Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab

image of boston solar development project

 

Are you interested in becoming a community solar developer? 

The Center for Impact Finance at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy is offering free online training for non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and mission-driven organizations interested in building out a business line to develop community solar projects.

The Community Power Learning Lab includes two virtual courses:

Introduction to Community Solar

This self-paced, single-module course is for organizations that wish to understand community solar or to partner with community solar developers for a limited number of projects.

The Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab

This intensive, seven-module course is instructor-led and features guest lecturers and expert speakers. This course will deliver practical information to guide community-based, mission-driven, and low-income-focused organizations in how to develop community power projects that serve low-income communities and further environmental and social justice. The course consists of seven learning modules as well as weekly, instructor-led Zoom sessions. To participate, you must have completed the Introduction to Community Solar self-paced course, including the self-assessment exercise and written assignment at the end of the course, and be accepted into the course.

 

Photo courtesy of Resonant Energy

The Learning Lab is part of the National Community Solar Partnership, a national effort funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to capture the community benefits of community solar. By completing the Learning Lab training, you will become part of a national network of developers, financiers, and community organizations.  

flowchart for solar training

 

Introduction to Community Solar (self-paced virtual course)

  1. Complete the application for Introduction to Community Solar. 
  2. A UNH staff member will reach out with directions for your enrollment.

By the end of this self-paced introductory course, graduates will be able to:

  • Describe the basics of community solar technology
  • Describe how solar can be accessible to everyone, including people with limited resources and people of color, and how solar can benefit these communities in a non-extractive way
  • Identify the specific value-creation opportunities in the solar development process/ value-added roles in the solar development industry
  • Evaluate your organization’s strengths and weaknesses as a potential solar developer
  • Evaluate your organization’s skills to be able to play a role in the community solar development process
  • Champion solar development within your organization as an opportunity to meet business and mission objectives
  • Primary audience for the Learning Lab is non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and mission-driven (community co-benefits focused) organizations interested in building out a business line to develop community solar projects creating community co-benefits such as energy bill savings, climate resilience, workforce development, and community wealth-building and empowerment.
  • Secondary Audiences (for Introduction to Community Solar)
    • Organizations seeking to understand community solar
    • Organizations with land seeking to partner with community solar developers, including the following types of organizations: Affordable Housing developers, commercial land and real estate owners, non-profit organizations that own real estate (such as churches), government organizations that own real estate, community organizations that are starting up an energy cooperative to develop solar.

Self-paced course with rolling enrollment

Contact Laurie Smith at laurie.smith@unh.edu with any questions.

 

Earn a digital badge you can share on LinkedIn and other social networks!

The University of New Hampshire will provide a digital badge to participants who have satisfied all course expectations as a Community Solar Development Professional.  

Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab (instructor-led virtual course)

Please note the additional steps for acceptance into the instructor-led, corhort-based, Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab.

  1. Ensure all work is complete in your Introduction to Community Solar course, including your organizational statement. 
  2. Review the course timeline and make sure you can commit to the dates and course work (6-8 hours per week plus a 90-minute zoom session).
  3. Complete the Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab Application (available at the end of the self-paced introductory course).
  4. Join the National Community Solar Partnership for free. 
  5. Staff from UNH and partner organizations will review your materials and reach out to notify you of your standing. 

By the end of this instructor-led course, graduates will be able to:

  • Determine the appropriate role for their organization on the development team based on market need, partnership opportunities, and organizational capacity and appetite.
  • Assemble a development team capable of sponsoring, financing, developing, and managing a community solar project. 
  • Package a viable community solar project.
  • Structure a creditworthy community solar project and pitch it for financing. 

This virtual course will be taught by experienced practitioners from Housing Partnership Sustainability Solutions and eight other expert organizations in the community solar field (Cooperative Energy Futures, Enerwealth Solutions, Groundswell, GRID Alternatives, Peoples Solar Energy Fund, SunWealth, Solar One, and Solar United Neighbors).

  • Primary audience for the Learning Lab is non-profit organizations, cooperatives, and mission-driven (community co-benefits focused) organizations interested in building out a business line to develop community solar projects creating community co-benefits such as energy bill savings, climate resilience, workforce development, and community wealth-building and empowerment.
  • Secondary Audiences (for Introduction to Community Solar)
    • Organizations seeking to understand community solar
    • Organizations with land seeking to partner with community solar developers, including the following types of organizations: Affordable Housing developers, commercial land and real estate owners, non-profit organizations that own real estate (such as churches), government organizations that own real estate, community organizations that are starting up an energy cooperative to develop solar.

Cohort 1: Fall 2022

Cohort 2: Spring 2023

Contact Laurie Smith at laurie.smith@unh.edu with any questions.

This program has been developed by HP Sustainability and the Center for Impact Finance at the Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Agreement Number 36483 and Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.