Forum: Tapping Solar Potential in Higher Education

Forum: Tapping Solar Potential in Higher Education

Colleges, universities, and other higher education institutions have a combination of power consumption, land, finance, capacity and commitment to education that make them uniquely positioned to invest in renewables. This breakout session will focus on two DOE-funded “Solar Market Pathways” projects that are creating replicable models for tapping that potential.

Organizer: John Shenot




cowan.janeJane Cowan

As Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Market Research Coordinator, Jane is focused on developing new solar market pathways for MREA through industry partnerships, higher education investment in solar energy, and spatial analysis. She is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management where she earned a Master of Environmental Science and Management. Specializing in Conservation Planning, she worked with Defenders of Wildlife and the Conservation Biology Institute to develop a decision-support tool combining agricultural, conservation, and solar developer interests to identify areas for utility-scale solar energy development in California’s San Joaquin Valley.


whelan.johnathanJonathan Whelan

Jonathan Whelan is the Director of Operations at Optony Inc., a global solar consulting firm. Jonathan manages a team working with governmental and commercial clients across the solar project life-cycle, from feasibility assessments and procurement to project commissioning and performance tracking. Jonathan was a key member of the Technical Advisor team that engineered and managed the Silicon Valley Renewable Energy Procurement (SV-REP) and the SF Bay Area Regional Renewable Energy Procurement (R-REP)—the largest local government collaborative solar purchasing programs in the country. Under his leadership, Optony has completed, or has under development, procurements for nearly 160 MW of distributed generation solar across the country. Optony is currently replicating the collaborative solar procurement model with multi-agency projects in the Monterey Bay region, Central New York, and with the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia. He received his B.S. in Business Administration and Biology from Trinity University in San Antonio.


lambeth.robertRobert Lambeth

Robert B. Lambeth, Jr. has served as president of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) since 1984. The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia membership includes 28 Virginia independent colleges and universities and manages collaborative projects beneficial to its member colleges including coordinating public support for Virginia’s tuition assistance grant program which provides over $60 million per year to students attending Virginia’s independent colleges. CICV, in addition to coordinating government relations initiatives, also facilitates joint purchasing and marketing programs for Virginia private colleges. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He studied at Wroxton College in Banbury, England, and earned a law degree from the University of Richmond. Robert has served on numerous higher education boards and advisory committees and is the former chair of the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges State Executives.