2014 Solar Symposium

Using Solar Energy to Generate Wealth in Lower Income Communities

On September 23, 2014, 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.

Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to network, use the event app to ask questions, engage with leading researchers during the poster session, learn more about Symposium videos and infographics, and share their thoughts during Planet Forward's video interviews with industry stakeholders. 

Following the 2014 Solar Symposium, the GW Solar Institute released Bridging the Solar Income Gap, a working paper that provides specific recommendations for how to expand solar energy in lower income communities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 9:30am

Agenda

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Opening Remarks | 2014 Solar Symposium

  • Speaker
    Amit Ronen
    Director, GW Solar Institute

    Amit Ronen is the Director of the GW Solar Institute and a Professor at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration at the George Washington University. In this capacity he focuses on the economic, technical, and public policy issues associated with the development and deployment of solar energy.

    Prior to this position, Mr. Ronen served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, leveraging her membership on the Energy, Finance, and Commerce Committees to help enact clean energy tax incentives, financing instruments, and research and development authorizations that catalyzed hundreds of billions of dollars of new energy related investments. For example, he was a key strategist and implementer behind the landmark Cantwell-Ensign bipartisan clean energy tax incentives package that established the eight-year Investment Tax Credit and removed the $2,000 cap on residential solar installations. Mr. Ronen also authored and championed Senator's Cantwell innovative bipartisan climate bill, the CLEAR Act, which offered a centrist alternative to unwieldy and divisive cap-and-trade proposals.

    Previously, Mr. Ronen held positions at the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

    Mr. Ronen received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College and a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Both degrees focused on Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.

Morning Spotlight: Trends in Solar Energy Technology and Costs

Morning Spotlight Talk and Planet Forward Video Screening | 2014 Solar Symposium

Solar panel prices have dropped 80% in the last five years, dramatically changing the economics and feasibility of going solar. 

 

Long-time solar industry leader Rhone Resch will talk about the rapidly changing solar energy landscape and where he sees solar going in the future.

 

Following his presentation, Rhone sits down with Frank Sesno for a one-on-one interview.

  • Speaker
    Rhone Resch
    President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

    Rhone Resch is the President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade organization for America’s solar energy industry. During his nine-year tenure at SEIA, solar has experienced record-breaking growth, becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States with more than 6,100 companies and nearly 120,000 employees.

     

    Often referred to as the “voice of solar energy in America,” Mr. Resch is the architect of SEIA’s strategic priorities designed to achieve a 10 GW annual market in the U.S. by 2015. Today, clean, affordable solar energy is generating enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes – including the White House – and its popularity is continuing to grow, with 9 out of 10 Americans supporting an expanded use of solar nationwide.
     

    As the head of SEIA – and the person responsible for all federal and state advocacy on behalf of the $12 billion U.S. solar energy industry – Mr. Resch helped to create the 30% solar investment tax credit, the 1603 Treasury Program, and scores of other forward-looking federal and state policies that have allowed the solar industry to grow and prosper, while helping our nation to reduce its dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.

     

    Known for having a finger on the pulse of Capitol Hill, Mr. Resch has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sector working on clean energy development and climate change issues. In addition to serving as vice president for the Natural Gas Supply Association, Rhone also served as program manager at the EPA's Climate Protection Division during the Clinton administration.

     

    Mr. Resch holds an M.P.A. in management from Syracuse University's Maxwell School, a Master of Environmental Engineering from SUNY Syracuse, and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Lisa and two children in a solar-powered house that provides 93 percent of their electricity.

  • Speaker
    Frank Sesno
    Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University

    Frank Sesno is director of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) at The George Washington University. He is an Emmy-award winning journalist and creator of PlanetForward.org, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability. He hosts and facilitates the Planet Forward Salon Series focusing on topics such as energy policy, green jobs, and food production. He has moderated events for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Bayer CropScience, Land O’Lakes Foundation, and National Geographic, among others.

