Power Outage Safety and Preparation: What to Know Before the Electricity Shuts Off

Author: Ryan Tollefsen                      Published: 10/23/2020             Unity Home Group

Power Outage Information for Households

A power outage is a fairly common event, and it can happen to anyone at any time. This type of outage describes an interruption of power, however temporary, that causes a loss of electricity to a building. Although power outages can be over in an instant or last several days, the average is a little less than two hours. This depends on the area in which people live, as well as the time of year and the current weather.

Preparing for a power outage may seem like an impossible task, but the work often pays off with lower stress and less damage to the home. People can ensure their own safety, as well as that of their children and pets, by paying attention to the situation as it unfolds. They can also make the experience less troublesome by taking several steps to prepare for the possibility. Power outages are common enough that people may not take them very seriously. However, the type of power outage, as well as its cause, can put humans and pets at risk. These tips help people know what is going on, what they need to do, and a few things they can do in advance.

What Causes a Power Outage?

In many cases, people can learn to anticipate the possibility of a power outage based on the most likely causes. Power does not shut down arbitrarily, although it may be difficult to find the source. Common causes include:

  • Weather
  • Falling trees
  • Animals
  • Planned outages

If people understand how this event can affect their access to power, they can plan for it so that it has less of an effect on their lives.

The idea that weather can cut power may be fairly easy to understand. The typical weather events that may trigger an unexpected loss of power are:

  • Excessive wind
  • Lightning
  • Snow or ice
  • Flooding caused by runoff or excessive rain

Although most of these can be somewhat predictable, wind may be the most difficult to anticipate. Even slight winds can cause power lines to sway or touch other objects, which would trigger a temporary short in the circuit. People expecting extreme winds can plan in advance, but it does not necessarily require a tornado or hurricane to cause this problem.

Outages caused by precipitation, like snow, ice, or rain, may be temporary or could possibly last up to several days. It is important to note that flooding can cut power to underground lines as well as above-ground ones. People should consider the effect of long-lasting storms with heavy precipitation throughout the year. This may help them identify a plan of action that provides extra protection during those seasons. Likewise, lightning storms have a certain degree of predictability. Lighting strikes the closest source, which means that taller objects are at greater risk. A falling tree can take down a power line, triggering an outage.

Other Causes of Power Outages

Other possible causes of a power outage depend on the location of the power source. For example, a vehicle accident that knocks out a utility pole may temporarily shut down power to homes and businesses that rely on power going through that particular line. When only a small portion of a neighborhood has a power outage, these causes are more likely to be the trigger. Small animals may also be the culprit, since they are more likely to run up and down a utility pole and accidentally touch a transformer.

For power lines that are above ground, falling trees may be one of the biggest issues. Many things can cause a tree to fall down, including:

  • Weakness of the tree’s structure
  • Car accidents
  • Heavy snowfall or wind

Even a tree-trimming or landscaping service making a mistake could cause a limb to fall on a power line.

Ultimately, people should pay attention to their surroundings, especially the weather forecast. Power outages range from a few minutes of inconvenience to days of struggle. They can even be life-threatening if they last a long time or come when weather is extremely hot or cold. Having a plan for power outages that is tailored to the season and the family’s needs is the best way to ensure a better outcome.

Types of Power Outages

Along with different causes, there are several different types of power outages that people should consider:

  • Blackout
  • Brownout
  • Permanent Fault

A blackout indicates a complete loss of power. By comparison, a brownout indicates a decrease in the amount of available power. Its name describes the way the access to lighting changes, instead of simply having the lights go out. Brownouts may indicate the possibility of a future black out. They may also be very short in duration, lasting as little as a few seconds. A permanent fault indicates an actual problem with the line, such as a downed power line. The power restores once the problem is solved.

Rolling blackouts are a common approach taken by cities to control high electricity needs at specific times of the year. For example, in an area with very hot summers, utility companies may plan to have rolling blackouts during peak-use times of the day. This creates a short-term hassle for people without power during a specific time. It is designed to avoid overwhelming the grid, which could trigger a longer outage. Although rolling blackouts are more common in less-developed areas, they can be a prominent feature of cities with a large population as well.

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

Power Outage Home Preparation

In order for a power outage to have the least effect on people, they need to know what is likely to happen during a power outage and how they should prepare. Some outages are very brief and may not require activation of a long-term plan to cope. Others could last for days and require significant changes to family life during the outage. These aspects help people determine precisely how an outage is likely to affect them personally so they can take steps to decrease the long-term effects and possible damage.

Make a Disaster Kit and Plan

As a general rule, government organizations recommend that families have a disaster kit designed to provide for their basic needs for three days. What needs to go in the kit depends greatly on the number of people in the household, what and how much they need to consume, and other needs they may have. Experts strongly suggest gathering supplies that will accommodate pets, since food and shelter may be even more difficult to achieve for them. Although a disaster kit is designed to provide for people during a power outage while they remain in their homes, people may also want to plan for the possibility that they need to evacuate.

People should put the following items in a safe place:

  • One gallon of water per person per day
  • A three-day supply of non-perishable food, preferably items that need little or no preparation or cleanup
  • Radio that runs on batteries
  • Prescription medications in current bottles
  • First aid kit
  • Lighting, including flashlights or LED candles
  • Charging sources for phones and other devices
  • Matches
  • Personal hygiene supplies like toilet paper, soap, or menstrual products

For their pets, they should include:

  • Pet food and water
  • Familiar beds
  • Small, lightweight toys
  • Portable housing for pets if they need to be moved to another location

Although people may want to keep kits like this on hand for any disaster, some of these items will need regular rotation. For example, canned goods can last for years but not necessarily decades. Medications will require a regular update.

Preparing for a possible evacuation may be a necessity, and not just for power outages. The cause of the outage, like a flood, might require people to move to safer ground. Families should create an evacuation plan they can use when all of them are at home as well as evacuating when they are at work, school, or another location. The plan must identify:

  • Common places to go for safety
  • A couple of ways to get there, in case one is blocked
  • Ways to communicate with each other in the event people are separated

People may want to designate a family member who does not live in the area to receive and distribute communications. This can help ensure that everyone can find each other and learn if the other family members are in a safe place.

Consider Buying a Generator

When people have to consider the possibility of a power outage that lasts for several hours or longer, they may want to think about alternatives that can help them keep crucial systems running. Battery-operated devices are helpful and generally quite affordable. However, they are limited in scope and require a regular supply of batteries. Instead, it may be worth considering a generator to provide supplemental power during the outage.

Generators typically run on fuel that is easily accessible such as gasoline or propane. The fuel runs a system that produces electricity for the generator, not unlike a car’s engine. Power provided depends on the size of the generator. Some products can manage high-energy systems like an air conditioner, while others may just be enough to power a few basic outlets. The generator can be connected directly to the homes electrical system to provide a continuous current of power. There are also generators available for portable use. People should keep in mind that any system using fuel and generating exhaust must be properly ventilated outside.

Know When to Toss Food in the Fridge

Once a power outage passes the first couple of hours, people should consider what they will need to do with perishable food and other items in the home. The way that food goes bad depends on:

  • The food item
  • How it is stored
  • What kind of refrigeration devices people have

For example, fresh milk will spoil much faster at room temperature than cheese that has been aged for 1-2 years. People should keep in mind that the temperature of the refrigeration device will stay colder if they can minimize the number of times that they open it.

As a general rule, deep freezes will keep food cold longest. The items at the bottom of a chest freezer will be the last to defrost in most cases. An upright freezer may be able to keep items at a maximum acceptable temperature for a day or two. A standard refrigerator can keep most foods cold for about four hours. After this time passes, people may need to consider throwing out the food. Keeping the storage compartments as full as possible will slow down the defrosting process. If people suspect a power outage coming in several hours or days, they may want to fill containers with water and freeze or refrigerate them in advance to help keep the interior colder.

Have Light Sources Ready

Although power outages can happen at any time of the day or night, having access to adequate lighting is a necessity every time. Candles have been a popular option for decades, but people should keep in mind that products that use wax and a flame may not be the most appropriate choice. Instead, people should invest in flashlights, battery-operated button lights, and lanterns they can use. Lighting systems that use LED bulbs consume significantly less energy, which allows them to last longer on the battery. At least one light source should be easy to find at any time—even in the dark.

Minimize Extreme Weather Concerns

In extreme weather circumstances, people may need to take extra care during a power outage to ensure they do not put themselves or the other members of the household at risk. The steps they should take depend on the weather circumstances. For example, a power outage during extremely high heat may require people to open doors and windows, or use other means to keep the home from becoming hotter than the air outside.

By comparison, a power outage of more than a few hours during a very cold winter may call for people to stay inside and minimize opening any doors. This helps to keep some of the ambient heat in the home inside. They may also need to consider alternate heating sources, although fuel-based options may not be safe or realistic to use during a power outage.

People should also keep in mind that other parts of the system can be affected by cold weather. Running faucets on a slow drip can keep the water in the plumbing from freezing and bursting the pipes. Ultimately, the best thing that people can do during a power outage with extreme temperatures is to know when they should evacuate to a place that has power and access to heating and cooling. Staying in a home that is at or below freezing temperatures for days can be just as deadly as remaining in a home with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Find Ways to Stay Occupied

In a world where people rely heavily on electronic devices for work, school, and entertainment, finding other ways to pass the time is important. Although people can certainly use smartphones so long as service is available, they may want to have a backup of energy-free options. These might include:

  • Books
  • Board games
  • Playing cards

To help children avoid boredom, parents may want to keep a small number of toys and books out of their children’s regular rotation ready for such a situation. This makes it easier to ensure that the children are sufficiently engaged by the items and will spend more time interacting with them.

Know How to Report a Power Outage

Utility companies have a variety of things they can offer people dealing with a power outage. This is something that people will want to research in advance. It can also make them more aware of things like planned outages relating to upgrades to equipment. It is easy to assume that someone will report a significant power outage to the utility company so that they can work on fixing it. This is not always the case, however. People should plan to call the utility to report the outage as soon as possible. They can also look online to see if the company offers updates on their progress toward solving it.

Minimize Potential Damage

A power outage, even one that lasts only for a few minutes, can cause damage to equipment as well as putting people at risk. It is important to consider the possible loss of equipment or data as a factor in people’s preparation plans. Just as people would put their sensitive documents into a firesafe or waterproof container in case of a house fire or flood, they should be careful about what can happen to their computers or data backups from a power outage.

Systems that run on electricity are generally designed to minimize how much power goes through the circuit. This makes sense because if the systems could not control that power, then it would be very easy to send too much power to a piece of equipment and destroy it. However, around a power outage, there may be cause to suspect that the system could fail.

People may be able to minimize damage resulting from this by using tools like surge protectors or GFCI outlets. Surge protectors act as a kind of last-ditch effort to minimize the energy current. If there is a power surge due to something like a lightning strike, then the surge protector may be able to protect equipment from becoming the target of that surge. Ground fault circuit interrupters are designed to shut down the outlet as soon as the current exceeds a specific amount. This can reduce the likelihood that a surge could damage the equipment or injure the people standing nearby.

An uninterruptible power supply is one way that people can give themselves time to shut down devices without an immediate loss of power. This acts as a temporary battery for the machine and is usually built in. It is not like using a generator to charge a laptop battery, however. The UPS will run out relatively quickly, and people may end up with the same problem if they do not act to shut down the computer early enough.

People can also minimize the likelihood of damage by keeping regular backups in more than one place with one of those options maintained outside of the home. These days, cloud storage is relatively easy and cheap to access. Many people choose to keep most or all their backups through a company that provides storage space. They must periodically check on the backups to confirm they are working properly and not corrupted. Saving one bad file in a backup can make it difficult or impossible to retrieve any of the data.

Keep Phones and Electronics Charged

Charging phones and electronics that run on batteries regularly is a good way to keep communication working throughout the power outage. This means that people may not want to wait until they go to bed to charge their devices. Keeping phones or other communication tools at a battery level that will provide at least a couple of hours of use at all times can better ensure that people will have it until they get power back or can move to a place with power sources available. This also applies to backup battery options like a USB battery bank.

During a Power Outage

What to do When the Power Goes Out

In some cases, a power outage is simply a short period of time in which people may need to find other forms of entertainment. In other cases, people need to take great care to avoid hurting themselves or others during the outage. Some time-honored approaches that feel natural, like lighting a bunch of candles or running a hot bath, may not necessarily be the safest or the most practical ideas. People should take steps to ensure that they have the least amount of risk until the power is back on.

