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ISC Tapped by U.S. Department of Energy to Coordinate National Solar Effort

Institute for Sustainable Communities Awarded $1.8M by U.S. Department of Energy to Coordinate National Solar Effort

Montpelier, VT; February 2, 2015 – The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has been tapped by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to serve as national coordinator for the Solar Market Pathways project – a $14 million effort to spur solar energy deployment across the country. ISC’s $2.1 million cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy, to which the Energy Department will contribute $1.8 million, will provide targeted support to 14 awardees, enhancing their efforts to increase solar installations and reduce costs, while promoting best practices in solar planning to a larger audience. 


“Low carbon energy is a key ingredient for sustainable communities,” notes 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. We’ve seen dramatic growth in solar energy in recent years – thanks in large part to the SunShot Initiative – and that growth benefits local economies while reducing climate impact. And that’s a win for people and planet.”


SunShot’s Solar Market Pathways awardees represent a diverse group of organizations and collaborations from throughout the U.S. – participating communities range in size from Duluth, Minn., to San Francisco and New York. Some awardee projects are statewide (including Vermont), while others focus on regions or sectors; their work 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. The Solar Market Pathways program will result in tools and approaches that can be replicated in hundreds of U.S. communities. The full list of awarded projects for Solar Market Pathways can be found here.


In its national coordinator role, ISC will partner with Rocky Mountain Institute and the Regulatory Assistance Project to provide technical assistance and create a learning network connecting solar stakeholders from around the country. 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. ISC’s network development, peer-learning and communications expertise will bolster the work of communities around the country seeking to reduce carbon emissions, spur green jobs, and strengthen community sustainability.

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About the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the Energy Department supports efforts by private companies, universities, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour. Learn more at

About the Institute for Sustainable Communities

An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 24 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate sustainability and climate change solutions. ISC’s programs, focused on urban transformation and sustainable manufacturing, strengthen the leadership of people and institutions committed to making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led 100 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh, Serbia and the United States. 

About Rocky Mountain Institute

Since 1982, Rocky Mountain Institute has advanced market-based solutions that transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure future. An independent, nonprofit think-and-do tank, RMI engages with businesses, communities and institutions to accelerate and scale replicable solutions that drive the cost-effective shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. Please visit for more information.

About the Regulatory Assistance Project

The Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) is a global, non-profit team of experts focused on the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of the power sector. RAP provides technical and policy assistance on regulatory and market policies that promote economic efficiency, environmental protection, system reliability, and the fair allocation of system benefits among consumers. RAP works extensively in the US, China, the European Union, and India. Visit to learn more.