    As SMPA director, Mr. Sesno leads a faculty of nearly two dozen world-class professors who research and teach journalism, political communication and the impact of digital media in international affairs. Sesno teaches classes on environmental multimedia reporting, ethics in journalism, documentary and ‘the art of the interview.’

    Inspired by his mother’s experience with Hospice, Sesno hosted the Hospice Foundation of America’s Continuing Education Series for seven years.

    Mr. Sesno's diverse career spans more than three decades, including 21 years at CNN where he served as White House correspondent, anchor, and Washington Bureau Chief. He has covered a diverse range of subjects, from politics and conventions to international summits and climate change. He has interviewed five U.S. presidents and literally thousands of political, business and civic leaders — ranging from Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and broadcast legend Walter Cronkite.

    Before joining CNN in 1984, Mr. Sesno worked as a radio correspondent at the White House and in London for the Associated Press. He has won several prestigious journalistic awards, including an Emmy, several cable ACE awards, and an Overseas Press Club Award. Mr. Sesno is a member of the Board of Trustees at Middlebury College, AmeriCares, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves as chair of the Posse Foundation Washington Advisory Board as well. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Middlebury College.

Presentations
Planet Forward Video Screening

Solar Can Help Lower Income Homeowners Pay the Bills

Attendees will view a screening of a short video produced by Planet Forward that provides a compelling narrative of low-income solar barriers and opportunities.

  • Speaker
Morning Panel: Barriers to Low-Income Solar Investments

Morning Panel: Barriers to Low-Income Solar Investments | 2014 Solar Symposium

Lower income Americans often face multiple market challenges to realizing the benefits of solar such as renting, living in multi-family buildings, holding lower credit scores, or depending on government support programs to cover their utility bills covered. A diverse panel of low-income solar pioneers will discuss these barriers and ways to overcome them.  

  • Session Moderator
    Anya Schoolman
    Director, Community Power Network and Founder of DC SUN

    Anya Schoolman is the Executive Director of Community Power Network, a national nonprofit that helps communities build and promote local renewable energy projects and policies.  Ms. Schoolman founded the Mt Pleasant Solar Coop in 2007 with her son Walter. As President of the she led a city-wide effort in Washington, DC to make solar accessible and affordable to all residents. She has assisted more than 300 homeowners in Washington DC to go solar and has helped foster the creation of 11 sister coops that joined together to form a city-wide organization called DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN). Ms. Schoolman is also the founder of the Community Power Network, where she manages programs to promote solar and local economic development. Community Power Network is currently supporting state projects called Maryland Sun (MD-SUN), West Virginia Sun (WV-SUN) and Virginia Sun (VA-SUN), as well as policies and project models for bringing solar to low-income households. In 2009 Ms. Schoolman was honored as the MD, DC, and VA Solar Energy Industries Association Solar Champion, as well as one of CALFinder's 10 Amazing Activists in the Name of Solar. In April 2014, Ms. Schoolman was selected as one of 10 White House Champions of Change for Solar Deployment for her groundbreaking work to deploy solar in the National Capital region. 

  • Speaker
    DeWitt Jones
    Executive Vice President, Boston Community Capital Solar Energy

    DeWitt (Dick) Jones is Executive Vice President of Boston Community Capital (BCC), a community development financial institution which has invested over $1 billion in low income communities, and President of BCC’s Boston Community Managed Assets and BCC Solar Energy Advantage (BCC Solar) affiliates.  He has served as a member of BCC’s leadership team since it was established in 1985.

    Mr. Jones leads and oversees BCC’s sustainable development activities. Under his leadership, BCC Solar has developed over 4 megawatts of solar on affordable housing developments and community facilities and is one of the largest solar developers serving affordable housing developments in the country. Mr. Jones was a co-founder of WegoWise, a web-based utility tracking and benchmarking company, and has served as its board chair since it was established.