Don’t Light Candles

The idea of lighting a bunch of large candles and playing board games during a power outage holds fond memories for many adults. However, candles are a significant fire risk. Some of the ingredients in highly scented candles may not be safe for people to inhale in a home where the ventilation is currently shut down. Instead, people should plan to use LED candles or flashlights. If regular candles are the only option, they must be under constant adult supervision so that kids or pets do not knock them over.

Don’t Leave Things Plugged In

Although GFCI outlets and surge protectors are designed to control the current that goes through an outlet, this does not mean that equipment and appliances are safe to remain plugged in during a power outage. A surge can happen at any time, and an untested surge protector may not be able to prevent damage. Instead, people should plan to unplug their electronic devices in advance of the power outage or as soon as they become aware of it. This will help to ensure the equipment remains ready for use. Leaving a lamp or other light plugged in and turned on makes it easier to know when the outage is done.

Don’t Open the Fridge or Freezer (Unless Necessary)

While it may be tempting to delve into the freezer and eat all the ice cream before it melts, it is much better for people to leave the fridge and the freezer closed as long as possible. Refrigerators and upright freezers devote a large amount of surface area to the door, which means that every time someone opens the door, a significant amount of warmer air from the room can enter. People should keep at least a small amount of non-perishable goods and water they can use for eating, drinking, and cleaning until the power comes back on.

Don’t Grill Indoors or Use a Generator in Your Garage

People may not be aware that their homes have a significant number of ventilation systems designed to protect them. Most of these systems require electric power, which means they do not work during a power outage, so people need to be careful about the alternatives they might use to provide power or heat while they wait for the power to return. For example, anything that runs on fuel can generate exhaust. This exhaust is high in carbon monoxide, which can be deadly to humans and pets. It is also colorless and odorless, so people may not realize that they have a problem until they are in very serious trouble.

To reduce the likelihood that this could become a problem, people should plan to avoid using any heat or power sources that run on fuel inside the home or the garage, including:

  • Outdoor barbecue grills
  • Generators
  • Fuel-based space heaters and other equipment

People using a generator to run something like a gas furnace should also be careful. Even though both of these systems may have built-in ventilation outside, it might not be as effective. Installing carbon monoxide detectors around the home can help alert people when there is a problem. Providing shelter for the generator while it is outside may protect it from excess wind or precipitation.

Don’t Use Up All Water at Once

Hot water heaters that use a tank need electricity to start the burner or heat the water. Without power, the water in the tank will eventually become cold. However, people should be wary of how much water they use during an outage. If they are not sure of the cause, they may not know if the water supply is also at risk. A power outage caused by flooding could also mean the water supply is contaminated and unsafe for use. It is better for people to rely on bottled water for drinking and sanitation until they have more information.

Staying Comfortable With the AC or Heater Out

Even if the outside temperature isn’t at a critical level, people may still struggle to stay adequately cool or warm without access to an air conditioner or heater. In hotter temperatures, they can avoid feeling miserable or getting sick by:

  • Keeping doors and windows closed while it is hot outside
  • Using doors and windows to draw in cooler temperatures at night
  • Purchasing a battery-operated fan
  • Wetting a hand towel and leaving it to dry in the center of a room
  • Spending time in the basement or main floor, avoiding the highest level of the home

These suggestions may not prevent someone from getting heat sickness in high heat, but they can minimize most people’s discomfort for a few hours.

In cold weather conditions, households might consider heating things up by:

  • Using the fireplace or a wood burning stove (safely).
  • Wearing layers of warm clothing and using blankets.
  • Sealing their home and closing doors.
  • Using hand warmers.
  • Huddling together in the same room.

Stay Away from Pooling Water

Since storms with heavy precipitation are such a common cause of power outages, people should be aware of the dangers related to pooling water. An outage does not necessarily mean that there is no electricity in the area, just that there is some kind of fault in the circuit. Downed power lines nearby with large puddles of water from a rainstorm may create a very dangerous situation if people are in the water. Similarly, pools of water that are left standing for days may breed contaminants that could make people sick if they submerge in it or drink it.

After a Power Outage

After a power outage, people should take stock of their current situation and make plans to get back to normal. Before doing anything else, adults should research online and investigate the area. They must confirm that it is safe before allowing children or pets outside or unattended. Just because the power is back at home does not mean that everywhere is safe to go. During their inspection, people should take note of any damage inside or outside the property. They should keep close records, including pictures, if possible. This will make it easier to file a claim with insurance, if necessary.

Otherwise, people can prepare to get back to their typical daily activities. Going through the refrigerator and freezer and throwing out any food that is no longer safe for consumption should be one of the first steps. If people shut off the water supply out of concern for flooding, then they may be able to turn it back on if the city has not placed any restrictions. They should inventory any items that they used from an emergency kit, and plan to restock anything that was used up. This is also a good time to think about items that were not included but turned out to be necessary or useful.

General Energy Conservation Tips

Conserving Energy at Home

Many broad-scale power outages result because the energy demands for the area exceed the supply and electricity in reserve. People may be able to minimize the likelihood of blackouts or rolling blackouts by changing the way they consume energy in the home. Even a handful of minor changes could cut someone’s energy consumption by 10 percent or more. This is true for businesses as well as residences. If everyone in an area took similar steps, they could significantly cut the energy load without necessarily compromising on their most important needs.

When people start to think about energy conservation, they need to consider what they use as well as when they use it. There are many devices throughout the home or office that might consume more power than expected, like a box for cable or satellite television or a laser printer. Equipment can use energy even if it is turned off. Disconnecting these devices from power when they are not in use can decrease the amount of energy used by the household as a whole. If people are considerate, they may be able to unplug more than 10 devices.

The time of day that people use energy is also extremely important. For example, during the hottest part of the summer, energy needs will be highest during the hottest part of the day. This means that people are more likely to deal with a blackout in the afternoon, because more people are running resource-intensive air conditioners at that time. Adjusting thermostat settings on an air conditioner to a minimum 78 degrees Fahrenheit can cut down on the amount of energy that people need to run it. This also helps to avoid taxing the grid. Business owners could consider relaxing dress requirements so that their employees can wear clothing that is comfortable in higher temperatures.

People can also choose to run appliances during off-peak hours of the day or night. Many utility companies offer a discount to account holders who operate appliances like the oven, dishwasher, or clothes dryer at night. This helps to spread out the energy load that the city needs at any given point in time, helping them to provide power more consistently to everyone. If people do choose to run equipment in off-hours, they may not notice a decrease in their energy consumption. However, the benefit of steady power is usually enough of a reward to keep doing it.

The right choices for people depend on what they need from electricity. As a general rule, they may get extra benefits if they:

  • Find ways to stay cool other than the air conditioner
  • Rely on building ventilation instead of opening doors and windows
  • Use curtains to allow light in or keep heat out
  • Switch to LED bulbs instead of incandescent

Energy conservation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. If people plan to do a handful of things as they can, they are likely to see improvements in their energy bills as well as reducing the chances of power outages.

Staying Safe

Few people enjoy having to deal with a power outage. The longer it lasts, the more likely it is that members of a household will have to handle limited access to technology, throw out food, or consider evacuation to a building that has steady power. In most cases, people may not need to take steps to protect themselves. They only need to wait and avoid causing damage while they get updates and prepare for the power to come back on.

Since many power outages do not come with an early warning, preparation in advance is key to helping families avoid hassle or serious complications during the outage. This includes creating a plan with a kit of supplies to provide basic needs for residents and pets, as well as an evacuation plan in case of emergency. It also involves making basic upgrades to the home and buying equipment that will allow people to remain safely at home for the duration. Safe practices during the outage also make sure that everyone gets to the end with a lower risk of sickness or injury. Knowing what to do helps people to feel less worried when a power outage happens to them.



DCSEU – DC SEU Wards 7 & 8 Solar Initiative



Author: DCSEU        Published: 10/20/2020                     DOEEDCSEU Releases Solar for All RFPs to Bring More Solar to Low Income DC Residents

The DCSEU recently released two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the FY 2021 Solar for All program. The DCSEU is soliciting bids from contractors and development teams that enable the DCSEU to extend the benefits of solar power to District residents meeting specified income levels – including seniors, veterans, and residents and families with limited incomes. Selected bidders will receive incentives to install solar on single family residential homes and at community solar host sites with all output designated to low income residents.  Over the past two years, the DCSEU has partnered with contractors and developers to install 220 solar PV systems on income-qualified residents’ homes, and has built approximately 14 MW of community solar that is delivered to residents through credits on their utility bills.

Join us for two information sessions to learn more about these RFPs and how you can work with the DCSEU to bring solar to more income-qualified families in DC:

Seeking contractors to develop community solar PV projects in DC
October 20, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Register for the CREF webinar →


Seeking contractors to install solar PV on single-family homes in DC
October 21, 2020
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Register for the single-family webinar →

Solar for All is a program of the District Department of Energy & Environment that aims to bring bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low to moderate income families in the District of Columbia.


Google To Provide Digital Skills Training At HBCUs As Part Of $15 Million Pledge

Author:  Ruth Umoh         Published: 10/202/2020             Forbes

Bowie State's new Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the deepening digital divide in the U.S. as students move to online learning. For Black college students, the unequal access to digital literacy has a direct impact on their job prospects upon graduation.

In an effort to bridge the digital skills gap, Google announced on Tuesday a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide 20,000 students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with access to digital skills training starting in November.

The tech giant will launch a Career Readiness Program through a $1 million grant that will embed its national online skills training initiative, Grow with Google, and custom workforce readiness workshops into the career centers of 20 schools, with the goal to eventually reach all 101 HBCUs and the nearly 300,000 students that are enrolled in them by fall 2021.

The first four schools in the program are Bowie State University in Maryland, Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, Southern University A&M College in Louisiana and Virginia State University.

The initial $1 million investment is part of a $15 million fund to upskill Black job seekers, which Google announced amid a wave of antiracism activism in June as part of its larger $175 million commitment to racial equity.

Nearly two-thirds of the 13 million new jobs created in the U.S. between 2010 and 2018 require medium or advanced levels of digital skills, such as data analytics or social media and content marketing. But about half of Black job seekers lack the required digital competencies employers seek, hampering their economic mobility and exacerbating wage disparity.

“We’re seeing this digital transformation and acceleration occur, and so we’re making sure that the career centers within these educational institutions have the ability to immediately provide access to skills training,” says Bonita Stewart, vice president of global partnerships at Google and a graduate of the Washington, D.C.-based HBCU Howard University.

The HBCU Career Readiness Program will offer content that includes topics like design thinking, project management and professional brand building.

Google already has ongoing partnerships with HBCUs, most notably through initiatives like its Tech Exchange, a pilot that began in 2017 as a three-month computer science residency for Howard University students but has since expanded to serve students from about a dozen Black and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

HBCUs play a significant role in the creation of Black science degree holders. Though they represent just 3% of all colleges and universities in the U.S., HBCUs produce almost 30% of Black students with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields.

Still, many lack the technological infrastructure and financial resources to prioritize digital skills training. HBCUs receive a fraction of the average size of endowments that historically white colleges and universities receive and more than 75% of students at HBCUs rely on Pell Grants—a federal subsidy program for individuals with exceptional financial need—to meet their college expenses.

“At the fund, we leverage corporate partnerships that provide students from communities like these with the opportunity to access resources they wouldn’t normally have access to, especially those who are first-generation college students or first-generation corporate professionals,” says Harry Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

“This is a unique opportunity to give these students a competitive advantage and help them advance their skills in technological areas.”

COVID-19 Partner Update October 19, 2020: Campus Guidebook – Slowing the Spread at US Colleges and Universities

Author: U.S. Department of Education      Published: 10/20/2020            US Dep. of Edu.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention





DOE and National Lab Partners Will Join Forces with Local Organizations to Upgrade Energy Systems

Author: Solar Energy Technologies Office     Published:  10/20/2020                   DOE

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Program (ETIPP), a new partnership that will provide resources and access to on-the-ground support for remote and islanded communities in the United States seeking to transform their energy systems and lower their vulnerability to energy disruptions.

This cross-sector initiative will build on tools developed by DOE, pool the technical assets of community-based organizations, and engage DOE’s national labs to work alongside communities pursuing energy transitions. Together, this broad coalition will empower competitively selected communities to plan for, withstand, and recover from energy disruptions.

“Remote and islanded communities face some of the highest energy costs in the United States and are often most vulnerable to disruptions,” said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “By leveraging, refining, and building on the technical assets and resources of the Department of Energy, and working in partnership with these communities, we believe that this program can enable communities to plan for a more resilient future with more affordable energy.”

