SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces the Selection of 48 Teams to Participate in the ‘Solar in Your Community Challenge’

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Announces the Selection of 48 Teams to Participate in the ‘Solar in Your Community Challenge’

Friday, February 24, 2017 - 10:19
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National competition focuses on expanding solar electricity access to traditionally underserved segments of communities

Albany, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced that 48 teams from 23 states and Washington, DC, were selected from the early set of applicants to participate in the “Solar in Your Community Challenge.” Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative and administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the “Solar in Your Community Challenge” is a prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access to all Americans, especially underserved segments of the population, such as low- and moderate-income (LMI) households; state, local, and tribal governments; and nonprofit organizations.

Offering $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance over an 18-month period, the challenge supports teams across the country, enabling them to develop projects or programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated. Participation in the challenge is open to teams working to develop a portfolio of solar projects in their communities as well as those that are creating new solar programs that extend solar access to LMI households and nonprofits, in addition to technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) that assist teams by providing the coaching and resources that teams need to create innovative new business models.

“These 48 outstanding teams have proposed projects or programs to expand solar access to underserved groups in their communities using innovative financial and business models, with the aim of ensuring that the clean energy revolution does not leave anyone behind,” said Dr. Pradeep Haldar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “SUNY Poly has been an administrator of several SunShot Initiative programs over the past ten years, including the SunShot Prize and Race to 7-Day Solar, and is pleased to once again partner with the DOE on the innovative Solar in Your Community Challenge to inspire clean energy expansion and adoption.”

The selected teams are: ·       Making Energy Work in Rural Oregon; Portland, Oregon ·       Solar Holler; Shepherdstown, West Virginia ·       RC Cubed Renewable Energy Finance Platform; Santa Cruz, California ·       Impact Shared Solar, Inc.; Sacramento, California ·       TEAM S.E.P.; Columbia, South Carolina ·       Centennial Parkside Community Development Corp.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ·       UpGrade Ohio (aka Solar ACCESS); Athens, Ohio ·       RER Energy; Rochester, New York ·       Bainbridge-Guilford (NY) Solar Access Project; Binghamton, New York ·       Community Power; Cobleskill, New York ·       Monroe County Solar for All; Bloomington, Indiana ·       NH Solar Shares; Plymouth, New Hampshire ·       Solarup!; Bessemer, Alabama ·       Charleston Community Solar; Charleston, South Carolina ·       The Enlighteners; Aiken, South Carolina ·       SoYoCo; Durham, North Carolina ·       Partners for Better Housing; Fayetteville, Arkansas ·       Increased Economic Opportunities; Meadville, Pennsylvania ·       Charger Energy; Huntsville, Alabama ·       Community Solar for Community Action: Using the Solar Commons and Social Impact Bonding to Demonstrate a New National Model of Low-income Energy Assistance; Backus, Minnesota ·       Just Community Solar Team; Minneapolis, Minnesota ·       Solar Possible; Minneapolis, Minnesota ·       East Phillips Solar Food Hub; Minneapolis, Minnesota ·       LEG Up Solar Initiative; La Farge, Wisconsin ·       Duluth Community Solar Coalition; Duluth, Minnesota ·       Net Positive for All; Chicago, Illinois ·       RE-volv; San Francisco, California ·       Team Sun Valley; Ketchum, Idaho ·       Santa Fe SunShot; Santa Fe, New Mexico ·       GreenPower of North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina ·       Renewable Envoy; Las Vegas, Nevada ·       Baltimore Shines; Baltimore, Maryland ·       Solar Student Alliance; Washington, DC ·       MCM Solary Energy Team; Baltimore, Maryland ·       Ogos Energy Community Solar for All; Annapolis, Maryland ·       Cambridge Solar Access Program; Cambridge, Massachusetts ·       Kerrville Area Solar Partners; Kerrville, Texas ·       Solar Club; Washington, DC ·       The Seebaldt Pilot; Detroit, Michigan ·       Sun Shares (Vermont Energy Investment Corporation); Burlington, Vermont ·       Solarize Philly; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ·       Thrifty Community Solar Barn Raising; Staunton, Virginia ·       Gowanus Grid & Electric; Brooklyn, New York ·       Project SolShine; Maryland ·       Solar Synthesizers Meriden; Meriden, Connecticut ·       Powerup Solar Long Island; Massapequa, New York ·       American Solar Partners; Mount Vernon, New York ·       Solarize Bellfield; Columbia, South Carolina

The selected teams are eligible to receive up to $60,000 in seed funding and/or $10,000 in technical assistance vouchers. Teams will compete to win $1 million in final prizes, including a $500,000 Grand Prize for success in demonstrating a replicable and scalable model for low income solar. Teams will be evaluated based on their innovation, impact, expertise, team composition, plan, and progress over the course of the 18-month performance period, which starts in May 2017.

These projects must directly benefit low- and moderate-income households, with at least 20% of the energy and benefits assigned to LMI households or 60% of the energy and benefits going to local governments or non-profits. Portfolios of solar systems must aggregate to be between 25 kilowatts and 5 megawatts in size.

Thirty-six experts and coaches were selected in the early application round to provide specialized one-on-one assistance to help teams work toward their goals. Teams can select the qualified consultants for their needs on the online “Solar in Your Community” marketplace.

“SUNY Poly has developed a revolutionary online expert marketplace for the program that streamlines the application process and connects consultants to teams across the country,” said Dr. Haldar. “All teams will have access to general resources, including toolkits, reports, guides, and webinars that will assist them with their project and program implementation.”

The application deadline to be considered for the challenge is March 17, 2017. All participating teams will compete to win $1 million in final prizes.

More information about the selected teams and the Solar in Your Community Challenge is at


SUNY Polytechnic Institute. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany location and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome location. Thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and over 300 corporate partners. For information visit and

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