    Prior to joining Boston Community Capital, he was Executive Director of the Massachusetts Urban Reinvestment Advisory Group and was a VISTA volunteer from 1980-1981. He has served on the boards of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), Boston Day and Evening Academy, the Center for Women and Enterprise, and the Penikese Island School.  From 1991-1998, Mr. Jones was co-owner of Maria and Ricardo's Tortilla Factory.  He is a graduate of Harvard College and the Kennedy School of Government. In 2008, Mr. Jones and his wife, Viki Bok, received the City of Boston’s Green Residential Award.

  • Speaker
    Jared Lang
    Sustainable Development Manager, National Housing Trust

    Jared Lang directs renewable energy and efficiency projects for NHT/Enterprise Preservation Corporation, oversees the sustainability components of redevelopment projects, and assists the development of policy to enhance the energy efficiency of affordable multifamily housing. Prior to working with NHT, Mr. Lang was Program Manager for the National Association of Counties' Sustainability Programs, consulting to county officials on a broad range of energy and water issues. He was also a Sustainability Consultant with Davis Landon, assisting developers in navigating the green building process. Mr. Lang holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, with a Certificate in Real Estate Development from the Wharton School.

  • Speaker
    Erica Mackie
    CEO and Co-Founder, GRID Alternatives

    Erica Mackie is the CEO and Co-Founder of GRID Alternatives, an Oakland based nonprofit that installs solar electric systems exclusively for low-income homeowners, using a model that trains job trainees, the families themselves, and the community at large in the installation process. She co-founded the organization 10 years ago and in that time has grown it from a kitchen table operation installing 2 systems a year to a growing national organization, installing 1,000+ systems a year from 10 offices in 7 states and Nicaragua.

    For her leadership in the area of energy and equity, Ms. Mackie has received numerous awards including the Governors Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2008, the New Leaders Council Energy Leadership Award in 2009, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award in 2010, the Energy Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovative Business Models by the Department of Energy & MIT’s C3E Women in Cleantech in 2013. Ms. Mackie’s professional experience prior to GRID Alternatives included work in the social sector first with survivors of domestic violence and then with youth at risk, as well as work in renewable energy and energy efficiency consulting and sales. She holds two bachelor’s degrees from Southern Illinois University, one in Mechanical Engineering and the other in Physics.

  • Speaker
    Thomas Lee
    Program Director, Enterprise Community Partners
Innovation Showcase

Innovation Showcase | 2014 Solar Symposium

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.

  • Session Moderator
    Kathleen Merrigan
    Executive Director, Sustainability Collaborative, George Washington University

    Kathleen Merrigan is Executive Director of Sustainability and faculty member at the George Washington University, an institution with expansive sustainability efforts in research, education, practice, and engagement.  In 2014, GW received a “Gold” rating from the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASHEE) and was listed 12th on the Sierra Club “Cool Schools” List.  From 2009-2013, Merrigan was U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a $150 billion, 110,000 employee institution. As Deputy Secretary, Dr. Merrigan created and led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems; was a key architect of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign; and made history as the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Before joining the USDA, Dr. Merrigan held a variety of agriculture policy positions, including faculty member at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and senior staff on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food. Dr. Merrigan holds a Ph.D. in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, and a B.A. from Williams College. She serves as a Board Director for the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Food Corps, and is a Senior Advisor at the Kendall Foundation.  Recognizing the history and scope of her work, Time Magazine named Dr. Merrigan among the “100 most influential people in the world” in 2010.  

  • Speaker
    Beth Galante
    Chief Energy Efficiency Officer, PosiGen LLC

    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.

  • Speaker
    Annie Harper
    Coordinator, Yale Community Carbon Fund

    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. 

  • Speaker
    Bracken Hendricks
    CEO, Urban Ingenuity

    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. 

  • Speaker
    Jon Hillis
    Vice President, Prospect Solar

    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. 

  • Speaker
    Hannah Masterjohn
    Program Director of New Markets, VoteSolar

    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.

