The Rise of SI2

And just like that…

The Solar and Storage Industries Institute (SI2) celebrated its first anniversary this week. As the Executive Director, I thought I’d share a few highlights from our first full year of operation.

Growing Our Team.

In January 2023, Sarah Conley-Ballew joined the SI2 team, bringing years of non-profit development experience, clean energy know-how, and a unique perspective on the development challenges faced by clean energy projects in rural America.

Stay tuned for more staffing announcements. In the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing on board our first class of SI2 Fellows.

Winning Awards.

In December, SI2 landed a $500,000 grant to study agrivoltaics from the U.S. Department of Energy. Working with key partners including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Rural Electric Co-operatives Association (NRECA) Research, and the Solar Energy Industries Association, we will seek to understand better the ways in which existing argivoltaic projects have overcome development challenges.

We’ll be starting work this summer, so look for more updates from us as the project unfolds.

Releasing Papers.

We published a white paper last fall advancing a siting framework for large-scale solar and storage projects. Building off a paper supported by the Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, and Sierra Club, this new paper put forth a set of principles to guide the siting for solar projects across the country.

Educating the Public.

SI2 was featured in The New York Times and Washington Post articles helping people understand the challenges of interconnecting solar projects. Without a concerted effort to improve interconnection, the states and the Biden Administration are going to have a difficult time meeting our clean energy and climate goals.

More to Come.

As we enter into year two, look for more major announcements. Over the next year, we’ll release a paper on game-changing interconnection reform.

Our work on agrivoltaics will start with survey research, which should produce a set of results roughly 12 months after the project kicks off.

We’re also revamping our website, so check back for a new look, feel, and new features—including better ways to display clean energy data.

Thank You.

Many thanks to our board members, advisory board members, funders, and friends who helped make year one an unqualified success.

We appreciate your trust, confidence and support and look forward to another outstanding year working to ramp up clean energy deployment.