Solar Plus Strategies Meeting

The Department of Commerce hosted the Solar Plus All Hands Meeting, composed of a group funded by the SEEDS2-SES grant through the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. It aims to build capacity around solar deployments in Washington and Oregon.

A broad stakeholder group attended, including environmental justice advocates, utilities, solar installers, community-based organizations and other state agencies. The event included presentations, such as work by the Oregon Department of Energy to create a dashboard of all the solar projects and production in the state. The Energy Division’s Sarah Vorpahl led an activity to brainstorm strategic approaches to community solar legislation.

The meeting gave Commerce staff not normally associated with the Solar Plus Strategies grant a chance to join and share their diverse knowledge. Michelle Whitfield from Commerce’s Growth Management Services, brought her work on rural character to a conversation about the dual use of agricultural land and solar installments. Emily Salzberg and Seth Kolodziejski used their expertise in  the weatherization program to help guide conversations on opportunities for solar in low-income communities. The group heard Tim Horan, executive director of the Spokane Indian Housing Authority, talk about work to bring solar to tribal housing as part of the Children of the Sun solar initiative. Several Commerce staff will attend the project ribbon cutting in Spokane this month and take part in a discussion of community energy planning.

The Solar Plus grant is a three-year award that will end October 2019. Several pieces of program work will continue after the official end of the program.

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