Looking Back on my DCSEU Solar Internship
By Simon Kahan, Solar intern for the DCSEU
When looking for internships over the summer, I had a few goals in mind. I wanted to find a job that impacted the surrounding community, promoted sustainability, and made tangible differences in people’s lives. That’s why a job at the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) piqued my interest. A friend of mine recommended I apply after I expressed my passion for sustainability and energy efficiency. It seemed like a good fit, so I applied the next morning and received an offer to intern over the summer.
I was assigned to work in the solar department to help coordinate Solar for All, a program of the Department of Energy & Environment. Solar for All focuses on installing solar panels for income-qualified DC residents to provide free, clean, and renewable energy. By providing solar energy, the DCSEU helps alleviate burdensome utility bills for DC residents while at the same time helping the District reach its goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2032.
Working on the program was daunting at first, I didn’t know what to expect, and I quickly realized how many moving pieces it involved. The list of subcontractors, project files, and meetings to attend almost seemed overwhelming—but also exhilarating and exciting, because I realize that I am a part of an organization that is truly sparking positive change.
Throughout my experience here at the DCSEU I have had to learn data management, how to organize lots of information in a comprehensive and effective way, and how to conduct public outreach. I attended multiple DC events to promote the Solar for All program to as many people as I could, and I even got to drive the company car—a decision my supervisor likely regrets.
This internship has continuously required me to think dynamically to keep up with the fast-paced nature it demands. I constantly need to adapt to what the circumstance requires, and the relentless pace of the Solar for All program is motivating. There is always more work to be done, and whether it’s working with subcontractors, providing DC residents with cheaper utility bills, or promoting clean, renewable energy, the DCSEU has provided me with an internship that always keeps me on my toes.