ETIPP will combine deep energy sector experience with specialized local expertise to address energy challenges, build capacity, and accelerate the sharing of best practices and innovations. Drawing upon DOE’s holistic, community-driven approach to building resilience, this coalition will provide technology-neutral technical assistance that prioritizes local challenges, values, and goals. Working collaboratively with communities, the ETIPP network will identify and advance strategic, tailored technological solutions designed to bolster community resilience and reduce economic risk.

To compound the impact of the Energy Transitions Initiative’s proven resilience framework, ETIPP will leverage the support, experience, and expertise of:

  • DOE Office of Strategic Programs
  • DOE Water Power Technologies Office
  • DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories

ETIPP will combine deep energy sector experience with specialized local expertise to address energy challenges, build capacity, and accelerate the sharing of best practices and innovations. The team selected the following community-based partners to work with communities on stakeholder and capacity development:

  • Alaska Center for Energy and Power DOE Office of Strategic Programs
  • Coastal Studies Institute
  • Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
  • Island Institute
  • Renewable Energy Alaska Project

The ETIPP network will provide technology-neutral technical assistance that prioritizes local challenges, values, and goals. The program will support at least three cohorts of communities, with an anticipated 12-18 month project per community. In winter 2020, communities will be able to apply to participate in this collaborative effort to achieve their resilience goals.


Energy Department Announces Solar Desalination Prize Competitors

Author: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office         Published: 10/19/2020             DOE

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Solar Desalination Prize

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the 19 quarterfinalists who will advance to the next contest in the $9 million Solar Desalination Prize. Part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges, the Solar Desalination Prize is designed to accelerate the development of systems that use solar-thermal energy to produce clean water from salt water for municipal, agricultural, and industrial use.

Chosen from more than 160 applicants, the 19 quarterfinalists will receive $50,000 in cash and advance to the second contest of the competition. The competitors come from 12 states and represent universities, industry, and national labs. They have proposed diverse solutions for creating low-cost solar-thermal desalination systems and a pathway to commercialization. The DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, with input from a panel of industry experts, judged the submissions. In the second phase they will establish their teams, including commercial partners and a host facility, to realize their plans to build a fully operational test system.

“Water is one of our most critical resources, but so is American ingenuity,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “These competitors are working to develop innovative solutions that will help give American families, farmers, and businesses greater access to clean water.”

Solar-thermal energy has the potential to cost-effectively purify water with very high salt content that can’t be treated with conventional desalination technologies. The quarterfinalists are developing a variety of innovative desalination methods to extract clean water from nontraditional water sources, such as water produced from extracting oil and gas, and brine from inland municipal desalination facilities.

During the competition, the quarterfinalists will have access to support and technical assistance through the American-Made Network, a group of National Labs, incubators, investors, and industry experts. The Network will help accelerate the development and commercialization of these systems by facilitating connections with venture capital firms, industry representatives, and others.

The teams being chosen today will advance to the third contest, where they will develop a detailed, feasible system design.

This prize is part of the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water. The prize is also part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges, a series of prizes that incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to administer the Solar Desalination Prize. Learn more about the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ED logo COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel

Author: US Department of Edu.             10/9/2020              WHIHBCUs




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COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and

Resources for Schools and School Personnel

HBCU Announcements

National trust

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is now accepting applications for funding through the HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative.

The HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative is a central component of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and The Executive Leadership Council. This program intends to strengthen the stewardship capacity of HBCUs and ensure these vital institutions are equipped to preserve and maintain their deeply significant historic buildings, landscapes, and other assets.

HBCUs are invited to apply for funding to support the development of new Cultural Heritage Stewardship plans for their historic campuses, buildings, and sites. Through the Initiative, the National Trust seeks to partner with up to eight HBCUs to provide targeted assistance to increase their capacity for preserving and improving campus facilities.

Interested applicants are invited to learn more during the HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative Webinar on October 16, 1 p.m. (EST). Register online.

Learn more about how to apply to the HBCU Cultural Heritage Stewardship Initiative grant program, or contact hbcu@savingplaces.org.

U.S. Department of Energy

Interest and Access: National Laboratories Fall Session  

OCT 27, 2020 | 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST

An opportunity for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Minority Businesses to engage the DOE National Laboratories and learn about FY 2021 initiatives that will benefit each group.

idustry day

Career Vacancies


Special Career Announcement

Fish Biologist Positions Announced! Application Deadline October 13 or first 350 applications

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced dozens of Fish Biologist vacancies (GS-7/9/11) across the United States in Ecological Services Field Offices, Fish & Wildlife Conservation Offices, Fish Hatcheries, and one Regional Office. Qualification requirements are listed in the vacancy announcement.

Click here to view the vacancy announcements.

Student Opportunities

film school fridays

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Working Toward a More Diverse Future


Jailene’s fellowship is one of several offered through a joint partnership between FWS and Hispanic Access Foundation’s (HAF) MANO Project. That partnership is connecting talented college students and recent graduates to careers at FWS, and it’s helping to build the next generation of conservationists that’s more reflective of our ever-changing population.

“Engaging young people and diverse communities to explore careers with agencies like FWS is important to the long-term future of our nation’s refuges and other public lands,” says Michelle Neuenschwander, director of the MANO Project. “Our work is about the next generation. We need to create experiences and opportunities today in order to cultivate the passion and workforce for tomorrow.”

During our program, interns are introduced to a variety of real-world public education, interpretation, conservation, and rehabilitation activities. The activities take place through work assignments at FWS sites and through informal and formal training sessions by FWS employees. While working with FWS, participants also receive specialized training, mentoring and ongoing support from HAF to effectively carry out their assignments and to build or enhance skills in a manner consistent with local site priorities. Interns gain an understanding of the opportunities for careers in natural resources and build skills and experience required for success in these careers.

Internships and fellowships through the partnership have taken place  across the country at FWS sites such  as  San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Pennsylvania, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and  Wildlife Refuge in New  England and Makah National Fish Hatchery in Washington state. Interns and fellows also work at various regional offices and, as in the case of Jailene, at the national headquarters.

“I was fortunate enough to visit the National Wildlife Refuges [at] Occoquan Bay, Back Bay and Great Dismal Swamp while it was safe to travel,” Jailene says. “The beautiful natural resources, and stories of black and brown kids having meaningful experiences on refuges, inspired me to commit wholeheartedly to the work behind the scenes and work my way towards implementing the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program myself someday.”

Wildlife conservation extends beyond habitat protection and species recovery; connecting people with nature is also a critical component. Through this partnership, together FWS and HAF are connecting people to our public lands, offering unique opportunities to young people, strengthening its workforce and embracing the future.


Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program

Are you a rising leader interested in confronting the nation’s most pressing challenges through public service? Apply for the 2021 Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. PMF is the Federal government’s flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. The two-year fellowship offers full salary, benefits, and leadership training to develop a cadre of future government leaders. All academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Don’t miss your shot to become a PMF!

The PMF Class of 2021 Application is NOW OPEN until 12:00pm (Eastern Time) October 14, 2020. Visit www.pmf.gov for more information.

The announcement can be found on USAJOBS (www.USAJOBS.gov) by searching for “Presidential Management Fellows” or by clicking the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xGwM9. Eligible individuals can apply by going to the “How to apply” section of the announcement and following the instructions. NOTE: You do NOT need a USAJOBS.gov account in order to apply for the PMF Program.

To learn more about eligibility and how to apply, please review the “Become a PMF” section on the PMF website at www.pmf.gov. This section also provides a number of resources, including a “PMF Applicant Handbook,” which details the annual application process, explains eligibility requirements, and required documentation, and the “Assessment Preparation Guide,” which prepares applicants for the on-line assessment. These resources, along with our “Apply Brochure,” can be found below.

National and Federal Opportunities


U.S. Department of Education

You are invited: Invention Education Webinar

Register today and plan to join us October 27, 1:30-3:00 PM ET, as we hear from Inventor Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Radia Perlman plus invention, innovation and entrepreneurship education content specialists and practitioners.  In collaboration with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and The Lemelson Foundation, we are excited to feature these speakers and to share helpful resources with you.


American Association for the Advancement of Science

New Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Webinar

The AAAS Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference team has released their most recent webinar, Back to School and “Out” of School in a New Paradigm of Teaching, Learning, and Conducting Research for viewing on demand. The latest in a series of webinars features a trio of panelists from the education sector to discuss approaching the current school year given the current climate. Throughout the webinar, participants learned of a variety of resources for strategies, research, and funding.

Gregory Triplett of VCU opens to discuss open research and simulation opportunities. These topics get refined by Linda Akli of SURA as she presents on the resources available from XSEDE. Mary Ann Leung, co-founder of SHI, closes out our presentation a slew of additional resources and programs students can apply for.

The webinar can be viewed for free here. More information, including slides, are available on the event page. Alternative viewing options are available upon request. Previous entries in the series can be found on the ERN webinar listing. You can engage in the community via @ernconference on Twitter and on LinkedIn company page.

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U.S. Department of Energy

DOE Requests Responses to Bioeconomy Workforce/Career Development Request for Information

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has released a bioeconomy workforce/career-development Request for Information (RFI). The RFI intends to identify existing bioenergy workforce development assets and gaps in the bioenergy industry and academia. BETO supports groundbreaking technologies to produce biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower (bioenergy) from non-food sources of biomass and waste resources.

One example of how BETO has been instrumental in supporting cutting-edge technology is through the groundbreaking collaboration between DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), LanzaTech, and Virgin Atlantic. This collaboration led to Virgin Atlantic’s ability  to fly the first commercial flight fueled by recycled waste gas from a steel mill. LanzaTech first converted the gas to ethanol and then, using technology developed by PNNL, upgraded the ethanol to fuel that has been approved for commercial aviation—an alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene. You can read more here.

To better understand how to prepare a skilled and diverse future bioenergy workforce, BETO is reaching out to our academic and industry partners to aid in identifying existing bioenergy workforce successes within the bioenergy industry and academic learning environment, as well as gaps that impede skill development and/or recruiting qualified individuals.

The RFI can be found on the BETO website. Feel free to use the RFI Template Word document to respond to the RFI questions. Additional comments and recommendations are welcomed. Submit your response to bioenergizeMe@ee.doe.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern, November 2, 2020.


U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Solicitation of Volunteers to Serve as Grant Proposal Reviewers

The NRC is soliciting volunteers to serve as grant proposal reviewers.  Proposal reviewers are needed for the following subprogram areas:  faculty development, scholarship, fellowship, and trade school & community college scholarship.  Each reviewer will be assigned 5 – 8 proposals to review and be expected to participate on a review panel teleconference.  Proposals will be evaluated and rated against specific review criteria outlined for each subprogram area.  All proposal reviewers must certify no conflicts of interest for the proposals they will evaluate.  This review process will begin in the next few weeks.  We ask that only serious and dedicated individuals volunteer to assist us, as we will be on a tight review schedule.

Please note, just because you submit a proposal for a particular program does not preclude you from reviewing proposals submitted from other institutions for the same program.  All reviewers must certify no conflicts of interest for the proposals they will evaluate.  If you are interested in serving on a panel as a reviewer, please respond to this message with the program you’d like to review for (i.e., faculty development, scholarship and fellowship, trade school & community college scholarship).  If you have a known conflict, please provide that information as well.

Feel free to forward this message to others that may be interested.  Please contact Nancy Hebron-Isreal (information below) with any questions.

Nancy Hebron-Isreal; Nancy.Hebron-Isreal@nrc.gov; 301-415-6996

Program Manager, Sr. Grants Administrative Specialist 

Program Management, Policy Development and Analysis


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Webcast

In case you missed the first webcast.  The information will be repeated.

The White House Initiative on the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) invites you to attend the “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program in the Midst of a Pandemic” webcast.  The repeated webcast will be held Thursday, October 29, 2020, 4:00pm – 5:00pm (EST).  Registration is requested.  To register, send email to: Rawlin.Tate@IRS.gov.  Please include:

  • Name of University/College
  • Whether the university/college has participated in the VITA Program in the past (Yes or No)

The purpose of the webinar is to share valuable information to HBCUs that would like to provide free income preparation service to their students and community which it serves.  Although the VITA Program is mainly a vehicle used for students to receive free income tax preparations, the program also provides an opportunity for financial education and ensures that the university/college receives outreach messages from the IRS; such as updates to the CARES Act.

The IRS is keenly aware that due to COVID-19 the VITA Program will have to be delivered differentially than it has been in the past.  Whereas, in the past, the Program was delivered in a face-to-face format.  During the webcast, the IRS will share ideas on how to deliver the program via a non-contact, virtual model.  These models can be enacted even if students are not on campus.  The IRS’ goal is to maintain the safety those that volunteer in our sponsored programs while providing a valuable service.

