Tag Archives: Solar in Your Community Challenge

ECO-Omaha Team’s Program Selected by Solar in Your Community Challenge

More people will soon have access to solar, as over 250 teams have been named to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Initiative: Solar in Your Community Challenge. The Challenge is a $5 million contest to support innovative and replicable community-based solar business models and programs that will bring solar to underserved communities.

The ECO-Omaha Team was selected to develop a community solar program that will install solar arrays on city-owned vacant lots and former brownfield sites with the power generated from the arrays sold to OPPD. All of the generated revenue will help fund Omaha’s Energy Conservation/Healthy Homes Program, which provides free energy efficiency repairs and improvements to low-to-moderate income (LMI) households.

Team Leader: Lisa Smith, City Planner/GIS
Challenge Begins May 2017
Challenge Ends October 2018
Final Prize Announcement January 2019

Teams Directory by State


SunShot Technology Awardee:
Solar Software Platform Can Make Interconnection Times up to 98% Faster
With more than 42 gigawatts of solar on the grid, one SunShot awardee is making sure utilities can fast-track the interconnection process and add even more solar to the grid. GridUnity is completely changing the interconnection process with a new platform that can remotely assess a solar project’s impact on the grid. Its platform enables utilities to screen applications more efficiently, allowing them to focus their time and resources on connecting high-impact projects and helping them speed up connection for everyone. Learn more here.

OPPD-funded intern has a sunny future in energy

By Jason Kuiper, OPPD NewsBlog, The Wire

Erin Cheese, a former OPPD intern, is currently a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative

Cheese said expanding solar access, particularly to low-income households and regardless of roof space accessibility, is what she is dedicated to. In Washington, the 24-year-old is working to do just that. Nebraska and the Midwest have great potential for solar,” she said. “I want to see the partnership between those who want solar and the utilities to grow.” Cheese was in Omaha this fall talking about the National Community Solar Partnership at a conference at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Now she hopes her hometown will take part in a new SunShot Initiative program called the “Solar in Your Community Challenge.” The early application deadline was Jan. 6 and the next deadline is March 17. Read more.

As Jason Kuiper states in his article, Erin was also a former Nebraskans for Solar board member, serving for two years. Her many achievements during that time included co-founding the Creighton Energy Club with other student leaders. Nebraskans for Solar workshop attendees will recall that Erin, along with Cliff Mesner, owner of Mesner Solar Development, were co-presenters of the conference at UNO’s Community Engagement Center last October.

Solar In Your Community Challenge

Alumna Energized by SunShot Experience, by Kristine Rohwer, Creighton University Magazine

January 31, 2017 deadline for local communities to apply to host a SolSmart Advisor

SolSmart Advisors are program-funded through a grant administered by The Solar Foundation. SolSmart Advisors are temporary staff members who will work in your community for approximately six months to help it reach SolSmart designation. These experienced and highly-trained individuals will collaborate with staff and elected officials on a variety of activities aimed at spurring solar adoption, creating jobs, and boosting local economies.

Follow this link: http://www.gosparc.org/solsmart-advisors/ to find out more about the SolSmart Advisor application process and qualifications.

Please contact Philip Haddix, SolSmart Program Director at The Solar Foundation, with any questions: phaddix@solarfound.org


Alumna Energized by SunShot Experience

By Kristine Rohwer, Creighton University Magazine

The future looks bright for recent graduate Erin Cheese,
BS ’15, as she pursues her passion in the solar and renewable energy field. A double major in energy science and applied physical analysis, Cheese is currently in her second year as a junior fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by 2020.

Continue reading.

Erin is also a former Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) board member, having served for two years. One of her many achievements was co-founding the Creighton Energy Club with other student leaders. NFS workshop attendees will recall that Erin, along with Cliff Mesner, owner of Mesner Solar Development, were co-presenters of a public forum on solar development opportunities, locally and nationally, at UNO’s Community Engagement Center on October 12, 2016. Erin’s topics included a discussion of the current SunShot initiative’s Solar In Your Community Challenge.

White House Announces New Department of Energy Initiatives – Including Solar in Your Community Challenge


At Nebraskans for Solar’s October 12th public forum on community solar, guest speaker Erin Cheese, a Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, presented preliminary information about a planned initiative within DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership.

Today, the White House announced that the SunShot Initiative is launching the Solar In Your Community challenge to expand solar access to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, state, local and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations.

One hundred teams across the country will compete for cash prizes and technical assistance as they demonstrate innovative business and financial models that expand solar access to underserved groups. The teams with the most scalable, replicable solar business models will be eligible to win $1 million in final prizes, including a $500,000 grand prize.

Additionally, the Department of Energy Is:
*  Releasing an updated Best Practice Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing Programs.
*  Announcing a New Partnership to Help Improve Energy Efficiency in HUD-Assisted and Public Housing.
*  Creating a Clean Energy Compact between the Department of Energy and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Forge a Workforce and Community Investment Program.

Click HERE to read the entire Release / Fact Sheet.