Peer Learning

Solar + Battery Storage to Support Community Resilience

April 14, 2017

Innovations in solar and battery storage are making it possible to use solar energy to support community facilities such as shelters, medical centers and emergency facilities during power outages. From New York and San Francisco to Duluth and Salt Lake, communities across the country are considering how they can incorporate the use of solar into their resilience plans. This interactive workshop will introduce participants to best practices, tools and resources in resilient solar that are now available to communities interested in solar and battery storage.

Attendees of this workshop will learn from leading national and city experts about:

  • Why and how your community can support solar+storage projects
  • Best practices for identifying local opportunities and priorities for solar+ storage
  • Project design process, tools and key considerations
  • How to work effectively with stakeholders
  • Funding and financing best practices
  • Practical tips for permitting and interconnection
  • Case examples from New York, San Francisco, Baltimore and more!

This workshop is for local leaders, including municipal and regional officials, planners, nonprofit leaders and citizens who want to learn how to implement solar and battery storage across their community. Registration at the National Adaptation Forum is not required.


May 8, 2017 | 12:30-5:00 pm


Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention Center
175 West Kellogg Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55102

Who Pays?

The workshop registration is free.

About the Institute for Sustainable Communities

ISC has a 25 year history building the capacity of communities around the world to meet their sustainable development challenges and opportunities. For the past seven years ISC’s national and regional Sustainable Communities Leadership Academies have been providing high-caliber, affordable training and peer-learning services to cities and regions forging local solutions to global climate disruption and fostering sustainable communities. Previous SCLA workshops have focused on low carbon transportation, building energy efficiency and retrofitting; green job creation; climate adaptation and resilience; and sustainable community/regional development.

In all, ISC has managed more than 98 projects in more than 30 countries. For more information, please visit


Resource Team:

Eliza Hotchkiss
Technical Project Lead
National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
Eliza Hotchkiss currently serves as the Technical Project Lead for Disaster Recovery and Resiliency at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Previously, she led the Colorado climate change preparedness and resiliency pilot for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in coordination with the Colorado Resiliency and Recovery Office. Eliza’s areas of expertise include disaster planning and recovery; energy efficiency audits, policy and training; greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation; standards and labeling policies for efficiency; and international sustainable development. She holds a master’s degree in energy efficiency and sustainable architecture from the Oxford School of Architecture in England and a bachelor’s degree in geography-geology from Vassar College.

Bret Pence
Solar Coordinator
Bret Pence currently serves as Solar Coordinator for Ecolibrium3. In this capacity, he is taking the lead on Solar Market Pathways (SMP) communications and customer support. Previously, Bret coordinated the effort to retrofit the Hartley Nature Center with battery storage that would enable the building’s solar energy system to function during emergencies. He also supervised multi-year commercial energy efficiency projects and administers the Duluth Energy Efficiency Program. Bret holds a master’s degree in management, with a focus in organization and sustainable development, from the College of St. Scholastica.

Debra Perry
Program Director
Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)
Deb Perry currently serves as a Program Director on the Institute for Sustainable Communities’ (ISC) Urban Program team. In this role, she works with communities and local leaders across the U.S. to advance their sustainability goals. Since 2015, Deb has led ISC’s work to support the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Solar Market Pathways (SMP) program. Deb has more than 15 years of experience working on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Prior to joining ISC in 2011, Deb was a Regional Planner for the Northwest Regional Planning Commission in Vermont and led their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program activities. She also served as a Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, providing technical assistance on renewable energy in the Greater Boston Area. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s degree in natural resource planning from the University of Vermont, and she is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Sherry Stout
Engineer, Integrated Applications Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Sherry Stout currently serves an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Integrated Applications Center. She has extensive experience working with developing communities and tribes in the areas of energy and water development. Sherry’s research interests include the use of advanced technologies for resiliency and disaster recovery, the synergy of water and energy development and use and the interaction between technology and society. Sherry has expertise in sustainable development at the community scale, case study research and data analysis.

Kathryn Wright
Meister Consultants Group (MCG)
Kathryn Wright is a consultant for Meister Consultants Group (MCG). In this role, she works with municipalities and the private sector on solar energy, climate preparedness and efficiency projects in the U.S. Kathryn provides technical assistance and expertise to policymakers and municipal staff through the Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Ready II and Solar Outreach Partnership programs. Her research supports the DOE’s Ask an Expert programs. In her recent work, Kathryn co-authored a paper analyzing fixed charges and standby costs for distributed solar in the U.S., and was part of a research team that assisted the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in analyzing solar market development volatility. Previously, Kathryn worked with the Center for Business and Environment at Yale (CBEY) and the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance Investment Authority (CEFIA) as part of the Sunrise New England team, and served on the Yale University SEEDs grant research team to evaluate different renewable energy and efficiency marketing approaches, including Solarize Connecticut. Kathryn received a graduate degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she focused on industrial ecology and energy.

Cal Broomhead
Climate and Energy Programs Manager
San Francisco Department of Environment
Cal Broomhead currently serves as the Climate and Energy Programs Manager at the San Francisco Department of Environment. In this role, he has started and managed over $25 million in private sector energy efficiency programs, including California’s first local government partnership program with a utility. Cal also started the city’s climate action and private sector renewable energy initiatives, as well as the city’s green building program, green business program and a small business lighting efficiency program that retrofitted 4,000 sites and led to a 6MW reduction in use. Previously, he led barn-raising-style home solar and efficiency workshops, and worked as an energy efficiency installer, sales representative and researcher/project manager developing energy improvements for dozens of facility renovation projects for the City of San Francisco.

April 14, 2017


Additional resources will be added closer to the workshop date.

This is the draft agenda for the Using Solar + Battery Storage to Support Community Resilience pre-National Adaptation Forum event.