The White House Initiative and IRS look forward to your presence on the webcast

U.S. Department of Energy Provides $65 Million for ‘Connected Communities’

    DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office    Published: 10/13/2020          DOE

U.S. Department of Energy - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $65 million through its Connected Communities funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to expand DOE’s network of grid-interactive efficient building communities nationwide.

“As our Nation’s energy system continues to undergo dramatic transformations, there is a growing need for solutions that integrate and optimize all of our energy resources on the grid to provide Americans with the most reliable and affordable electricity possible,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “With today’s announcement, DOE will broaden its capability to evaluate and demonstrate the growing flexibility of one such solution—smart, grid-interactive, efficient buildings—to best serve the needs of building occupants and the grid while reducing energy consumption overall.”

America’s 125 million homes and commercial buildings currently use almost 40% of U.S. energy, 74% of its electricity, and account for the great majority of peak electricity demand. Connected communities can leverage the latest advancements in building science, like state-of-the-art sensors, controls, and analytics, to more flexibly manage and deploy grid-scale energy efficiency and distributed energy resources.

“The integration of emerging technologies and systems is essential to the success of efforts to maximize the effectiveness of advanced building technologies,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R. Simmons. “Our Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings Initiative helps the U.S. further modernize its power grid and thus improve reliability, integrate renewable power sources, improve environmental performance, and make electricity more affordable for America’s households and businesses.”

Integration is at the heart of the Connected Communities FOA, and the Building Technologies Office (BTO) within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is collaborating with EERE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and Vehicle Technologies Office and DOE’s Office of Electricity and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to bring together critical technologies and programs. The FOA, first described in a Notice of Intent and later shaped by responses to a Request for Information, could increase by five-fold the number of EERE-supported testbeds like Reynolds Landing in Hoover, Alabama. As a recent report by Oak Ridge National Laboratory shows, Reynolds Landing uses 44% less energy than comparable all-electric communities and 34% less power demand during winter peak hours, leading to lower utility bills for families while in higher-functioning houses.

Teams of broad partners are necessary to undertake this innovative and ambitious endeavor. To learn more about this FOA and its teaming partner list and to submit a concept paper, please visit EERE Exchange. To see what DOE plans to learn about and demonstrate in these connected communities, click HERE.



Authors: Ronald Bethea and Will R. Shirley  Published: 9/11/2020   National Association of Blacks In Solar  T/A  Blacks In Solar


Website: blacksinsolar.com



Tue Sep 29, 2020 1pm – 3pm Eastern Standard Time 


The current coronavirus crisis has destroyed millions of American jobs, including hundreds of thousands in clean energy. As Congress,  in the first week of July, started deliberating and debating economic stimulus support for the energy industry, a new analysis of unemployment data showed the biggest part of America’s energy economy – clean energy – lost another 27,000 jobs in May, bringing the total number of clean energy workers who have lost their jobs in the past three months to more than 620,500. It has exacerbated historic environmental injustices. And with all this, we need millions of construction jobs, skilled trades, and engineering workers to build a new American infrastructure and clean energy economy. These jobs will create pathways for young people and for older workers shifting to new professions, and for people from all backgrounds and all communities.

A recent press release by the Biden Campaign is titled, “THE BIDEN PLAN TO BUILD A MODERN, SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE AND AN EQUITABLE CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE”. If Biden is elected in November, his administration will make a $2 trillion accelerated investment, with a plan to deploy those resources over his first term, setting us on an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands, along with the following developments:

1. The cost of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100 percent renewable energy over the next 10 years is an estimated $4.5 trillion, according to a new Wood Mackenzie analysis.

2. Amazon Launches U.S $2.  Billion Climate Pledge Fund Amid Reputation Crisis

3. Microsoft’s New Environmental Sustainability Initiative and $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund, along with Sol Systems and Microsoft, Working Together on Portfolio of 500 megawatts of U.S. Solar Project, and Investments in Communities on the Front Lines of Climate Change.

4. Chicago Launches $200 million RFP to Power City Facilities by Renewable Energy

5. New York’s $701 Million Program for EV Charging, By the Numbers

6. Wells Fargo makes a $200 billion Sustainable Finance Commitment through 2030, with at least 50% going toward renewable energy and clean technology projects. Wells Fargo also provides $5 million in seed funding to create the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund with the nonprofit, GRID Alternatives, to support solar projects in tribal communities.

7. Wells Fargo announces a renewable energy transaction that will power 400 Wells Fargo properties in Texas from a new utility-scale solar installation in the state.

8. With commitments of  160 cities, more than ten counties, and eight states across the U.S. have goals to power their communities with 100% clean, renewable energy in total. Over 100 million people now live in a community with an official 100% renewable electricity target.

9. Thirty-six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court examined a toenail on this question—answering it mostly negatively.   In  1976 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) vs Federal Commission 425, US 662 1976 (“FPC,” FERC’s predecessor) to issue a rule prohibiting utilities from discriminating against their employees based on race. Their proposed rule would have required the Commission to “(a) enumerate unlawful employment practices; (b) require regulates to establish a written program for equal employment opportunity, which would be filed with the Commission; and (c) provide for individual employees to file discrimination complaints directly with the Commission” (as summarized in Chief Justice Burger’s concurring opinion). Citing the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act, the NAACP argued that (a) the FPC’s substantive statutes declare the businesses of selling electricity and natural gas to be “affected with a public interest,” and (b) racial discrimination by utilities conflicts with the public interest.  The FPC therefore was both authorized and obligated to bar racial discrimination by its licensees.

The question becomes where is the Green Economic Development Plan for Black America? Many of our southern states are regulated markets, with no  public policy and legislation. The lack of Renewable Energy Standards in many of our southern states make many of the large-scale megawatt solar projects non bankable for solar companies. This was recently the case for Will R. Shirley, E.M.Sc. President/CEO Sundial Solar Power Developers, Inc. of Jackson, Mississippi, the only African American owned solar company in the state of Mississippi. In a recent letter to his solar farm clients, he communicated the following:

“Dear Sir: Sundial Solar Power Developers, Inc. (Sundial Solar), has, over the last 3 years, experienced serious setbacks, and roadblocks in getting projects like yours off the ground. In your case Sundial Solar has explored every way possible to make your project a bankable endeavor; however, your family and other families like yours are being shut out of a 25-year, generational economic opportunity. In our estimation, the main cause of these setbacks and roadblocks is the lack of Renewable Energy Standards in the State of Mississippi. As a result of Sundial Solar’s efforts to service Mississippi landowners like you, we can deliver anecdotal evidence that families like yours have been denied several hundreds of thousands of dollars based on unfair and immoral state policy that economically discriminates against Mississippi landowners”.

This is not just a Mississippi problem, but this is a national problem in regulated markets. This is not an issue for African American Solar design, installation, and workforce development companies but all companies doing business in the United States.

Looking at the data recently put out by the 2019 Solar Foundation Diversity, we have a little over 9,000 solar companies doing business in the United States. But we have been able to confirm only less than 20 African American Solar companies doing business in the United States.

The South, Southwest, East Coast, and major cities and urban markets across the United States where the large percentage of the African American population reside, makes it almost impossible to increase market share for African Solar Design, Installation, and Work Force Development companies to increase their market share.

When we take a look at the Solar Foundation’s 2019 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, the diversity shortfall is not unique to the solar industry. The Government Accountability Office found that as of 2015, women represent only 22% of the technology workforce and African American workers represent only 7%, figures that remained virtually unchanged over a decade (See Below).

As we look at third-party recruiters which are independent recruiters contracted by solar companies to uncover, vet, and hire, the question is how many of the third-party recruiters are African American companies contracted to look for talent from our HBCUs.

When we also take a closer look at upstream solar firms that engage in manufacturing, sales and distribution activities, other solar firms provide finance, legal services, research, advocacy, and not-for-profit education activities. The African American presence in these areas is nonexistent, after 12 years of the solar industry being the fasted growing industry for job growth in United States.

 The Case for a National Organization that Supports Solar in our Neighborhoods

National statistics concerning black people in the solar industry are disappointing as we can see on the following charts (please click to enlarge.)



In the above chart we can see that Black solar worker demographics do not even compete with Latino demographics (please click to enlarge).


Our concern is that we need to prepare our people for full participation in the New Renewable Energy Economy Revolution. If we do not ORGANIZE NOW, our future in the renewable solar energy economy will continue to be relegated to the Consumer Class with low ownership positions and exceptionally low economic benefit for our schools, HBCUs, municipalities, counties, and businesses.

There are many more specific problems that the black owned solar companies face nationwide. These more specific problems can only be addressed and only be solved by a nationally structured, systematic 25-year plan to alleviate solar discrimination and injustices that are prevalent in the solar industry today.

The list of disparities, when it comes to national, state, and local solar policy development for the black community, is unacceptable going forward into the 21st century. Aside from the challenges listed above, below is a list of specific on-going problems that cannot and will not be addressed by the status quo.

  1. The list of the “solar uninformed” in the Black community includes: K-12 school administrators, Black business leaders (small and large), HBCU presidents, Black mayors, Black county supervisors and administrators, and non-profit leaders.
  2. No HBCU strategy exists that will produce new solar business owners, HBCU student solar associations, 25 years of electric utility savings, thereby creating a savings fund (or similar approach) that can be utilized to help address the priority financial issues of each HBCU.
  3. No concerted strategy that re-focuses Workforce Development resources in Black communities. There is no mechanism that associates workforce development dollars in Black communities to solar job training for young black men and women. Question – with no concerted strategy in the black community, how can black solar professionals be created, thrive, and fully participate in the world’s fastest growing industry?
  4. No “Solar-Based Economic Development” strategies exist that deliver effective, long-term solar policies for the Black community. Just as in the case of “Technology-Based Economic Development” that changed the process of how industries, governments, and communities used technology prosper, so can “Solar-Based Economic Development” change the process of how Black communities, governments, educational entities, and businesses can begin to develop strategies that will produce short and long-term economic benefits. If the status quo remains in place for the next 10 years, Black people in America will be totally shut out of the economic benefit, prosperity and affluence that is being realized by others in the solar industry. We as Black people need to use solar power as an economic development tool that will drive high paying jobs in the new green economy
  5.  No targeted job training exists in America that focuses on preparing young Black men and women for careers in the solar industry. As one can see, national solar workforce numbers reveal an unsustainable future. Black owned solar companies in America represent a disappointing percentage of the total amount of solar companies in business.  This percentage reflects badly on black participation in solar from an ownership position in the world’s fastest growing industry. This number also reflects badly on future generational participation in the industry. (National Association of Blacks in Solar Initial Organizing Document July 2020)
  6.  No “means of production” of solar equipment exists in the Black community. When the world is going solar, how is it that there is not one single solar panel manufacturing company, owned by a consortium of Black owners, that can produce full panels or sub-panel components
  7.  Black owned solar companies face a double whammy when it comes to supply chain issues – first, no Black means of production exists (mentioned above) and no purchasing coop/organization is in place that can negotiate pricing on large scale solar panel purchases for Black owned solar companies. Most economists recognize the power of group purchasing opportunities. If the few Black owned solar companies that exist today had an opportunity to buy solar panels at deep discounts via co-op purchasing agreements, great advances could be made in the supply chain that favorably addresses a growing black-owned solar company population in America.
  8.  No national solar consultancy exists to support black institutions in America in realizing the prospects of “Solar-Based Economic Development”. NABS will address this serious issue by establishing a process for evaluating social, political, economic environments and priorities in the development of an individualized long-term solar strategy for HBCUs, Black municipalities, Black county governments, the Black business community, and Black non-profits.


HBCU Five- Year Green Economic Development Sustainability Plan

 Ronald Bethea, President and Founder of Positive Change Purchasing Cooperative LLC. Our cooperative is presently serving as advocate, marketing and funding raising and research. Our organization, working with Lilia Abron, Ph. D, P.E., BCEE President PEER Consultants, has developed an HBCU Five-Year Green Economic Development Sustainability Plan.

This power point presentation is an action plan template drawn up by PEER to serve as a starting plan for colleges and universities interested in making their campuses more sustainable. Please understand the goals, actions, and measures within this sustainability plan are tentative and can be tailored specifically to meet the needs of college and universities after their input. Goals are as follows:

  • To provide a blueprint for economic self-reliance for the solar and renewal energy companies both large and small, along with increasing market share for African American Solar design, installation, and workforce development companies.
  • To address the economic effect of high energy cost for HBCUS.
  • To utilize Black American owned farmlands and HBCU campuses to develop capacity and initiatives for solar installation projects to bring down the numbers of unemployment, under employed young black men and women.
  • Educating the black community locally and nationally about the economic impacts of climate change and the need for environmental education in the black community through black talk radio programs such as “Solar Now and The Future with Its Economic Impact on Black America”.

