Project Director: Nate Hausman

Contact: Nate Hausman, nate@cleanegroup.org

The Sustainable Solar Education Project provides timely information and educational resources to help states and municipalities ensure distributed solar electricity remains consumer friendly and benefits low- and moderate-income households. The project is developing program guides, webinars, online course material, and in-person training for government officials on topics related to strengthening solar equitability, improving consumer information, and implementing consumer protection measures. It is managed by the Clean Energy State Alliance (CESA) and funded through the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar Training and Education for Professionals program. 

sunshot squareThe U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

The Sustainable Solar Education Project seeks to assist the continued growth of the distributed solar market. For that growth to be sustainable and sustained, it is important to address the issues at the core of the project. Solar energy will be more likely to retain public support if it is perceived as benefitting all segments of society. The solar industry will retain public trust if consumers are not subject to misleading sales tactics and the equipment they purchase performs as anticipated. States and municipalities have the ability to implement programs and policies that enable a cross-section of society to benefit from solar and that inform and protect consumers.

The training CESA will provide under the Sustainable Solar Education Project will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Consumer solar financing options—leases, loans, and power purchase agreements
  • State initiatives to expand financing options—solar loan programs, on-bill financing, property assessed clean energy (PACE), legalizing third-party ownership
  • Model state programs to expand solar installations for low- and moderate-income residents and low-income communities, including through the provision of solar+storage for power resiliency
  • Community solar as a way to expand solar participation and affordability
  • Consumer information states can provide to residents
  • Ways states can protect consumers through standards, regulations, and licensing for installers and equipment
  • Specific issues that states could face from solar equipment that doesn’t perform as advertised or from consumers who feel misled—how to prepare for these issues and reduce the likelihood of them occurring.  

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Finance Team, the law firm of Keyes, Fox & Wiedman, and PaulosAnalysis are partnering with CESA on this project. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will provide solar and financing expertise. Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP will provide legal expertise. PaulosAnalysis will offer knowledge about state solar programs and policies targeting low- to moderate-income households.

We have assembled an advisory committee made up of individuals with backgrounds in the fields of solar policy, program design, and implementation, and solar regulation and consumer protection to guide our project’s work and bring in perspectives of state and local governments and the solar industry.

A monthly project newsletter will give updates on Sustainable Solar Education Project activities and report on news from around the country related to solar consumer protection and efforts to bring the benefits of solar to low- and moderate-income households and communities. It is available for free to anyone interested.

This is a two-year project. If you have any questions about the Sustainable Solar Education Project, contact Nate Hausman by phone at (802)223-2554 x206 or by email at nate@cleanegroup.org.