Oregon participates in SunShot’s Solar in Your Community Challenge

U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative announced their new Solar in Your Community Challenge, a competition that aims to improve solar electricity access to underserved communities across the country.

Offering $5 million in cash prizes and technical assistance over 18 months, the challenge encourages communities to work together to create replicable, innovative business and financial models that expand solar to low- and moderate-income households. Because everybody does not own their rooftop, the challenge aims to spur the development of inclusive solutions—like community shared solar—to help even more residents go solar. There are a few ways you can participate:

  1. Lead a team. Teams can include local governments, businesses, nonprofits, community serving organizations, utilities, banks and citizen associations. Teams work together to create a portfolio of solar projects or a new solar program.
  2. Be part of a team. Do you want to be part of a team, but don’t know where to start? Sign up as a supporter. Supporters can be recruited to join a larger team, or can band together to start a new team.
  3. Lend your expertise. Consultants and coaches will provide technical assistance to teams throughout the challenge. Consultants provide hands-on assistance and coaches help guide teams through the process. Both coaches and consultants will be compensated for their efforts.

Hood River, Lakeview, and Douglas counties are collaborating to submit a joint application for the challenge and the cities of Talent and Bend are contemplating applying. If you would like more information about the plans in these communities, contact Lee Rahr with Sustainable Northwest at

The application deadline is March 17, 2017. Visit the Solar in Your Community Challenge webpage today to learn more about the challenge and available prizes, and read the official rules.