The proposed National Association of Blacks in Solar shall be organized based on the premise that the Black Community, in every state of the union, is being left out of major solar policy decisions that concern the specific needs of the Black community. NABS will be organized to fill these policy gaps in national, state, and local solar policy development. These problems persist and will continue to persist unless there is a nationally based organizational structure created that can start the process of rectifying the problems listed above. Again, there exist NO Solar Policy Initiatives that support any of our black institutions in a sustainable, long-term basis – the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN SOLAR will begin the process of delivering effective solar planning, policy development and policy implementation for our people.

Charter members of National Association of Blacks in Solar:

Positive Change Purchasing Cooperative       w: positivechangepc.com


PEER Consultants, P.C.W: peercpc.com





Demand for Residential Solar Expected to Double by 2023

Author: Matthew Mwecure        Published: 2/24/2020                      SEIA

A recent report shows that the U.S. residential solar market reached record highs in the third quarter of 2019, with 713 MW of solar installed, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The U.S. solar market added 2.6 GW of solar photovoltaics in the third quarter, growing the total U.S. solar capacity to 71.3 GW. The increase in residential installations helped the U.S. solar market grow 45% year-over-year and contributed to 15 states having their best quarter ever for residential solar.

States with smaller solar markets, such as Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico and Iowa, all saw record residential growth due to continued price declines and improvements to the economic competitiveness of solar across the country. Active companies from around the market with current developments include Singlepoint Inc., First Solar Inc., SolarEdge Technologies Inc., Enphase Energy Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc.

“This positive report makes clear that American families are demanding energy choice and solar, and that our industry is ready to deliver,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA.

“This is the kind of growth and investment we could see going forward if we make smart policy moves, like extending the solar Investment Tax Credit and stopping additional tariffs. Failure to make these policy moves will limit deployment potential and cost jobs,” she adds.

California continues to be the largest residential solar market, installing nearly 300 MW in the third quarter of 2019, breaking its own quarterly record.

Key Figures

  • In Q2 2019, the U.S. solar market installed 2.1 GWdc of solar PV, representing a 7% decline from Q2 2018.
  • U.S. utility PV has seen 11.2 GWdc of new projects announced in the first half of 2019, bringing the utility PV pipeline to a historic high of 37.9 GWdc.
  • Residential solar continues its rebound, growing 3% quarter-over-quarter and 8% year-over-year. Q2 2019 was the fourth consecutive quarter of more than 600 MWdc of installed residential capacity.
  • Non-residential PV saw 426 MWdc installed – a decline from Q1 – as policy shifts in states including California, Massachusetts and Minnesota continue to impact growth.
  • Wood Mackenzie forecasts 17% year-over-year growth in 2019, with 12.6 GWdc of installations expected. In total, more than 6 GW were added to the five-year forecast since last quarter to account for new utility-scale procurement.
  • Total installed U.S. PV capacity will more than double over the next five years, with annual installations reaching 17.6 GWdc in 2021 prior to the expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for residential systems and a drop in the commercial tax credit to 10% for projects not yet under construction.

1. Introduction

In Q2 2019, the U.S. solar market installed 2.1 gigawatts direct current (GWdc) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, a 7% decrease year-over-year. After residential solar grew 8% in 2018, the sector has continued to stabilize in the first half of this year, with 8% year-over-year growth in Q2 following 7% year-over-year growth in Q1. Conversely, non-residential PV suffered both quarterly and annual declines due to policy transitions and persistent interconnection issues in key commercial markets. The quarter saw 1 GWdc of utility-scale installations – slightly lower than average – but with new project procurement growing the contracted pipeline to a record high of 37.9 GWdc. Across all market segments, solar PV accounted for 36% of all new electricity generating capacity additions in the first half of 2019.


Modest residential growth continues in Q2 2019

After growing 8 percent in 2018, the residential market continued apace over the first half of 2019, with installations trending 7% higher than in the same period last year. This level of growth suggests increased market maturity and a more sustainable growth profile. National installers hold a lower collective market share than in years past and are now operating alongside a mix of local and regional installers, resulting in increased competition. Mature markets continue to see modest to flat growth rates despite consistent volumes, owing to increased challenges in customer acquisition at higher penetration levels. The continued emergence of new markets has helped to sustain steady installation volumes on a national basis.


Non-residential PV enters a second consecutive year of annual decline

Unlike the residential market, a handful of state-specific regulatory cliffs and policy reforms that took effect in 2018 continued to impact non-residential installations in H1 2019. Major policy reforms continued to hamper development in the core non-residential markets of California, Massachusetts and Minnesota. In the case of California, installations were flat on both a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis, which suggests that installation declines stemming from the transition to new time-of-use rates are abating. In Massachusetts, non-residential deployment numbers continue to be impacted by interconnection delays, despite a pipeline of projects sitting mechanically complete. This has resulted in market declines on both a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis.

That being said, positive policy developments in New York, Maryland, Maine and New Jersey in H1 2019 will collectively allow the market to grow in the period 2020-2022 before it declines in 2023 in response to the step-down of the solar Investment Tax Credit under current federal law.

New utility procurement breaks records while 100% renewables targets and offsite corporate demand boost long-term outlook

Utility PV maintained the largest share of installed capacity in the U.S. solar market this quarter. A total of 1.1 GWdc of utility PV capacity came online in Q2 2019, representing 49% of quarterly capacity additions. With a record-high 8.7 GWdc of projects under construction, 2019 is on track to be a strong year for utility-scale installations. An additional 29 GW of contracted projects are scheduled to come online over the next several years. This pipeline positions 2020 to be the largest year on record for utility-scale installations, with 12.6 GWdc expected to come online.

After record-high procurement of 15 GWdc in 2018, procurement has surged to 11.2 GWdc in the first half of 2019, with 6.2 GWdc in Q2 alone. The contracted pipeline has ballooned to 37.9 GWdcthe highest it has ever been in the history of U.S. utility solar. Several utilities, including Duke Energy, NV Energy, Clean Power Alliance and East Bay Community Energy, have announced large solar procurements, and announcements from corporate offtakers such as Starbucks, Microsoft and Anheuser-Busch have also increased.

With the increased demand from corporate offtakers, offsite corporate procurement now ranks as the main driver of 17% of all new projects announced in 2019. As more companies commit to 100% renewable power, offsite corporate procurement is expected to drive more than 20% of new capacity additions from 2019 through 2024. The procurement needed to fulfill the many renewable-energy and zero-carbon commitments recently made by cities, states and utilities is just starting to occur, with significant additional procurement driven by renewable portfolio standards expected in the near to medium term. However, voluntary procurement of utility PV based on its economic competitiveness continues to be the primary driver of projects announced in 2019, accounting for 55% of total announcements. This procurement has been driven by the low cost of utility PV, with recently signed PPA prices ranging from $18 to $35/MWh.


2. Market Segment Outlooks

2.1. Residential PV

Key Figures

  • 628 MWdc installed in Q2 2019
  • Up 8% from Q2 2018
  • Up 3% from Q1 2019

Modest growth in the residential segment over the past several quarters has been led by emerging state markets. In Q2 2019, one-fourth of all residential installations came from state markets outside the top 10, representing the highest total in industry history. These emerging markets are helping to offset low to flat growth in many legacy state markets, which up until recently were the major drivers of residential segment growth. As these states continue to grow past early-adopter consumers, higher costs of customer acquisition will challenge the industry to innovate product offerings and continue to diversify geographically.

From 2019-2021, residential growth will range from 2% to 19% due to both emerging markets with strong resource fundamentals like Florida and Texas, and markets where recent policy developments have increased our near-term forecasts. Maryland’s recent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) increase, the removal of South Carolina’s net metering cap, and new incentive programs such as Illinois’ Adjustable Block Program will provide significant upside and growth to our residential forecasts over the next few years. Meanwhile, California’s new home solar mandate will also help to offset market penetration challenges beginning in 2020.

In the long term, the ITC step-down is expected to pull in demand in both legacy and emerging markets before expiring in 2022 for customer-owned systems. Modest growth resumes in 2023 and continues into 2024 based on economic fundamentals as the market adjusts to less attractive post-ITC market conditions. That said, long-term growth in a post-ITC world will be contingent on geographic diversification outside of legacy state markets, as well as technological and business-model innovation to improve product offerings in the solar-plus-storage space.


2.2. Non-residential PV

Key Figures

  • 426 MWdc installed in Q2 2019
  • Down 2% from Q1 2019
  • Down 16% from Q2 2018

Non-residential installation totals in Q2 2019 were the weakest since Q3 2016. California and Massachusetts continue to see declining volumes due to state-level policy reforms and interconnection delays that limit development opportunities. Overall, the non-residential PV market is on track for another down year as the segment acclimates to a reduced incentive environment across major state markets. However, this will be incrementally offset starting in 2020 as the next wave of states with robust community solar mandates – New York, Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey – experience growth.

Recent policy developments in the Northeast will ultimately spur growth in our long-term outlook. Significant revisions to the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) docket in New York have bolstered our long-term forecasts for both commercial and community solar. Meanwhile, Maryland and Maine have both passed more aggressive RPS policies, which are expected to boost lagging REC markets. Maine went even further to create a commercial solar tariff and community solar program.

Increasing solar-plus-storage viability will also begin to have an impact on non-residential demand as policymakers and business leaders increasingly consider energy storage in their decisions. New York’s recent development of the Bridge Incentive increases our long-term solar-plus-storage forecasts with further potential upside. By 2023, roughly 30% of total non-residential PV capacity will come from community solar, and 20% of all non-residential capacity is expected to have storage attached.


2.3. Utility PV

Key Figures

  • 1,023 MWdc installed in Q2 2019
  • Utility PV pipeline currently totals 37.9 GWdc

The U.S. utility solar forecast for 2019-2024 has grown by 6.7 GWdc since last quarter thanks to unprecedented levels of procurement. New project announcements are exceeding projects completed as developers and utilities are working to safe-harbor as much capacity as possible before the ITC steps down. We have also seen more utility solar in long-term resource plans and requests for proposals from utilities such as Tennessee Valley Authority, Appalachian Power, Dominion Energy and Hawaiian Electric.

Since last quarter, the 2019 forecast has decreased slightly to 8.1 GWdc. This decrease is due to a handful of large projects that have pushed out target commercial operation dates (CODs) to 2020. But following this year, the forecasts for 2020 and 2021 have been increased by 2.5 and 1.0 GWdc, respectively. While project spillover from 2019 has bolstered the 2020 forecast, the biggest cause of the forecast increase has been new project announcements. There was 6.2 GWdc of new projects announced in Q2 2019, including 2.8 GWdc specifically targeting 2020 COD and 2.3 GWdc targeting 2021 COD.

From 2022-2024, our utility PV forecast has increased by 4.0 GWdc. While a portion of this can be attributed to 2.0 GWdc of newly procured projects with 2022-2024 target CODs, we expect that utility demand for solar will continue to increase. The cost-competitiveness of utility PV has made it the primary resource for utilities seeking additional energy capacity, as well as those looking to meet more stringent RPS targets. This is in part due to utility PV becoming increasingly cost-competitive with wind. As the wind-focused federal Production Tax Credit steps down, solar begins to fall below the cost of wind on a levelized cost of energy basis in many traditional wind states. In states such as Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan and the Dakotas, solar competes with wind on a cost basis by the mid-2020s, while also providing a complementary production profile.

The low cost of utility PV has also increased demand from corporate offtakers – in the first half of 2019, 2.4 GW of utility-scale solar projects with corporate offtakers were announced. Currently, 3.7 GWdc of the projects expected to come online in 2020 have a corporate offtaker, representing 28% of the 2020 forecast. While a short-term increase in demand could be inflated by corporate offtakers securing low-priced power-purchase agreements before the ITC steps down, we believe offsite corporate demand will continue to grow across the U.S. as more corporate and industrial offtakers pledge to become carbon-neutral or powered by 100% renewables. Consequently, Wood Mackenzie expects that corporate demand will drive over 20% of utility solar development from 2019-2024.




3. National PV System Pricing

We employ a bottom-up modeling methodology to track and report national average PV system pricing for the major market segments. This methodology is based on tracked wholesale pricing of major solar components and data collected from interviews with major installers.


