UMass Clean Energy Extension and the UMass iCons Program are offering a two-semester, six-credit, project-based learning course, in which students will facilitate proactive community planning for commercial-scale solar development in collaboration with Massachusetts municipalities.

Image of solar panels and wind turbinesClean Energy Living Lab: Community Solar Planning Teams
Fall 2023 and Spring 2024
Tu 2:30 - 5:15 pm and Th 2:30 - 3:45 pm | Location TBD
Instructors: Zara Dowling (Environmental Conservation and Clean Energy Extension) and River Strong (Clean Energy Extension)
Open to senior and junior undergraduates.

The Fall semester will focus on student knowledge- and skill-building on subjects including clean energy development, solar regulation and policies, equity and environmental considerations, data sources, and solar planning and financing tools. The Spring semester will focus on applying the acquired skills to real-world projects, facilitating community-level planning for solar energy in a Massachusetts city or town utilizing UMass Clean Energy Extension’s Community Planning for Solar Toolkit. Over the course of two semesters, students will gain hands-on skills in and experience with:

  • Project research, scoping, design, planning, and management
  • Community solar planning processes and tools
  • Municipal government organization and function
  • Data gathering and analysis methods
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis related to solar and land-use
  • Stakeholder engagement, surveys, and decision-making facilitation
  • Clean energy project economic analysis
  • Equity and social justice in the clean energy transition
  • Drafting and presenting project reports and other communications

Instructor consent is required. Prospective students should complete an enrollment application describing their (1) coursework and experience in fields related to renewable energy, climate change, GIS software, public policy, community engagement, and regional planning, and (2) motivations for taking the course.

Questions? Email