Mode of Program Participation

Community Organizing and Educational Programming

Participation Type


Session Title

Solar United Neighborhoods

Session Abstract or Summary

Ohio and West Virginia, two states going solar. Both states with strong legacies of coal. Half of the distributed solar installed in these two states last year was through non-profit Community Power Network's Solar United Neighborhoods programs. Learn how communities are working together to go solar through cooperative purchasing and a competitive RFP process where the community picks the installer. The grassroots program has expanded to five states and DC (FL, MD, OH, VA and WV). Over 1,300 homeowners in 81 communities have participated in the movement. Founder Anya Schoolman was recognized by the Whitehouse as a Champion for Change in 2014. Co-op members are now working together to shape the future of solar policy and what energy democracy looks like in the century ahead. The growth of solar is also spurring the growth of new high paying local jobs. Panelists include OH SUN director Luke Sulfridge, and WV SUN director Karan Ireland. Both reside in the Appalachian region.

Presentation #1 Title

Ohio Solar United Neighborhoods (OH SUN)

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary


At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Luke Sulfridge serves as the OH SUN Program Director. Luke is a lifelong resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley and resides in Washington County. He provides support for the expansion of solar in Ohio through co-ops and policy advocacy. His prior work includes health policy, emergency management, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Luke holds a B.A. from Berea College in Political Science, a M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University in Safety, Security and Emergency Management, and a M.A. from Appalachian State University in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Politics and Policy Analysis.

Presentation #2 Title

West Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods (WV SUN)

Presentation #2 Abstract or Summary


At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Karan Ireland is WV SUN’s Program Director. She works with West Virginia residents to develop solar co-ops across the state. Ireland comes to WV SUN from the West Virginia Citizen Action Group where she was Development Director. In that role, she worked to ensure all West Virginians had access to safe drinking water and took the lead in response to the 2014 Elk River Chemical Leak.

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Ohio Solar United Neighborhoods (OH SUN)