In Q2 2019, system pricing fell across all market segments. System pricing fell quarter-over-quarter by 0.7%, 1.1%, 2.8% and 2.5% in the residential, non-residential, utility fixed-tilt and utility single-axis tracking markets, respectively. Prices across all market segments are now at an all-time low: $2.87/Wdc, $1.45/Wdc, $0.90/Wdc and $1.01/Wdc for residential, non-residential, utility fixed-tilt and utility single-axis tracking systems, respectively. Year-over-year system pricing fell by 6.8%, 7.4%, 10.0% and 11.4% in the residential, non-residential, utility fixed-tilt and utility single-axis tracking markets, respectively.

4. Component Pricing

Starting in Q1 2019, the U.S. solar market insight report series expanded its coverage to include pricing information on mono wafers, mono cells and mono modules, in addition to their multi counterparts. In Q2 2019 global spot market pricing for all major components saw little change from the prior quarter except for pricing for polysilicon and mono cells. Polysilicon prices dropped by over 8% in Q2, a continuation of an 18-month-long trend. Mono cell prices also declined, indicating an end to the cell supply shortage. The increased production of mono cells drove up prices for mono wafers by about $0.01/W.

In the U.S., multi-silicon module prices declined slightly to $0.35/W in Q2 2019 from $0.36/W in Q1 2019. Mono PERC module prices increased by nearly three cents to $0.43/W, reflecting strong demand in the U.S. market.


About the Report

U.S. solar market insight® is a quarterly publication of Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, Inc. d/b/a Greentech Media and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)®. Each quarter, we collect granular data on the U.S. solar market from nearly 200 utilities, state agencies, installers and manufacturers. This data provides the backbone of this U.S. solar market insight® report, in which we identify and analyze trends in U.S. solar demand, manufacturing and pricing by state and market segment. We also use this analysis to look forward and forecast demand over the next five years. All forecasts are from Wood Mackenzie, Limited; SEIA does not predict future pricing, bid terms, costs, deployment or supply.

  • References, data, charts and analysis from this executive summary should be attributed to “Wood Mackenzie/SEIA U.S. solar market insight®.”
  • Media inquiries should be directed to Wood Mackenzie’s PR team (WoodmacPR@woodmac.com) and Morgan Lyons (mlyons@seia.org) at SEIA.
  • All figures are sourced from Wood Mackenzie. For more detail on methodology and sources, click here.
  • Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables (WM P&R) partners with Clean Power Research to acquire project-level datasets from participating utilities that utilize the PowerClerk product platform. For more information on Clean Power Research’s product offerings, visit https://www.cleanpower.com/

Our coverage in these reports includes 43 individual states and Washington, D.C. However, the national totals reported include all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The U.S. solar market insight® is offered in two versions – the Executive Summary and the Full Report. The Executive Summary is free, and the Full Report is available individually each quarter or as part of an annual subscription. Detailed data and forecasts by state are available in the Full Report. To find out more, click here.


Note on U.S. solar market insight report title: WM P&R and SEIA have changed the naming convention for the U.S. solar market insight report series. Starting with the report released in June 2016 onward, the report title will reference the quarter in which the report is released, as opposed to the most recent quarter in which installation figures are tracked. The exception will be our year in review publication, which covers the preceding year’s installation volumes despite being released during the first quarter of the current year.

About the Authors

Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables | U.S. Research Team

Austin Perea, Senior Solar Analyst (lead author)
Colin Smith, Senior Solar Analyst
Michelle Davis, Senior Solar Analyst
Lindsay Cherry, Solar Analyst
Xiaojing Sun, Senior Solar Analyst

Solar Energy Industries Association | SEIA

Shawn Rumery, Director of Research
Aaron Holm, Data Engineer
Rachel Goldstein, Research Analyst
Justin Baca, Vice President of Markets & Research

Resource Type


Entrepreneur Wants to Bring Wind Power to Md.’s Eastern Shore

Author:   Zenitha Prince         Published: 11/7/2013 reposted 10/12/2020       AFR

It’s been about 25 years since Paul Reeves began chasing windmills.

The Chicago native had just finished working for Jesse Jackson Sr.’s presidential campaign in 1988 when a news item sparked his life’s interest.

“I was reading about the Caribbean, and how poor people could not afford electricity because the cost was out of range,” the 59-year-old said. And, sadly, he realized, the same was true for many rural and urban minority families in the United States. That’s when he started spreading the gospel of renewable energy and the opportunities for energy independence and economic prosperity it presented to African-American communities.

“Blacks have to learn how to control their own destiny when it comes to energy,” he said. “Without developing some type of capability to create renewable energy, you are always going to find yourself at the mercy of large utility companies that don’t necessarily have your interests at heart.”

Reeves’ passion for his mission is almost palpable. “I feel somewhat like an evangelist talking about this,” said the great-grandson of a Chicago minister. “This is my calling. This is my ministry…. I get up in the morning and I’m excited to go to work.”

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, SUNY’s W. Averell Harriman College of Public Policy and Management at Stony Brook and Dartmouth University’s Amos Tuck School of Business, Reeves founded the company One World Energy to further his cause throughout rural, disadvantaged communities of color.

He had to learn from the ground up, and cut his teeth in the wind energy business working with Black farmers in Oklahoma. The college-educated crusader was a novelty to the mostly older farmers, many of whom have little formal education. They barely understood him, but they admired his passion.

“I learned a very valuable lesson the first time I interacted with those Black farmers in Oklahoma—that you have to keep things simple,” Reeves recollected.

For example, in explaining the startup costs of a wind farm, which could reach up to $2 million, Reeves said he had to equate it with the startup costs of, say, planting a corn field.

Few of the Black agrarians could afford those startup costs, but the projects got financial and other support through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America initiative, with which Reeves later worked as a liaison to Black communities.

The funding from that program soon dried up, though, and Reeves had to get creative.
“We started looking at HBCUs as a conduit,” he said.

The move not only created more jobs for the community, but also established an avenue for student involvement.

“Renewable energy for minority students is something exotic,” Reeves said. “So, I’d like to take wind turbines out of the exotic and make it something tangible that they can envision as part of their future.”

Among Reeves’s latest projects is the creation of working with is the creation of a 4-megawatt turbine on the campus of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

He also has a provisional agreement with the university to create a 150-megawatt wind farm in Worcester County, Md. The project will include about 70 to 80 turbines, measuring 320 feet high, that could potentially power about 60,000 homes.

“Officials and everyone down here have been very welcoming,” he said.

That may be because of the unique approach to the development. Reeves is pursuing the wind farm under the aegis of National Renewable Solutions, a company with which he’s been working for three years as a project developer.

“One of the reasons I like working for NRS is that they have a community ownership approach, which ensures that everyone within the project’s footprint has an economic stake,” he said.

“A more cooperative approach to energy would benefit more people,” he added, “because you’re not so motivated by profit margins.”

The Eastern Shore project is still in the process of obtaining permits, and Reeves said he is in negotiation with several Black businesses in the area to become part owners of the farm with an eye to creating majority-minority ownership of the project.

The energy hub is slated for completion by 2015 or 2016, he said.

Meanwhile, Reeves is also pursuing his work with Upepo Energy Group, which he founded in 2001. Through Upepo, the energy evangelist works with nonprofits to educate inner-city residents about the health benefits associated with renewable energy usage. Traditional power plants are disproportionately situated in or near poor Black neighborhoods, he said, and the resulting pollution decimates the health of many Black children, who disproportionately suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

He also works to generate energy ownership models for low-income communities of color that would create a hedge against the price volatility of conventional electricity.

“We have to decide that we don’t want to kill our children. We have to decide that we don’t want our elderly to make these draconian choices between eating and having heat…. This is unconscionable, and we can change that paradigm,” he said.

Voices of 100%: Gainesville’s Utilities Craft Path to Zero Carbon — Episode 114 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Author: Drew Birschach          Published: 10/7/2020                  ILSR

Florida has been hard hit by the climate change-fueled growth of hurricane season over recent decades. Despite the pressures of disastrous weather and the complications of living in a landlocked part of the state, Gainesville, Fla. leads the way to net zero emissions and 100% renewable energy.

In this episode of our Voices of 100% series of the Local Energy Rules Podcast, host John Farrell speaks with Adrian Hayes-Santos, city commissioner of Gainesville, Fla., and Bob Tancig, a local climate advocate working with Citizens Climate Lobby, NAACP, and more. They discuss the city’s efforts to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and their efforts towards 100% renewable municipal energy.

Listen to the full episode and explore more resources below — including a transcript and summary of the conversation.

Episode Transcript

Gainesville Jumps into Renewable Energy

In 2018, Gainesville’s City Commission resolved to reach 100% renewable electricity and net zero emissions community-wide by 2045. The city’s commitment includes more than 100 city vehicles planned for electrification. The commitment came after significant compromise between many groups.

Hayes-Santos says that their community sees both sides of the energy coin. A decade ago, Gainesville was one of the first cities in Florida to implement a solar feed-in tariff, yet the landlocked city has few means to produce wind power.

“We’re called the swamp because it feels like a swamp. A lot of times we just have no wind at all,” says Hayes-Santos.

Other renewable energy efforts include the city’s biomass farm burning waste wood that would otherwise be left to rot, solar power accompanied by battery packs, and tying into potential wind power from the city’s onshore neighbors. Florida has yet to tap into gulfstream winds.

Florida is one of three states unable to meet its energy needs with a combination of in-state wind, hydro, and rooftop solar. Read more in the third edition of Energy Self-Reliant States.

Despite those efforts, the city still relies on gas and coal for two-thirds of its electricity. The slow transition is surprising, since the electricity provider, Gainesville Regional Utilities, is municipally owned. However, there is a disconnect between the city’s goals and the utility’s intentions, says Hayes-Santos.

A breakdown of the sources of Gainesville's energy

Recent personnel changes have built hope for the pursuit of Gainesville’s 100% goal, but Tancig says there’s a long way to go. Part of that stems from past disagreements between the city commission and the utility, but both Tancig and Hayes-Santos remain confident that those elected will represent the city well.

One of the major things that the utility’s head had to work on is changing the culture within the utility to be receptive, to going to a hundred percent renewable because theirs has been a culture of ‘we’re a coal and gas kind of place.’

– Adrian Hayes-Santos

Part of Gainesville’s pursuit of 100% renewable energy includes a citizen advisory committee to the city and county commissioners. The committee  opens communication between the community’s needs and those with the power to make the changes.

Neighbors hope that there will be a bigger push toward solar and supporting new technology.

A Focus on Community Wellbeing

Tancig mentions that the climate coalition in Gainesville was first organized by the city’s NAACP chapter and that its leadership has secured a representative view of the community’s needs.

The city is focused on advancing equity, Hayes-Santos explains. They continue to seek to overcome historic gaps in education and income, among other inequalities. At the time of recording, Hayes-Santos was expecting an ordinance addressing housing issues in the city and rental housing safety to go through the commission.

One of the issues that renters in any community may see, Hayes-Santos says, are landlords that don’t invest in energy efficiency. Renters are usually responsible for utility costs, but don’t have the ability to make efficiency upgrades without impacting the lease.

An important part of minimizing the energy use of the city is to monitor predatory landlords. Property inspections, says Tancig, help to ensure that property owners maintain efficiency goals.

Plotting a Path to 100% Renewable

To other cities thinking about setting renewable energy goals, Hayes-Santos says to work within the community, find groups already concerned about similar issues, and collaborate. Tancig echoes this sentiment, saying that constant pressure is the only way to get changes. He also says anyone involved must have an eye on the end goal and an eye on the road ahead.

A goal without a plan is just a wish. We have to be working continually to educate the community, to build stronger coalitions and to stay on it.

– Bob Tancig

Hayes-Santos mentions the importance of having the local government support the cause.  When tracking a path to 100% renewable energy, he says that flexibility is very important too.

“If you’re putting together a plan, it’s not going to be exactly what’s going to get you to that point. It’s going to change over time,” Hayes-Santos stresses, it’s okay to readjust.

Episode Notes

See these resources for more behind the story:

For concrete examples of how cities can take action toward gaining more control over their clean energy future, explore ILSR’s Community Power Toolkit.

This is the 25th episode of our special  Voices of 100% series, and episode 114 of Local Energy Rules, an ILSR podcast with Energy Democracy Director John Farrell, which shares powerful stories of successful local renewable energy and exposes the policy and practical barriers to its expansion.

Local Energy Rules is Produced by ILSR’s John Farrell and Maria McCoy. Audio engineering by Drew Birschbach.

A Star Basketball Recruit Picked Howard University. Will He Inspire Other Players To Choose D.C. HBCUs, Too?

Author: Ryan Shepard           Published: July 17, 2020     dcist


  Makur Maker stated in a recent television interview he wanted to study business and renewable energy while attending  Howard Unversity to take that knowlege  back to his home land in Africa.

Five-star recruit Makur Maker, right, will play for Howard University this year, choosing the school over UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis.

