The George Washington University Solar Institute identifies, generates, and shares pragmatic policy solutions to catalyze the adoption and scale of solar energy. Serving this mission, the Institute conducts objective research to advance politically attuned policies, educates a rising generation eager to contribute to a sustainable future, and collaborates with thought leaders, influential stakeholders, and decision makers. Its insights and partnerships promote innovative new public policies, regulatory approaches, and government investments that will enable solar energy to reach its full potential for creating jobs, replacing fossil fuels, and realizing a sustainable energy future.
The GW Solar Institute is led by Amit Ronen, a well-known clean energy leader and agenda setter. Previously, Amit served as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell where he helped author and enact clean energy tax incentives and legislation that catalyzed hundreds of billions of dollars of new energy related investments. Amit also focused on clean energy policy while working at the Department of Energy and the White House and during his graduate education at Princeton University. The Institute’s Advisory Board includes internationally recognized solar energy leaders, such as Scott Sklar, Jerry Bloom, and Richard Perez. The expertise of its affiliated faculty spans a wide range of disciplines, and includes two lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.
The GW Solar Institute has built a strong reputation as a leading source of research and knowledge on solar energy trends and policy. It regularly provides background information to the media, and its analysis is typically quoted in 40 to 50 news outlets, featured in video interviews, and placed in leading publications. For example, in 2017, the Institute was quoted in Time Magazine, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, CNN, and PV Tech, as well as quoted in national radio programs like National Public Radio and TV news programs like WUSA.
The Institute’s website serves as a public clearinghouse and archive of solar policy related research, events, jobs, and other timely information. In 2017, the Institute completed a dozen solar education videos aimed at educating professionals that are not part of the solar industry but still play a key role in expanding solar deployment opportunities in the United States.
As part of the larger George Washington University community, the GW Solar Institute embraces a multidisciplinary approach to both research and education. Its staff regularly teaches classes on timely solar energy issues at schools as diverse as law, business, engineering, and public policy. The Institute assists both graduate and undergraduate students working on clean energy related papers or projects and provides opportunities to make meaningful contributions to cutting-edge sustainability research through a variety of internships, work-study programs, and thesis advising. The Institute is also developing a sustainable energy policy certificate program, a solar scholar-in-residence opportunity, and a multimedia online course that covers a wide range of issues surrounding solar policy.
The GW Solar Institute has participated in and helped to organize numerous policy conferences and seminars, briefed Congressional and Executive Branch policymakers, and provided expert testimony before state lawmakers. The Institute also works closely with solar industry leaders, including the Solar Energy Industries Association, and DC region solar advocates and policymakers.
Since 2009, the GW Solar Institute has gathered energy thought-leaders to one of the largest annual solar events in the capital region. Its events share cutting edge research, offer lessons learned from the policy arena, and provide a neutral forum for thoughtful discussion amongst solar leaders, policymakers, and students. Its annual symposiums have drawn over a thousand attendees and our archived materials have been downloaded over 70,000 times.