. I guess this means in some ways you could think of me as the Brummie mini-Noël.
I’ve followed quite a wiggly path, starting out by studying Physics at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM) but switching to Maths after one too many boring lab classes. After finishing, I crossed over to the Faculty of Philosophy to study something that roughly translates to “Development and Interculturality Studies and Management” with a focus on Science and Technology Studies, which made me look at the context and complex relationships within and around technology and knowledge systems rather than science itself.
Alongside this, I was a research assistant at UNAM’s Institute of Renewable Energies (IER), working on a range of technical and social projects, which landed me on the concept of energy poverty (also known as fuel poverty). My latest project with IER involved working with rural households across central Mexico to co-develop a new index to measure energy poverty, and installing solar PV, solar thermal and other renewable energy solutions to improve their wellbeing.
This collaboration between Community Energy Birmingham and Big Solar Coop is an exciting opportunity for me to enter the realm of energy from a different perspective. I’m particularly interested in the shaping imaginaries we have around solar, and how we can serve as disruptions to a traditionally unjust energy system!