Gregory Payan / AP

Makur Maker on his decision to attend Howard: ‘I want to change the culture’

On July 3, highly touted basketball prospect Makur Maker became the first five-star basketball recruit to commit to a historically black college or university since at least 2007, revealing that he would attend Howard University this fall. Five-star recruits are considered the most talented prospects, and Maker, a 6-foot-11 center from Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, is known for his impressive ball-handling skills and great shooting range.

“I was the 1st to announce my visit to Howard & other[s] started to dream ‘what if,’” he tweeted. “I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow.”

Within 24 hours of his announcement, Maker received plaudits from a number of prominent figures, including ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith and California Sen. Kamala Harris, the former presidential candidate and a Howard alum. Critically acclaimed director Will Packer later disclosed that he’d begun developing One and Done, a film about a heavily recruited athlete choosing to attend an HBCU.

Maker had also received offers from the University of Kentucky, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Memphis—all college basketball powerhouses, but none HBCUs. His decision to play for the Howard Bison is a boon for the D.C. school’s athletic reputation, and could even boost Howard financially by attracting more fans, merchandise business, and media coverage. While the Bison had an unremarkable 4-29 record last season, Maker could help lead the team into a brighter future.

But it remains to be seen whether Maker’s choice of school—and those of other up-and-coming Black athletes—marks the beginning of a broader “HBCU movement” for the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the entity that oversees college sports for more than 1,250 institutions and conferences, including Howard. Top players typically attend prestigious programs whose teams consistently win or compete strongly in NCAA tournaments, such as Duke and Gonzaga universities in the case of basketball. HBCUs have produced 30 National Football League Hall of Famers and 44 Olympians, according to The NFL Hall of Fame and The Undefeated.

Maker’s decision comes at a time unlike any other in college sports. While the COVID-19 pandemic threatens fall sports such as football and cross country, winter sports like basketball have managed to move forward as they normally would. Top recruits such as Jonathan Kuminga and Moussa Cisse announced their post-high-school plans this week, and the NCAA claims that March Madness will take place next spring. At this point, the biggest roadblock in Maker’s path is the possibility of fan-less stands in the early parts of the season.

Maker isn’t the only basketball phenom who’s set his sights on a D.C.-area HBCU this year. In June, Elijah Fisher, a rising high-school sophomore in Toronto, said he was “seriously considering” an offer to attend Morgan State University in Baltimore and play for the Bears, the school’s NCAA men’s basketball team. While Fisher also has competing offers from UK and the University of Southern California, another prestigious basketball school, among other institutions, he said he was excited about Morgan State’s offer because it’s an HBCU.

“With everything that is going on in the world with social injustice and police brutality against people who look like me, I think it’s important to support the schools that have people like me there,” he told Sports Illustrated. “We have to change that way of thinking that only certain schools are big time offers.”

If a trend among young, highly ranked Black athletes heading to HBCUs is emerging, it may go beyond basketball. The No. 1 high-school football recruit in the country, California’s Korey Foreman, has named Howard as one of the top seven schools he’s considering attending this fall. Although it’s common for top football recruits to announce their school preferences, no other top-15 recruit this year included an HBCU on their list.

Should Foreman, Fisher, and Maker all attend local HBCUs and help bring their teams success, it could go a long way toward raising HBCUs’ athletic profiles at a time when conversations about race and racial equity are taking precedence in higher education, sports, and many other realms.

Academically speaking, HBCUs have produced some of the U.S.’s leading thinkers, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ta-Nehisi Coates (a Howard alum), and W.E.B. Du Bois. They also produce $14.8 billion in economic impact annually, reports the United Negro College Fund.

Attracting star athletes could benefit HBCUs’ bottom lines by leading to more wins, fans in seats, games broadcast, and profits for athletic departments. According to Business Insider, about 30 Division I athletic programs—the top-tier programs under the NCAA’s purview—each generate roughly $100 million in revenue a year. But none of those programs is run by an HBCU currently.

In 2018, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Ohio State University had the three highest-grossing programs in the NCAA, with each bringing in more than $200 million in revenue. By comparison, the highest-earning Division I HBCU was Prairie View A&M, which generated $19.7 million in athletic revenue and ranked 147th out of 227 schools. Seven of the bottom 10 athletic program revenues were those of HBCUs.

While more successful sports teams could help HBCUs obtain a bigger slice of broadcasting contracts, it wouldn’t put money directly in the pockets of players. Under current NCAA rules, college athletes don’t get a cut of ticket sales, TV deals, or merchandise sales. That arrangement has long been a source of controversy. In 2016, CBS and Turner paid the NCAA nearly $9 billion for the broadcasting rights to the association’s Division I Basketball Tournament through 2032.

“He’s still going to Howard to not get paid, right?” ESPN host Bomani Jones said of Maker, in a recent episode of The Right Time with Bomani Jones podcast. “Just because it’s Black people that are doing the exploiting doesn’t mean the exploiting is not going down here.”

Some observers have also raised concerns about the fact that Howard and Maker’s other top choice, UCLA, are schools sponsored by athletic-gear giant Under Armour. (And as others have noted publicly, Howard men’s basketball coach Kenny Blakeney, who joined the school in 2019, worked for Under Armour for seven years before returning to coaching in 2018.)

Like other brands, including Nike and Jordan, Under Armour sponsors college programs and Amateur Athletic Union teams in part to build relationships with young athletes and potentially sign them after they become pros. In recent years, there have been controversies around shoe brands involved in pay-for-play schemes.

Maker isn’t aiming to fix all of the problems in the NCAA system with his college choice. Instead, his focus is on strengthening HBCUs, starting with the Bison. Even then, as just one player on a team of 15, he’s unlikely to completely change the Bison’s performance by himself.

But Maker’s decision to attend Howard could help bring excitement, attention, and other top-tier talent to the region—especially if he continues to play well.

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The Imperative of Moral Leadership

Author:  Darren Walker         Published:  10/7/2020          Equal Change Blog   

Nearly 157 years on, we, too, are engaged in a test of whether democratic values and institutions can endure. And the test is happening everywhere, all at once.

It’s become commonplace to note that America faces a pandemic of pandemics: Fear and fire and fury that betray corruption and climate catastrophe and callous indifference to 400 years of a racialized caste system; a lethal virus and subsequent economic fallout that lay bare the profoundly unequal ways in which we survive or succumb—in which we live and die. Already, America has lost as many people to the coronavirus during the last eight months as during the two-plus years of battle leading up to that decisive conflict in Gettysburg.

In this context—in any context—the passing of icons Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Congressman John Lewis felt like heavy blows. And, in addition to the lives we mourn, we grieve countless other losses: Visits with family or meals with friends. A first day of school. Plans cancelled, and dreams deferred. Birthdays, graduations, and holidays—all those rites of passage, stolen. Lost forever, a precious moment to sit with a loved one in their final days, or a memorial service to say goodbye.

In these cases, some of us might say, “thank goodness for technology”—for the video calls and internet service that keep us connected. But I grieve for those children without tablets and laptops and high-speed connections at home, in urban communities and rural ones alike. Shame on us for asking students—some 12 million kids across the United States—to click into classrooms from the parking lots of fast-food restaurants.

This is hardly the only way inequality has announced itself, or amplified our anguish. The statistics and stories abound.

A couple of weeks ago, clicking through the channels late at night, I landed on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. The producers had opened the phone lines and invited Americans to share how the pandemic had affected them. Some people had lost their jobs, but not received the unemployment checks promised to them. Others were staring down an eviction or a foreclosure. Thea, from South Carolina, openly wept as she described her situation—her desperation and anxiety about merely caring for herself.

As she spoke, I found myself weeping with her. Her story was a gut punch—a visceral reminder of how much people are hurting.

Our converging crises—these unceasing traumas—continue to exact a physical and mental toll from each of us. The road here has been exhausting; the road forward seems daunting, especially when it feels we are careening out of control or teetering on the edge of a cliff.

This is a season of suffering—in the United States and around the world. The sum of all this suffering, of all this mourning, of all this daily grief, can be a crushing burden to carry, especially when it feels as though we must carry it on our own. We’re all grappling with our own version of what Michelle Obama rightly called “some form of low-grade depression.”

And as we bear all of these trials, there is another test—a test akin to the one Lincoln described—that will determine whether and how democracy can long endure: A test of moral leadership.

A test of moral leadership

We know what effective leadership looks like. When faced with any crisis, with any kind of uncertainty or upheaval, we instinctively look to our leaders—to the people we respect and admire, who call on us to be and do better. As children, it starts with the parents, teachers, and coaches, and other adults in our lives. As students, we pore over those profiles in courage: the stories of statespeople who attended to our ancestors through adversity. At work, we look to the executives in charge or generals in command. We look to authority figures in their various disciplines—the doctor at the hospital, the principal of the school—to exercise their expertise; to organize and orchestrate; to challenge, encourage, or inspire. To tell the truth.

We should expect no less of our elected officials and the institutions they steward, especially times of local, national, and global crisis. At minimum, we expect some basic level of competence and compassion.

We also know what the downfall of leadership looks like. We have seen the perils associated with immoral leadership. We’ve seen firsthand how quickly democracies can decay into autocracies—whether in Europe, Africa or Asia, the Americas or the Middle East.

The patterns are consistent, and all too familiar. Truths dismissed as falsehoods. Propaganda and gaslighting embraced as truth. Peaceful protestors attacked. Journalists vilified. Experts undermined. Justice systems politicized as tools of autocracy rather than equality. Human rights jeopardized. The voices and votes of too many suppressed, or, simply, uncounted.

All of these egregious violations not only foment inequality, but share a common factor: impunity.

Through eight decades of work around the world, we at the Ford Foundation have seen how impunity—unjust action without consequence—erodes institutions, and permits and perpetuates corruption, all while exacerbating inequality. We’ve borne witness to the ways in which a lack of accountability undermines the rule of law.

For years, scholars and experts have warned that American institutions are not immune. Many have sounded—and are sounding—the alarm about the impunity with which norms have been pushed aside in the pursuit of unchecked power and the dangers of “democratic backsliding.”

To be sure, American history is rife with injustice. But I have always believed that we were pushing towards progress—however unevenly and incrementally. As an avowed optimist, I never quite grasped—until recently—what it could mean for extreme impunity to become a wrecking ball to the America I love. At the time, perhaps, it was my shortfall of empathy or imagination; now, to not recognize our vulnerability is simply delusion.

For when we look to our leaders in challenging times, we assume they will rise to those challenges. We expect that given the responsibility and opportunity, a person’s character and values prevail. We hope that some sense of common good or decency, honor or shame, might awake their better angels, compel them to look past their cynicism or self-interest, even shake them from their silence.

To me, that we have fallen this far points to a failure of moral leadership.

And by moral leadership, I do not mean the kind that moralizes; we don’t need self-righteousness, but selflessness. I don’t claim any special access to moral principles, nor mean to suggest the primacy of any kind or class of individual. I do believe, however, that in every theater of our lives, we need more people focused on the bigger, broader objective beyond the next earnings call or election: a long-term vision for a more just society. We need leaders who are motivated by values and incentives and outcomes that transcend those offered by the systems which, by design or neglect, have widened inequality to an untenable degree. We need new profiles in courage—more business leaders who serve the interests of all their stakeholders, not only their shareholders; more elected officials who serve a common good, not only the donors and partisans who comprise their base of support.

We need these leaders, not only for ourselves but for others. After all, right now, the world watches and wonders whether America can live up to its promise as a champion of human rights and a beacon of liberty and justice for all.

To be sure, America’s leadership crisis is far from new; like inequality, it has only been made excruciatingly plain during recent months and years. It is not even the first time I have spoken about moral leadership. It will likely not be the last because this crisis of moral leadership cuts across every issue.

Every one of our ongoing crises has been compounded by choices made and not made. Choices that deny humanity and dignity and justice to others on a daily basis, whether they take the form of active harm or passive neglect. Choices that, in an era of impunity and inequality, yield no consequences for the powerful, and too many for everyone else.

In this way, moral leadership—of all kinds, in every movement and institution, organization and community—is a prerequisite for positive change. And my continued hope comes from my faith that we can turn the tide, as we have before. To paraphrase Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, we can channel our mourning into a movement, our pain into purpose.

If our heroes could step up to meet their moments, so can we. If John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg could—if Fannie Lou Hamer and Shirley Chisholm could—we can too. And we must.

A vision of absolute equality

Six years after Lincoln asked whether democracy can long endure, four years after the test at Appomattox, Frederick Douglass offered a vision for not just endurance but transformation. As historian David Blight writes in his Pulitzer-Prize-winning biography of Douglass, in 1869, he traveled the country, delivering perhaps the most remarkable of his orations, Our Composite Nationality.

