SI2 Expands Research and Fundraising Capabilities with New Hire

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2) announced that it hired Sara Conley-Ballew to be the nonprofit’s assistant director for development. Conley-Ballew’s work will help SI2 pursue new research and educational projects that expand the solar and storage industry.

“We’re excited to welcome Sarah Conley-Ballew to the Solar and Storage Industries Institute,” said David Gahl, executive director of SI2. “With Sarah on board, I’m looking forward to rapidly expanding SI2’s portfolio and aggressively pursuing research that knocks down persistent barriers to solar and storage deployment.”

In this role, Conley-Ballew will lead SI2’s fundraising efforts, manage a portfolio of research projects, and prepare grant applications that help to advance the nonprofit’s goals.

I’m thrilled to join SI2 at this auspicious moment in time, when the pathway to a robust clean energy economy is in sight,” said Conley-Ballew. “I’m ready to support SI2’s mission with smart strategies for growth, building on the strong foundation established by SEIA.”

Conley-Ballew joins SI2 from Rural Action, a nonprofit focused on creating economic activities in rural Ohio. There, Conley-Ballew lead the Sustainable Energy Solutions program where she developed, executed, and secured funding for programs that increased demand for clean energy in coal country through smart policies and strategic planning. Before that, Conley-Ballew was a SolSmart Advisor where she helped local governments prepare for increased solar deployment.

Conley-Ballew has extensive experience fundraising, managing projects and federal grants, and building new partnerships. Conley-Ballew completed the Clean Energy Leadership Institute fellowship in 2022 and was named to Midwest Energy News’ 40 Under 40 list in 2019.

The announcement comes on the heels of SI2’s first major research award from the U.S. Department of Energy where the nonprofit will be partnering with the agriculture and utility sectors to identify barriers to implementing agrivoltaics. The project will feature case studies and best practices guides that will help solar developers, farmers, and decision-makers deploy and incentivize agrivoltaics projects across the country.


About the Solar and Storage Industries Institute:

The Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2) is accelerating the transition to carbon-free electricity through clean energy research and analysis. SI2 aims to use policy research, public education initiatives, and direct outreach to policymakers to explain the benefits of clean energy and develop pathways to widespread solar and storage use. SI2 is the charitable and education arm of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. For more information, visit and follow SI2 on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.