2014 Solar Symposium

Using Solar Energy to Generate Wealth in Lower Income Communities

On September 23rd, the GW Solar Institute hosted its 6th Annual Solar Symposium. This event convened policymakers, industry experts, business leaders, researchers, and students to discuss innovative solutions to today's biggest solar policy questions. The theme, "Using Solar Energy to Generate Wealth in Lower Income Communities," was the first national conference that brought together stakeholders and decision-makers from all over the country to share and develop the emerging solutions needed to achieve solar affordability and accessibility for all Americans.  

Panels and presentations focused on the best ways to broaden the solar market through creative incentive and financing solutions, elimination of legal and regulatory barriers, and integration of solar investments with existing federal low-income programs.

Agenda: 

Welcome  |  Session Video

Amit Ronen  - Director, GW Solar Institute 

Morning Spotlight: Trends in Solar Energy Technology and Costs​ |  Session Video

Rhone Resch - President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Presentation
Frank Sesno - Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University

Planet Forward Video Screening   |  Session Video

Morning Panel: Barriers to Low-Income Solar Investments​   |  Session Video

Moderator: Anya Schoolman - Director, Community Power Network and Founder of DC SUN​​

DeWitt Jones - Executive Vice President, Boston Community Capital Solar Energy
Jared Lang - Sustainable Development Manager, National Housing Trust
Erica Mackie - CEO and Co-Founder, GRID Alternatives
Thomas Lee - Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners

Innovation Showcase | Session Video

This dynamic segment will highlight emerging practices and ideas to accomplish more low-income solar installations. Presenters will use Ignite Style presentations (five minute max presentations with slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds) and take audience questions.

Moderator: Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director, Sustainability Collaborative, George Washington UniversityPresentations:

Beth Galante, Chief Energy Efficiency Officer, PosiGen LLC, Presentation
Making Third Party Ownership Work for Lower-Income Clients:   Find out how bundling energy efficiency and solar, government incentives, and standardization is helping low-income individuals, families, and businesses in Louisiana achieve greater fiscal autonomy and energy independence by lowering their energy consumption.

Annie Harper, Coordinator, Yale Community Carbon Fund, Presentation
Lessons Learned from Low-Income Retrofits:  Find out how the Yale Community Carbon Fund overcame implementation challenges to implement energy efficiency and renewable projects in low-income communities in Connecticut.

Bracken Hendricks, CEO, Urban Ingenuity, Presentation
PACE and Affordable Housing: Find out how Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing can fund clean energy retrofits and help solve broader financial challenges for affordable housing developers, owners, and property managers by providing a new capital solution for affordable housing preservation.

Jon Hillis, Vice President, Prospect Solar, Presentation
Combining Solar with Green Roofs: Find out how Green Roof Integrated PV in urban areas like DC can take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between solar panels and green roof plants, alleviate competition for roof space, and address energy concerns and storm water drainage issues that are prevalent in larger cities.

Hannah Masterjohn, Program Director of New Markets, VoteSolar, Presentation
Taking Shared Solar Nationwide: Find out how shared solar is expanding nationwide, how it differs from green tariffs, and how different states are attempting to use the policy as a tool to address barriers to low-income solar investments. 

Networking Lunch

Afternoon Opening Remarks  |  Session Video

Steven Lerman - Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, George Washington University

Afternoon Panel: The Role of Government Leadership​  |  Session Video

Following the substantial public investments for clean energy projects from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, major new influxes of public funds look to be in increasingly short supply. This panel explores how credit enhancements and the tools of public finance are being used creatively across federal agencies, as well as through state and local innovations like State Green Banks, to leverage private capital and unlock critically needed clean energy projects around the country.  

Moderator: Bracken Hendricks - Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Mike Carr - Senior Advisor and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
Greg Hale - Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy & Finance, New York State Governor's Office
Ben Healey - Associate Director of Outreach, Connecticut's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority
Trisha Miller - Senior Advisor, Office of Economic Resilience, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk - Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Interactive Audience Program to Determine Action Agenda​  |  Session Video

Moderator: Jerry Bloom, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Todd Foley - Senior Vice President, American Council on Renewable Energy
Scott Sklar - President, The Stella Group, Ltd.
Carol Werner - Executive Director, Environmental and Energy Study Institute

Closing Remarks

Amit Ronen, Director, GW Solar Institute
Anya Schoolman, Director, Community Power Network and Founder of DC SUN​​