Solar 2021

Policy, Education & Finance Track: Federal, State, and Local Policies/Programs

Session Moderator: Alison Mason

Public policy plays an inevitable role in how and where solar is deployed. This session will investigate policy mechanisms and program models that supports solar energy growth at the federal, state, and local levels. Topics of interest include community solar, LMI inclusion, and other program designs and policies, as discussed through various case studies.


Aug 05 2021


10:45 am - 12:15 pm


East Ballroom


  • Alison Mason
    Alison Mason
    Barrio Electrico

    Alison Mason is a Mechanical Engineer who has dedicated her career to solar energy as a solution to global warming. She has worked in passive solar, solar thermal, concentrating solar power, renewables integration, and photovoltaics as researcher, advocate, educator, designer, and installer. She is co-founder of Barrio Electrico in Puerto Rico – an initiative to bring solar power to the vulnerable grid edge – and teaches solar energy design on behalf of Bosque Modelo of Puerto Rico for women in the central mountains.

    Alison is the Principal of SunJuice Solar, where she offers solar consulting, design, training, and installation services. She also serves as a Research Associate for Project Drawdown for which she wrote the literature review for Grid Flexibility.

    Alison earned her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University, with a focus on solar thermal engineering. Alison is a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society and received the first Women in Solar Energy award in 2004.
    Presentation Title: Seeding Microgrids with Distributed Community Solar

    Presentation Description: As climate change causes increasingly dangerous weather patterns, power grids will fail more often and for longer periods, placing people at risk from weather, lack of safe food and water, mental strain, and access to healthcare. Residential scale solar plus storage systems address the problem from two angles – decreasing carbon emissions from power generation while also making households much likelier to be safe and secure in their own homes during extreme weather events. Wealthy households can afford to purchase solar systems upfront while low- and middle-income households are often excluded from the market.

  • David Comis
    David Comis
    Maryland Energy Administration

    David is a Senior Energy Program Manager at the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). His focus areas include: solar energy, energy storage, nuclear energy and grid resilience. Previously, he helped the Department of Energy develop their first Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, as well as support the Federal Energy Management Program in the areas of renewable energy and technology deployment. David’s formal education includes a B.S. in Control Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, a M.S. in Management from National-Louis University, and a M.S. in Energy Policy and Climate Change from Johns Hopkins University.
    Presentation Title: Maryland Community Solar for the Low and Moderate Income Community

    Presentation Description: Solar programs receive public support when large segments of the population see their benefit. Community solar provides benefit to the low and moderate income community when the program meets their needs. The Maryland program provides one method to address these needs.

  • David Golembeski
    David Golembeski
    The Solar Foundation

    Presentation Title: Advancing Solar at the Local Level

    Presentation Description: Without the support and leadership of cities, towns, and counties nationwide, our climate solutions and clean energy goals are unattainable. Local governments create and oversee policies and regulations that directly affect the prospects of solar energy within their jurisdiction. Their influence and impact reaches beyond the role of serving as a governing body. Local governments are also employers, landlords, educators, and consumers, which means they are in a unique position to lead by example.

  • Emily Robichaux
    Emily Robichaux

    As Groundswell’s CFO, Emily Robichaux advances community solar market transformation through values-based project finance and leads the development and delivery of Groundswell’s subscriber management services. She leverages her background in technology project management and sustainable business administration to put the “community” in community solar with Groundswell’s SharePowerTM program. Prior to her work at Groundswell, Emily was a Net Impact Healthy Food Fellow, providing resiliency consulting services to the DC Central Kitchen and the 2018 recipient of the Bard MBA L. Hunter Lovins Award for her commitment to advancing social justice as an essential element of the clean energy transition.

    Presentation Title: Building Community Power through Solar and Software

    Presentation Description: Community solar can make solar accessible to nearly all American households, but in reality, many barriers still exist, particularly for low- and moderate-income households. Groundswell’s SharePowerTM program eliminates these barriers through innovative project finance, thoughtful subscription design, and a subscriber platform that puts the “community” in community solar. This presentation will demonstrate the applicability of these transformative approaches through two case studies of active projects in Washington, DC and Maryland. To build a just energy future, our challenge today is to transform how the market finances, designs, and delivers community solar projects.

  • Victoria Mandell
    Victoria Mandell
    The Mandell Law Firm, LLC

    “Victoria Mandell is an attorney with legal experience working as in-house counsel in multi-state, publicly-traded corporations, law firms, government agencies, and NGOs. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional for both US law and the GDPR (CIPP/US and CIPP/EU). She has an MBA with an focus in finance. She is an experienced policy advocate, administrative law litigator, compliance advisor and trainer, and complex business transactions negotiator.

    Her passion is working in nexus areas of law, technology and policy. Her strength is a laser-focus on providing effective and winning results for clients. Her specialty is adding value in a fast-paced environment with a wide-variety of responsibilities working with multidisciplinary teams.”

    Presentation Title: Solar in an Ever-Shifting Policy Landscape

    Presentation Description: More so than nearly any other industry, the solar sector has risen and fallen in near lockstep with changes in policy, and solar business leaders can benefit from understanding key trends and developments in state and federal policies – whether through legislation, regulation, public utilities commissions decisions, or otherwise. This presentation would draw on extensive experience representing solar project developers, municipal agencies and utilities, and environmental groups in both driving and responding to energy and climate policy throughout the Western United States.

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