Forum: Community Solar I: Solar Powering America
The SolSmart national community designation program is a new U.S. Department of Energy-funded effort to address solar soft costs. To help communities qualify, SolSmart offers no-cost technical assistance delivered by a team of national solar experts. This panel will provide a detailed overview of SolSmart and provide actionable information on getting communities recognized.
Organizer: Avery Palmer
Avery Palmer is Senior Communications Manager at The Solar Foundation. He is responsible for guiding communications strategy to advance the organization’s mission and contribute to the success of its major programs, most notably the U.S. Department of Energy-funded SolSmart national community designation program. Prior to joining TSF, Avery was the communications director at The Violence Policy Center, a national gun violence prevention organization. He has also worked on the communications team at The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. Avery also has many years of experience as a journalist, including as an environment and energy reporter at Congressional Quarterly. Avery grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Chad Laurent, Esq. specializes in renewable energy law and policy, sustainable business strategies, and renewable energy project development. He currently manages MCG’s work with the U.S. Department of Energy providing technical assistance and outreach consulting for the SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs), the Rooftop Solar Challenge II (Solar Ready II), and the SolSmart national community designation program. In this capacity he presents at national conferences on the topic of creating solar opportunities within local communities. Mr. Laurent has consulted to the United National Environment Programme, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the World Bank, DB Climate Change Advisors, the Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources, and the SEMI PV Group among other clients. Prior to attending law school, he was the Manager of Renewable Energy Programs for the Massachusetts Energy Consumers’ Alliance. He holds a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School where he was a Rappaport Honors Fellow in Law and Public Policy, and a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Environmental Policy & Behavior and Natural Resource Ecology & Management.
As a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, Josh makes it faster, easier, and cheaper for Americans to go solar by empowering state and local leaders to slash red tape and eliminate solar market barriers. Josh most recently launched the SolSmart program, which recognizes exceptional communities that have cleared the way for solar, and readies the rest through expert assistance. His leadership of the Rooftop Solar Challenge, Solar Outreach Partnership, and the SEEDS behavioral science studies has generated evidence-based approaches to spreading solar adoption and lowering the cost to plug in. Prior to joining the DOE as a Presidential Management Fellow, Josh worked as an analyst at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on climate and weather policy. He has also worked for the New York Power Authority, and has served as a consultant to the City of New York and the World Bank on solar energy and climate issues. Josh has a Master’s degree from Columbia University in energy and environmental policy, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in chemistry and Spanish.