Presentations
Afternoon Remarks

Afternoon Remarks from Provost Lerman | 2014 Solar Symposium

The George Washington University was created in 1821 through an Act of Congress, fulfilling George Washington’s vision of an institution in the nation’s capital dedicated to educating and preparing future leaders. 

Today, more than 20,000 students—from all 50 states, the District and more than 130 countries—study a rich range of disciplines, and the University’s location in the heart of Washington places GW at the core of U.S. government, policy and law.   

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

    For more than three decades, Provost Steven Lerman has dedicated his professional life to higher education, first as a professor and later as a senior administrator. One of Provost Lerman’s chief interests is multi-disciplinary scholarship, a hallmark of higher education in the 21st century.

    As the university’s chief academic officer, Provost Lerman collaborates with the deans of our 10 colleges and schools to create academic programs that are at once rigorous and relevant. Assisted by his senior staff, the provost also focuses on developing an ever more diverse and inclusive community, one in which teaching excellence is supported and where faculty members find multiple opportunities to develop their scholarly interests. 

    Provost Lerman also has responsibility for the Office of Student Affairs, GW Libraries, and the Department of Athletics. In this role, he continuously seeks to integrate the academic experience with student life beyond the classroom. Through robust programs centered on civic engagement, career services, housing, athletics, and more, the provost and his senior staff focus on creating a university experience with many facets.

Afternoon Panel: The Role of Government Leadership

Afternoon Panel: The Role of Government Leadership | 2014 Solar Symposium

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.  

  • Session Moderator
    Bracken Hendricks
    Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

    Bracken Hendricks is a Senior Fellow at American Progress and works at the interface of global warming solutions and economic development. He is a longtime leader in promoting policies that create green jobs, sustainable infrastructure, and investment in cities.

    Mr. Hendricks served as an advisor to the campaign and transition team of President Barack Obama, and was an architect of clean-energy portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He also served in the Clinton administration as special assistant to the Office of Vice President Al Gore, with the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and with the President’s Council on Sustainable Development.

    He was founding executive director of the Apollo Alliance for good jobs and energy independence and has served as an energy and economic advisor to the AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Energy Advisory Task Force, and numerous other federal, state, and local policymakers and elected officials.

    Mr. Hendricks’ publications include the book Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy, which he co-authored with U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA).

  • Speaker
    Mike Carr
    Senior Advisor and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

    In his role as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of EERE, Mike provides leadership direction on cross-cutting activities in EERE's portfolio. In particular, he is using his experience in policy development to help ensure that EERE's activities align with national priorities and that policymakers have the best information possible about the opportunities presented by the EERE technology portfolio.

    Since 1996, Mike has advised on law and policy both inside and outside of government, with a particular specialization in environment and natural resources law. Prior to taking on the Principal Deputy position, from 2004 to June 2012 Mike served as Senior Counsel to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. His portfolio primarily focused on technology development programs, including vehicle technology as well as financing and early commercialization of emergent energy and energy efficiency technologies. In that influential role, he conducted significant work drafting and guiding legislation through Congress that now directs major Department of Energy programs and efforts.

    In private practice, he specialized in litigation involving NEPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. He managed environmental and appropriations issues for Rep. David Skaggs (D-CO) until 1998, then worked in the Solicitor's Office of the Department of the Interior through 2002.

    Mike holds a law degree from Lewis and Clark College and a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado – Boulder.

  • Speaker
    Greg Hale
    Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy & Finance, New York State Governor's Office

    Greg Hale is Senior Advisor to the Chairman of Energy & Finance, Office of the Governor, State of New York, where he was responsible for overseeing the establishment of the New York Green Bank. Greg has also been heavily involved in the design and launch of the State’s new biothermal initiative – Renewable Heat NY – and he is currently working on various other clean energy finance and economic development priorities for the Governor’s energy team.

    Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Mr. Hale was Director of Efficiency Finance at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Market Innovation, where he focused on developing the market for energy efficiency building retrofits in the commercial, multi-family and institutional property sectors. At NRDC, Mr. Hale worked with financial institutions, governmental entities, and real estate, energy and technology companies to make the retrofit business case clear to building owners and occupants, and to develop innovative financing mechanisms for the retrofit marketplace. Mr. Hale's work also included an emphasis on green leasing practices. Mr. Hale is a founding board member of the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation, where he currently chairs the Audit & Finance Committee, and he served on the steering committee of the PACENow Coalition.

    Prior to NRDC, Mr. Hale spent 17 years in the real estate industry, first as a real estate lawyer at Skadden, Arps, and then as co-owner and general counsel of Cirque Property L.C., a real estate investment company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Greg is a graduate of Dartmouth College and The University of Michigan Law School.

  • Speaker
    Ben Healey
    Associate Director of Outreach, Connecticut's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority

    Ben Healey joined the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) in 2012 in order to support the development of financing and marketing initiatives that can accelerate the deployment of clean energy and energy efficient solutions across Connecticut.

    Earlier in his career, he served as the Staff Director to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in the Massachusetts state legislature. In addition, Mr. Healey has experience working on public power deals with Morgan Stanley and in cleantech investing with DBL Investors, a “double bottom line” venture capital firm.

    Mr. Healey holds degrees from the Yale School of Management, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and Yale College, and he is a former member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen.

  • Speaker
    Trisha Miller
    Senior Advisor, Office of Economic Resilience, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Trisha Miller serves as a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, where she works to advance energy and green building policy. Previously, she managed the Green Communities initiative at Enterprise Community Partners. Her work focused on leveraging private and public investment in green affordable housing development and sustainable building practices across the country. Ms. Miller led all aspects of the initiative, including maintaining the Green Communities Criteria and deploying more than $4 million in grants and technical assistance. She created a national technical assistance network and supported the development of 20,000 units of green housing. Ms. Miller has testified before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and frequently delivers keynote addresses and lectures on green housing. Before joining Enterprise, she directed the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ Community Development Initiative. As a Skadden fellow, Miller launched this innovative project to bring legal resources to nonprofit housing and economic development organizations and thousands of individuals across the southern United States.

    Ms. Miller graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan, with a degree in environmental policy. She received her master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her law degree from Stanford Law School.

  • Speaker
    Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk
    Acting Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk was appointed Acting Administrator for Rural Utilities Service effective August 4, 2014. Additionally, Mrs. Ponti-Lazaruk has served as Assistant Administrator for RUS’ Water and Environmental Programs since 2008. Under her leadership, the program has made more investments in rural water and waste disposal infrastructure than in any other similar period in program history. Nearly 16 million rural residents across the country will benefit from these investments. Since 2008, more than $11 billion has been obligated to construct rural water and waste infrastructure and provide much needed technical assistance and training to rural communities.

    In a previous role, she served as Assistant Administrator for Telecommunications Programs at RUS. She has been called upon to lead agency-wide efforts, such as the implementation of more than 20 billion in Recovery Act funding received by Rural Development, and has most recent done double duty as the Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs, as well as Chief of Staff to the new Administrator of RUS. Mrs. Ponti-Lazaruk is a strong supporter of technical assistance programs that play a key role in delivery of the RUS programs. Under her tenure as Assistant Administrator more than 600,000 technical assistance visits have been conducted.

    She has been a true advocate on rural issues and has actively worked to improve the quality of life in rural communities. Her enthusiasm for rural advancement has led to stronger partnerships with other Federal and State agencies, as well as industry and community-based organizations. Those partnerships have led to interagency initiatives on rural system sustainability, energy efficiency, educating the next generation of rural utility leaders and streamlining funding processes.

    February of 2014 marked the completion of Mrs. Ponti-Lazaruk’s 23rd year in public service. She is a graduate of James Madison University in rural Virginia.

Interactive Audience Program to Determine Action Agenda

Interactive Audience Program to Determine Action Agenda | 2014 Solar Symposium

Solar energy leaders, each with decades of experience in the field, will work with Symposium attendees to synthesize the lessons learned from the day’s discussions and to develop an action agenda. 

