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.
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
Self-paced course with rolling enrollment
Enrollment is currently available free of charge to organizations interested in learning more about Community Solar and as a pre-requisite for the Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab instructor-led course. Complete the application/registration form and someone will reach out to provide access within a few days. Email Laurie Smith for more information.
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.
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 Sustainability Advisors 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).
There are two options for enrollment into the Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab:
- Community Power Accelerator Learning Lab stand-alone courses are full for 2023. Information on the 2024 courses will be posted when available. Contact Laurie Smith for more information.
- The course is available as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize. If your organization is interested in competing in this prize process, be sure to visit the prize webpage and carefully review the rules and eligibility criteria. Winners of Phase 1 will have the opportunity to take the Learning Lab course in January 2024.
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.
This program has been developed by Housing Sustainability Advisors 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.