Midwest Renewable Energy Association guides 14 higher educational teams through solar development process in new PV Development for Institutions Course
With support from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (Award Number DE-EE0006910), the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) recently completed the first iteration of their new Photovoltaic (PV) Development for Institutions Course aimed at guiding teams at higher education institutions through the fundamentals of institutional solar PV investment.
Based on lessons learned from the MREA’s Solar Endowment: A PV Investment Roadmap for U.S. Universities and Foundations project, the PV Development for Institutions course was hosted online January 29 through March 25, 2018, and prefaced by the MREA’s PV 101: Basic Photovoltaics course. The course guided campus teams through the solar project development process, including engaging relevant stakeholders, evaluating relevant legal and regulatory restrictions, analyzing energy use and potential sites, modeling investment returns, and preparing competitive solicitation documents.
Learning modules featuring guided lessons, activities, and discussions were taught by national experts in renewable energy development, including Brad Rutledge, Independent Contractor through the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Nick Hylla, Executive Director at the MREA; Adam Mehr, Training Director at the MREA; Eric Rehm, Solar Finance Manager at the MREA; Jared Schoch, Principal and Founder at TurningPoint Energy; and Shane Stennes, Director of Sustainability and the University of Minnesota.
Fourteen teams from all across the U.S. participated in the course, representing two and four-year, public and private, and single and system-wide institutions: University of Idaho in Moscow, ID; Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN; Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN; the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System Office in St. Paul, MN; Central Community College in Grand Island, NE; the State University of New York at Oneonta in Oneonta, NY; North Lake College in Irving, TX; Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, TX; Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA; Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA; Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI; and three University of Wisconsin campuses in Madison, Milwaukee, and Whitewater, WI.
Jeannie Matheison, Director of the University of Idaho Sustainability Center had this to say of the experience – “From the course, we’ve learned that renewable energy keeps long terms costs stable and strengthens institutional energy portfolios by enabling us to navigate the risk and uncertainty of rising energy costs. The wide array of technical resources, finance calculators, PV roadmaps from other universities, and access to experts will guide our team long after the course has ended.”
By expanding and applying these efforts to a new cohort of higher education institutions through the PV Development for Institutions course, the MREA seeks to further enable the higher education community to deploy PV and make investments that advance their foundation and sustainability goals.
Find more information about how the MREA empowers campuses to go solar at www.solarendowment.org and how they can assist your campus invest in renewable energy at https://www.growsolar.org/solar-pv-assistance-institutions/.
CONTACT: Nick Hylla, (715) 592- 6595 ext. 107 or Jane Cowan,
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Founded in 1990, the MREA promotes renewable energy and sustainable living through education and demonstration and hosts The Energy Fair. To learn more, call 715-592-6595 or visit www.midwestrenew.org