With more than 30 years of success accelerating the availability and use of clean energy, IREC is joining the new U.S. Department of Energy Solar Market Pathways project as a partner with the project’s national coordinator, The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC).

Sunnyside Ranch Array

Part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, Solar Market Pathways is a $14 million effort to spur solar energy deployment across the country. It provides support to multiple awardees to enhance their efforts to increase solar installations and reduce costs, while promoting to a larger audience best practices in solar planning.

“IREC is thrilled to be joining the Institute for Sustainable Communities as part of the Solar Market Pathways initiative,” says IREC Regulatory Director Sara Baldwin Auck. “We look forward to working with diverse communities and partners coast to coast to support the development of innovative, market-driven strategies that make solar more affordable and accessible to more consumers.”

In a national technical/advisory role, IREC will collaborate with ISC and its other partners, the Regulatory Assistance Project and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to provide technical assistance to the Pathways’ teams and create an expanded learning network that connects solar stakeholders across the U.S.

“Low carbon energy is a key ingredient for sustainable communities,” says Steve Nicholas, ISC’s vice president for urban programs. “We’re eager to help more communities remove barriers to solar, and help local leaders get the tools they need to make solar part of their sustainability efforts.”

SunShot’s Solar Market Pathways awardees represent a diverse group of organizations and collaborations – including participating communities of many sizes. Some awardee projects are statewide, while others focus on regions or sectors. Their work – created to be replicated by hundreds of communities – will focus on a range of issues critical to reducing solar costs and expanding support and finance for solar installations, including community solar, solar storage, university and commercial property installations, and more.

ISC, an international expert in helping local leaders create transformative change in their communities, has led a number of successful learning networks, including a 200-community sustainability effort for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a multi-country sustainable manufacturing network in Asia.

Together, IREC and the ISC’s network development, peer-learning and communications expertise will bolster the work of communities nationwide that seek to reduce carbon emissions, spur green jobs, and strengthen community sustainability.

Image: Sunsense Solar, Sunnyside Ranch Community Solar Project/Carbondale