CICV Solar Market Pathways
The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) launched their Solar Market Pathways project in January of 2015 to aggregate the purchasing power of 15 private colleges across the commonwealth. The goal is to establish plans to collaboratively procure and install 30 megawatts of distributed solar generation by 2020. Through tailored Solar Master Plans, participating colleges are establishing roadmaps to deploy solar across their campuses and methods for integrating solar energy into science and business curricula. The project is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
Over the course of three years, the CICV Solar Market Pathways project team will engage a wide range of stakeholders across the Commonwealth to achieve the following objectives:
- Implement an innovative procurement model. Colleges will leverage their group purchasing power to reduce the costs of solar installations during three collaborative procurements taking place between 2015 and 2020.
- Develop solar expertise among faculty and students at participating institutions.Faculty at each college will provide key support to the Solar Master Plan’s development and assist the core CICV team with implementing collaborative procurements. Student researchers will assist faculty to gain real-world experience.
- Advance solar-ready communities and address barriers to solar deployment. The CICV team will work with local governments and electric utilities throughout the project to improve the procedural, financial, and legal aspects of the solar project development process.
- Address barriers to solar deployment at the state and local levels. The CICV team will research and identify existing market barriers to solar deployment—including local government processes, state regulations, and utility procedures—a and develop recommendations based on national best practices to make procuring solar easier, faster, and more affordable.
- Share best practices and lessons learned with host communities, peer higher education institutions, and national stakeholders. To promote project replicability and facilitate knowledge exchange between colleges, the solar planning and procurement process will be accompanied by semi-annual stakeholder workshops, an online solar information hub for higher education institutions, and an implementation guidebook.
CICV project team aims to:
Over the course of three years, the CICV project team aims to:
- Engage a broad group of stakeholders, including faculty and students as well as regional organizations, through capacity-building workshops and project presentations
- Develop and utilize the expertise of selected faculty and staff to implement the most cost-effective solar deployment models for each institution
- Work with local governments and electric utilities to improve the procedural, administrative, financial, and legal aspects of the solar deployment process
- Achieve tiered price reductions for solar installations by implementing a specialized Solarize campaign that leverages group purchasing power, public-private financing models, and innovative legal frameworks
- Create and maintain a learning network to share best practices and encourage project replication, through an online higher education solar information hub and a how-to guidebook