  • Session Moderator
    Jerry Bloom
    Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

    Jerry Bloom is a partner at Winston and Strawn, LLP and chair of the firm's energy, project development, and finance practice group.  He focuses his practice on the development and operation of domestic and international independent energy projects, electric-industry restructuring and privatization, and mergers and acquisitions.

    Mr. Bloom has extensive experience in the negotiation of off-take and power purchase agreements, engineering, procurement, and construction contracts, operation and maintenance agreements, fuel supply agreements, syndication, and agency agreements. He has assisted in the development and operation of energy projects in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and China. Mr. Bloom is also active in the development of small- and utility-scale photovoltaic and thermal solar facilities. 

    Mr. Bloom received a BA in Psychology in 1974 and an MA in Counseling in 1976 from George Washington University. He received a JD from the University of Miami School of Law in 1980.

  • Speaker
    Todd Foley
    Senior Vice President, American Council on Renewable Energy

    Todd Foley, ACORE's Senior Vice President, Policy & Government Relations, leads strategic integration of policy development, research, external communications and interaction with Federal and state government and regulatory officials. He has over 25 years experience in Federal and state policy, renewable energy market design and business development. Prior to joining ACORE, he directed global and US policy, market development and communications for BP Solar. He also served in several US government positions, including the White House, US Senate, US EPA and OSHA. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the Solar Alliance, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) and the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Associations (TREIA). He received his B.S. from Boston College and law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University.

  • Speaker
    Scott Sklar
    President, The Stella Group, Ltd.

    Scott Sklar is an internationally recognized solar energy leader, having serving as Executive Director of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Political Director of The Solar Lobby, and co-founding the Congressional Solar Caucus in the mid-1970’s as a top aide to Senator Jacob K. Javits (NY). Mr. Sklar also co-authored the Consumer Guide to Solar Energy in 1998.

    Currently, Mr. Sklar leads his own clean energy technology optimization and strategic policy firm, The Stella Group, Ltd., which he founded in 1995 and came on full time to lead in 1999. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of several national non-profits including the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation, as well as being the Steering Committee Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Coalition. On November 4, 2010 Commerce Secretary Gary Locke approved Sklar’s appointment to the Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC) with term ending in June 2014.

    Mr. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University where he teaches a unique multidisciplinary sustainable energy course. He also designed and built his own zero-energy home and office which incorporates an array of solar energy technologies.

  • Speaker
    Carol Werner
    Executive Director, Environmental and Energy Study Institute

    Carol Werner serves as Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in Washington, DC - a non-profit education and policy organization. EESI is dedicated to sustainable development, believing that a sound environment and a sound economy go hand in hand. Ms. Werner came to EESI in late 1987 as director of EESI's Energy & Climate Change Program through January 1998 when she was named Executive Director. Ms. Werner has more than 30 years of public policy experience on energy and environmental issues. She has organized dozens of Congressional briefings on science, technology and policy issues and has been a frequent speaker at many conferences and workshops on energy and environmental issues in EESI’s program areas.

    Ms. Werner serves on the steering committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, the Environmental Advisory Committee of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Policy Committee of the American Solar Energy Society. She also serves on the board of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the editorial board of BioCycle magazine, the Advisory Board of Planet Forward, and is an Advisory Member of the President’s Climate Action Project (PCAP). She was a member of the Department of Energy's (DOE) State Energy Advisory Board for six years, served on the World Council of Churches Task Force on Climate Change, and was a stakeholder in the DOE/USDA Bioenergy Initiative. Carol also was a member of DOE's Federal Advisory Committee on the Commercialization of Renewable Energy Technologies and was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Network.

    Before joining EESI, Ms. Werner served as the legislative director of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, the legislative representative for the National Consumer Law Center, and as a legislative assistant to Rep. Neal Smith (D – IA).