Prepare for stories of light, power, and difference. This is a show about people, pride of place, centering voices from the margins in fun stories of light.
by Frey Brownson, PhD // @heliotactic
Bio: Inclusivity and Belonging by Design.
Dr. B is an internationally recognized solar systems expert and Director of the Solar Ecology Program at Penn State University in the USA. Over the past decade, Dr. B has offered new perspectives on light, collective action, and diversity practices. As a systems thinker in engineering with exceptional communication skills, they deliver high-performance leadership, empathy, equity, and enthusiasm to all of their creative works.
Their transformative approaches to practitioner education and common pool resource management reconfigure solar photovoltaic project development in terms of community-led practices: centering local “pride of place”, and shared community values and purpose.
- 20 years: quantitative analysis and data visualization
- 13+ years: systems engineer, team manager, director for solar project management, solar research, and design
- 13+ years: coalition builder, group facilitator, mentor, and storyteller
- Trained 1100+ engineers/economists in solar project development
Dr. B leveraged their solar expertise and trust among their community to contribute directly to Penn State’s physical assets. Three examples include:
- 2015 Student Gift Bus Stop (team reviewer and co-designer of the sign installed at Beaver Stadium bus stop)
- 2017 Solar Farm off of Orchard Rd, contributing the first sizable local PV power to the UP campus ever.
- 2019 Solar Farm in Franklin County, contributing 25% of Penn State’s power portfolio for all campuses and saving PSU at least $14m over the next 25 years.
So, what is SOLAR TRANSFUSION? Dr. B invites us to read (because reading is essential!) these descriptions below, so that the meaning of SOLAR TRANSFUSION comes across. Thanks to these dictionary style entries, we can think about these more abstract concepts in a new context and let them coalesce in our mind.
1. Across; on the other side; beyond: transpolar
2. Through: transcontinental
3. Change; transfer: transliterate
4. Having a pair of identical atoms on opposite sides of two atoms linked by a double bond. Used of a geometric isomer: trans-butane
FUS•SION [fyoos’•zhen] n.
1. The act or procedure of liquefying or melting by the application of heat.
2. The liquid or melted state induced by heat.
3.1. The merging of different elements into a union: the fusion of copper and zinc to form brass, the difficult fusion of conflicting political factions.
3.2. A union resulting from fusing: A fusion of religion and politics emerged.
4. Physics A nuclear reaction in which atomic nuclei combine to form more massive nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy.
5. Music that blends jazz elements and the heavy repetitive rhythms of rock. Also called jazz-fusion, jazz-rock.
6. A style of cooking that combines ingredients and techniques from very different cultures or countries.
TRANS•FUSE [trans-fyoos’] tr. v.
1. To pour (something) out of one vessel into another.
2. To cause to be instilled or imparted: transfused a love of learning to her children.
3. To diffuse through; permeate: a glade that was transfused with sunlight.
4. Medicine To administer a transfusion of or to: transfuse blood into a patient; transfuse a patient.
TRANS•GENDER [trans-jen’der, tranz] adj.
Relating to or being a person, whose gender identity does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
INT. COFFEE SHOP – MORNING
IMAGINE: you’re in the coffee shop with your headphones, the sun is shining
through that glass window, and you have a steaming, good cup of caffeine. You
select a session (an episode) from The Solar Transfusion, hosted by Dr. Frey
Brownson (rhymes with “they”, their pronoun). Prepare for stories of light, power,
and difference. This is a show about people, pride of place, centering voices
from the margins in fun stories of light, personal interviews, and regenerative
group discussions. This is a show pumping some daylight into what matters to
people at the margins, and why that should matter to you and your approach to
solar energy, sustainability, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Welcome, welcome friends! If you are here, you surely belong, to an action-provoking audio session lighting the way to your own collective Energy transition and to an exciting transformation of the Solar Industry just hungry for a transfusion of diverse voices and stories. This is your transgender nonbinary host They Frey, Heliotactic, Dr. B, the Archive of Light!
You might call me the reluctant podcaster— feedin’ you stories of the Solar Revolution. Because who else will do that? I am the vision mixer of light and sound, cutting stories together/apart like old school film editing. My world of light, power, and difference matters to me, through the telling of stories. Stories pull together systems thinking, design, risk, and building relationships. And hopefully, they will soon also matter to you!
My method extends from my work as a queer engineering professor of over 13 years. I work to entertain while mixing perspectives and fields of study—sometimes I might melt our minds a little bit with fusions of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics—STEAM. No nerd ID needed here, friends. We’re all here for the fun.
Each session of the Solar Transfusion is unique and diffractive, infused with oxygen to breathe when you’re down, accessing the full potential of marginalized communities to fight the oppression of the status quo. And some core iron to ground us as we transfer that fusion of sonic solar energy into your earphones. You are gonna hear personal expressions of identity, of relationships, stories of place and space and belonging. We ask you to please take the time to slow down, keep your ears on, with your mind open.
Expect to be intrigued and entertained...with a little brain melt on the side—because we roll like that. Think of this as your lifeline to solar from the margins, your big lift of light from lots of spaces and times. You might hear punchy interviews with voices you won’t hear otherwise, centering new voices from our solar family and friends. Hey, that might even be you!!
Shout out to all my family and friends and conspirators in the Big Fab Solar Collab! Our little laboratory for sharing feminist anti-colonial practices of light, hidden in the windowless basement of a school near you.
Just a quick heads up too: we are not using STP time to talk about the newest solar technologies, we are not here to talk solar investment strategies, or portfolio management of assets, or entrepreneurship. Been there friends, done that.
We are here to share personal stories, touching real lives, and maybe even affecting the way that you think about light, diversity, and the pursuit of belonging. To design technologies relevant to each region requires knowledge of social context, identity, and place. But! If you want a competitive edge on solar industry business, from an unexpected quarter, then you had better listen in. We have some recommendations for you!
Do YOU want to hear more? Are you ready for some fun? Then let’s ride...Welcome again, to the Solar TransFusion. If you are here, friend, you belong. Giddyup.
Patreon Link and Attribution
I would love for you to become a patron of The SolarTransfusion on Patreon! Look up the show here. The STP Theme Song, is “GIDDYUP!”, an up-tempo cowboy-jazz fusion intro, with a funkifide big band sound. Used with permission by composer Rick Hirsch and performed by Rick Hirsch’s Big Ol’ Ban. You can hear it here on YouTube: https:// youtu.be/EYB_KfVW4D8
Note: The text for this article is provided by Dr. Frey Brownson. We've only re-arranged the order.