Douglass proposed the terms and tenets of a multiracial, pluralist democracy that would feel familiar, if still aspirational today: an antidote and antithesis to the division of the last several years; a more perfect, more inclusive, more hopeful future.

Douglass said: “We have for a long time hesitated to adopt and carry out the only principle which can…give peace, strength and security to the Republic, and that is the principle of absolute equality.”

That principle—and his vision—must inspire us now to act.

The future may feel uncertain. But the only real certainty is that, if we do nothing, we lose the fight for “absolute equality.” And when the world feels out of control, we must remember that we control whether or not we act.

That starts with voting. For as Douglass himself once put it, failing to vote is “as great a crime as an open violation of the law itself.”

And while voting is necessary and imperative, it, alone, is not sufficient. No matter the outcome of any election, our work remains clear.

We must hold our leaders accountable, and we must hold each other accountable, as well. We must break the vicious cycle of corruption, impunity, and cynicism—and demand better incentives for better leadership. We must continue to participate and engage, to show up and take action, because the fate of democracy is not decided any one day.

As Justice Ginsburg once wrote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s moral arc of the universe, it will only bend toward justice with “a steadfast national commitment to see the task through to completion.”

We must constantly renew our steadfast commitment. We must see the task of justice through to completion, knowing that for our most vexing problems, the reward of our work may come for the next generation, or the one after that.

Once again, we are, as Lincoln suggested at Gettysburg, facing a great test. But with moral leadership, we can and will pass it. With moral leadership, this can and will be a moment, in Lincoln’s words, for “a new birth of freedom”; an opportunity to rebuild, more perfect.

Illustration by Sonia Pulido

Candid Join our upcoming digital classroom

Author: Candid Learning               Published: 10/6/2020 

With the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we know it’s a challenging time for everyone. To prioritize the safety and health of our communities during this time, we’ve shifted many of our in-person programs to an online format. Learn more about our new trainings and resources that can support your work during COVID-19.

Assess and Inform Your Community Foundation’s Efforts of Community Leadership

Friday, October 16, 2020; 2:00–3:00 pm ET, 11:00 am–12:00 pm PT

Special guests: Simeon Banister, Vice President of Community Programs, Rochester Area Community Foundation; Sarah Hench Grunewald, Vice President of Community Impact, Delaware Community Foundation; Deborah A. Ellwood, President and CEO, CFLeads ; and David Rosado, Director of CF Insights, Candid
Price: Free

Let us walk you through the new Community Leadership Assessment Tool, a free resource designed to track and inform your community foundation’s efforts of community leadership along several dimensions. In this digital classroom, we’ll share ways you can leverage the tool’s findings in conversations with your staff and board to inform strategic decision-making.

Register now to watch the recording of this webinar later. All registrants will receive access to the recording within two business days of the live webinar and can access the recording for three months.

Sign up today
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Small Business Resiliency Fund

Author: “Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development     Published: 10/6/2020     DMPED


Small Business Resiliency Fund

Apply here: dcresiliencyfund.tfaforms.net/f/application

The Small Business Resiliency Fund is a part of the District’s efforts to meet the existing and future COVID-19 related needs for District’s small businesses to help businesses continue operations while protecting people, assets and presence.

The Small Business Resiliency Fund will provide $3 million in emergency operational funding and will be open to small, local businesses in the District of Columbia with 50 or fewer employees and independently owned restaurants without regard to employee-size.

Grant monies may be used for:

  • Business model strategy redesigning and pivoting
  • Business continuity plan development
  • Strengthening of digital retail experiences including complimentary e-commerce platforms and/or online shops to bolster brick-and- mortar business
  • New marketing efforts

Personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or disinfection products.

Businesses must:

  • Be duly organized in the District of Columbia
  • Have a facility located in within the District of Columbia;
  • Have a current, active District of Columbia business license and Certificate of Occupancy;
  • Have or attain a Clean Hands from the DC Office of Tax and Revenue before grant funding;
  • Have been revenue-generating for at least three (3) months prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020;
  • Derive at least 51% of its gross receipts from the District of Columbia;
  • Generate less than $3,000,000 in gross receipts;
  • Demonstrate a loss of revenue of 25% or more;
  • Grant funds will be used for business model restructuring, business continuity plan development, related COVID-19 marketing expenses, and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), and/or disinfection products for the business;
  • Businesses receiving grant funds must comply with local and federal guidelines for operating their businesses (social distancing guidelines, disinfection protocols, occupancy restrictions, and so forth); and,
  • Submit a W-9 form (if awarded).

Small Business Resiliency Fund FAQ’s

Who is eligible?

Small, local businesses in the District of Columbia with 50 or fewer employees and independently owned restaurants without regard to employee-size.

How do I apply?

Applications for the Great Streets Resiliency Fund Form will be submitted online via the application portal located on www.coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business. Applications [hyperlink] open on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 4 pm/ET and close on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm/ET.

When will I receive my funds?

A disbursement of funds will occur upon completion of the award recommendation, awardee information form, receipt of documents, and signed grant agreement.

How was a funding decision determined and how much is the average award?

The Small Business Resiliency Fund will seek equitable distribution of grant monies with consideration to location, economic injury, industry, and District resident employment. Each grant award will be $10,000. There is no average award amount.

Eligible uses of the funds include capital to support business model pivots, continuity plan and infrastructure development (e.g., e-commerce platform procurement), related COVID-19 marketing expenses, and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), and/or disinfection products for the business.

How do I request an updated Certificate of Clean Hands?

of this summer, businesses and nonprofit organizations can request a Certificate of Clean Hands through the MyTax.DC.gov portal. Learn how to navigate this new process by visiting OTR’s website: www.otr.cfo.dc.gov/page/certificate-clean-hands.

Is translation assistance available to help me submit the requested information?

Please send an email with this request to dcresiliencyfund@cfenterprises.org and we will be happy to assist you.

If I have additional questions, how may I contact you?

City First Enterprises is the Small Business Resiliency Fund Administrator. Questions can be directed via email to dcresiliencyfund@cfenterprises.orgAn Application FAQ can be found here.

November Elections Poised to Add Historic Momentum to U.S. Legal Cannabis Market

Author:  Kacey Mossissey and  J.J. McCoy    Published: 10/6/2020                      New Frontier Data

Rows of plants in a commercial medical-cannabis cultivation facility in Moncton, Canada

An unanticipated result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been the accelerated growth of legal cannabis markets in states having active medical and adult-use sales. In 2019, the total combined illicit market for cannabis in the U.S. was an estimated $64 billion, which through the growth of currently legal markets is projected to shrink some $4 billion by 2022.

Leading into the 2020 U.S. elections, 34 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) have legalized cannabis for medical use, and 11 states plus D.C. have legalized cannabis for personal or adult use. Those numbers bring the total population of U.S. residents living in a state (or D.C.) with legalized medical or adult-use cannabis to 230 million, or 70% of the nationwide population.

November’s elections could mark the most consequential and historical events to change the landscape of the legal U.S cannabis industry. In a new release this month from New Frontier Data, The U.S. Cannabis Report: 2020 Industry Outlook examines the trends shaping the markets for cannabis and the nation at large.

“There’s a couple of reasons why we think this is going to be such a consequential year for cannabis in the U.S.,” said John Kagia, New Frontier Data’s chief knowledge officer. “One is the fact that we have five states and six initiatives on the ballots that are going to be voted on this November, making this year a pretty significant milestone in terms of voters getting a voice in the status of cannabis in our society.”

He added that “the second reason is New Jersey, which is going to be a phenomenally consequential market for the East Coast. If you think about the proximity of the state to New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and other mid-Atlantic states, we expect that New Jersey in and of itself is going to be a huge market, but once you add in the added regional element to it, the state could be earning nearly $2 billion by 2025. So, it is a huge market for the East Coast, and a beachhead for the industry at large.”

Those trends coincide with support for cannabis legalization as one of the fastest-evolving social movements in the U.S. According to the Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds (67%) of Americans support full legalization – that is up from 41% in 2010, and more than double what it was in 2000 (31%). Research by both the General Social Survey (GSS) and the Gallup Poll (two other leading institutions reporting on long-term trends in public opinion on cannabis) likewise corroborate Pew’s results: The GSS pegs support for cannabis legalization at 62%, while the Gallup Poll shows support at 66%.

In 2019 the U.S. legal cannabis industry generated an estimated $13.2 billion in consumer sales across all legal medical and adult-use state markets combined.  In 2020, midst the seismic economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis sales have surged, and are projected to surpass $19 billion. Total legal sales (i.e., both medical and adult-use cannabis) of cannabis nationwide are projected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% over the next five years, to reach $35 billion by 2025.

URGENT: Tell MoCo Council to support solar now. No delays

Author: Mike Tidwell               Published: 10/6/2020            CCAN Action Fund


Dear Ronald,

Support community solar in MoCo:

Today, the CCAN Action Fund is joining forces with the Sierra Club in asking the Montgomery County Council to take action on solar power right NOW. With western wildfires creating hazy days in our region and with hurricanes named Alpha and Beta because we’ve run through the alphabet for storm names, it is VITAL that the Montgomery County Council act on solar right now.

Specifically, I am writing to urge you to SIGN THIS LETTER OF SUPPORT for legislation which would bring community solar to Montgomery County. The legislation, Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-01, will allow a limited amount of land in our Agricultural Reserve to be used for small solar projects that will provide shared solar power to our community.

Please sign the letter asking the Montgomery County Council to act NOW on solar power. No more delays. Join Sierra Club, CCAN Action Fund and other groups in supporting limited use of solar power on MoCo farmland.

On behalf of CCAN Action Fund’s 5,000 MoCo supporters and Sierra Club’s 6,000 members in the county, we are expressing an overwhelming sense of urgency on the issue of solar in our county.

This ZTA passed the joint committee sessions and will soon be discussed at a full council session. The county has set necessary but ambitious goals for reducing the greenhouse gas pollution we produce. However, as a D.C. Councilmember recently said, “A goal is only as good as what you’re willing to do to achieve it.”

ZTA 20-01 would be a significant step toward helping the county meet its stated greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy goals by allowing for Community Solar development on less than 2 percent of Ag Reserve land. Solar on rooftops and parking garages alone will not help to reach the goals. We also need to consider solar on land to quickly and urgently address climate change.

Please sign this letter asking the Montgomery County Council to act NOW on solar power. No more delays. Join Sierra Club and CCAN Action Fund and other groups in supporting limited use of solar power on MoCo farmland.

This ZTA is also important for creating equity and jobs. The program specifically includes solar access for low- and moderate-income households, who so far have been essentially left out of solar development.

Again, if you or your organization/community group would like to sign on asking the Council to move forward and vote in favor of this ZTA, please enter your organization’s name now.

Please feel free to circulate this sign-on letter to people you know who may be interested in supporting this ZTA.


Mike Tidwell
Executive Director
CCAN Action Fund

American-Made Solar Prize Round 4

Author: Solar Energy Technologies Office    Published: 10/6/2020           DOE

Now is the time to send in your innovative ideas for solar solutions for a chance at a $3 million prize pool. The deadline to enter the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office American-Made Solar Prize Round 4 is October 8, 2020, 3 p.m. ET. U.S.-based students, entrepreneurs, and other industry professionals are encouraged to apply.   Yours might be the next big idea!

Solar Prize Round 4 graphic

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million competition designed to revitalize solar manufacturing in the United States. Competitors may be entrepreneurial students, professors, small-business owners, company staffers, researchers at national laboratories, or anyone else based in the United States with a potentially marketable solar technology solution. This challenge requires competitors to make progress on a condensed timeline, form private-sector partnerships, and secure investments to make their ideas a reality.

On July 9, 2020, DOE launched Round 4 of the American-Made Solar Prize. In the first phase of the competition, entrepreneurial individuals and teams pitch an innovative idea that addresses a critical need in the solar industry and identify market demand for it. Those selected to advance to the second phase will design a proof-of-concept. In the third and final phase, selected individuals and teams will develop early-stage prototypes for industry testing.

The fourth round of the Solar Prize will run concurrently with the third round, which was announced in September 2019.


  • The Ready! Contest submission deadline is October 8, 2020. Semifinalists will be announced on December 3, 2020.
  • The Set! Contest opens on December 3, 2020. Finalists will be determined at a demo day on March 26, 2021.
  • The Go! Contest opens on March 26, 2021. The final winners will be determined at the final demo day on September 21, 2021.

Learn More

The American-Made Solar Prize is a part of the American-Made Challenges and is administered by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.