Solar@Scale Webinar Series

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Join ICMA and APA for a deep dive on how local government policies and actions affect large-scale solar development outcomes. This nine-part webinar series will begin with an overview of key themes in the new Solar@Scale guidebook [download here] followed by bi-weekly webinars that explore its eight related, but semi-independent, modules. Each webinar will feature real-world community examples and takeaways you can implement in your jurisdiction. Those who attend all nine webinars will receive a Solar@Scale certificate of completion to document their improved knowledge of large-scale solar, as well as an AICP credit for each session. Each webinar will be held live according to the following schedule:

  • Session 1: Solar@Scale Guidebook Overview - January 27
  • Session 2: Defining Large-Scale Solar Development - February 10
  • Session 3: Understanding the Market for Large-Scale Solar Development - February 24
  • Session 4: Community Planning for Large-Scale Solar Development - March 10
  • Session 5: Zoning for Large-Scale Solar Development - March 24
  • Session 6: Improving Land-Use Decision-Making for Large-Scale Solar Development - April 7
  • Session 7: Hosting Large-Scale Solar Development Projects - April 21
  • Session 8: Assisting Large-Scale Solar Development - May 5
  • Session 9: Maximizing Success - May 19

Each session will be recorded and available on-demand shortly after the conclusion of the live event. 

  • Contains 4 Component(s), Includes Credits Recorded On: 05/19/2022

    Learn how to maximize the success of your large-scale solar efforts.

    Solar technology, the modern grid system, and renewable energy policy are all variables that can (and will) change rapidly. As these conditions change, so too should community plans and implementation strategies for large-scale solar development. Local government officials that anticipate and adapt to evolving solar market conditions will be better prepared to maximize success. Join this webinar to learn about the importance of monitoring and evaluating the performance of local plans, programs, and policies that affect large-scale solar development; aligning local land-use and regional utility plans; enhancing resilience; and preparing for innovation in solar technologies.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join this webinar to learn how local technical assistance initiatives can improve large-scale solar development outcomes.

    Historically, federal and state incentives, such as the federal investment tax credit and state renewable portfolio standards, have contributed to the rapid growth of the large-scale solar market. However, local governments can use targeted assistance programs to support or complement federal and state incentives for large-scale solar projects. Join this webinar to learn how local technical assistance initiatives can improve large-scale solar development outcomes and how local jurisdictions may be able to use financial assistance programs to facilitate projects that help meet specific local objectives.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Learn about the key steps for hosting large-scale solar development projects.

    Local governments can directly participate in large-scale solar development by hosting projects on land they own. Leasing local-government-owned property for large solar facilities can generate revenue or provide a predictably priced source of clean electricity for local governmental operations. Local officials may also be interested in using these projects to model a commitment to broader renewable energy and climate action goals. Join this webinar to learn about the key steps for hosting large-scale solar development projects on local-government-owned land: identifying project goals, selecting potential sites, and choosing development partners.

    Josh Hohn, AICP

    Senior Planner, Stantec

    Josh Hohn is a Senior Planner with Stantec where he leads the firm’s environmental services group’s visual resources practice. Prepared for a career in city planning, he quickly recognized the analysis of a project’s effects on landscape aesthetics as an intersection between planning and his academic background in communication theory. Over the past 15 years, Josh has conducted visual impact assessments for dozens of projects across the US, primarily related to power generation, electricity transmission, and transportation. Potential changes to existing landscapes, scenic resources, and important views are often behind a community’s opposition to a proposed development. Understanding this, Josh helps clients and stakeholders achieve a position of shared visual understanding, working with Stantec’s visualization technology services group to do so.  

    Bret Glendening

    Deputy City Manager, Osawatomie, KS

    Bret Glendening is the Deputy City Manager of Osawatomie, KS. Bret earned both his bachelor's degree and MPA from Kansas State University. Upon graduation, Bret worked for the League of Kansas Municipalities where he assisted cities with HR and finance issues, and was also a licensed P&C insurance agent for a group funded workers' compensation pool for municipalities. Bret then served as Budget & Finance Officer for Riley County, Kansas where he helped develop their risk and financial management practices and procedures as well as the county's annual budget. Bret then spent 5 years as City Manager in Osawatomie, Kansas, where he dealt with a major flood that overtopped the levee system in 2007 as well as worked to get their finances cash reserves from 1-2% to 10% or more in some funds and get debt down to $8 million. Taking a break from the public sector, Bret went to work as a procurement manager for Kiewit Power Constructors in Lenexa, Kansas for 10 years where he supported projects across the country in both estimating and execution, including scale utility grade solar projects (364MWdc in one instance and nearly 1GWdc in another).

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Learn how to shape community- and utility-scale solar projects in ways that increase benefits and reduce tradeoffs through land-use decision-making processes.

    Many, if not most, large-scale solar development projects will need one or more discretionary land-use approvals from the local jurisdiction. Through these decision-making processes, local officials can shape community- and utility-scale solar projects in ways that increase benefits and reduce tradeoffs. Join this webinar to learn about steps officials can take to improve applicant submissions and review processes, secure community benefits through agreements and written decisions, and ensure compliance through inspections.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This webinar will cover key terms, permissible uses, and zoning-related issues pertaining to large-scale solar development.

    Local officials can use explicit regulations to ensure solar projects are consistent with the community’s vision and goals for large-scale solar development and provide a degree of certainty to community members and solar developers about local requirements for different types of solar development. Join this webinar to learn about the importance of defining key terms, specifying permissible uses, and establishing appropriate standards and development charges for large-scale solar development. 

    Michael Zehner, AICP

    Director of Environmental Programs, Berkley Group

    Michael has worked as a professional municipal planner for almost 20 years. Beginning his career with communities in metropolitan Atlanta, Michael has led planning activities for the City of Lexington, Virginia, Town of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and, most recently, the Town of Nags Head, North Carolina.

    Michael is originally from Farmville, Virginia. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Virginia Tech, Michael's first professional job was as a legislative assistant for U.S. Congressman Virgil H. Goode, Jr., Virginia’s Fifth District. Through this role, Michael had the opportunity to work with several communities on economic development and infrastructure projects that piqued his interest in community planning. In his career, Michael’s responsibilities have covered the spectrum of planning-related matters, including a recent focus on hazard mitigation, resiliency, and environmental planning given Nags Head’s coastal location and unique geography.

    Michael values public service, and appreciates an organic, no idea is bad, process to developing solutions to challenging problems. Michael is an AICP certified planner, has served as an elected member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association executive committee, and currently serves a vice-chair of the Legislative Committee for the North Carolina Chapter.

     

    Chad Laurent

    Principal, Cadmus Group

    Chad Laurent oversees the Sustainability & Energy practice. He specializes in renewable energy law and policy, sustainable business strategies, and renewable energy project development. He is a nationally recognized expert in renewable energy market development strategies.

    Prior to joining Cadmus, Chad was Vice President and General Counsel at Meister Consultants Group, where he oversaw the firm’s contracting, legal, and financial operations, and supported corporate-wide strategic planning, and business development. Since 2010, he has overseen multiple U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technology Office projects on behalf of MCG and Cadmus. He frequently works with corporate, university, nonprofit, and municipal clients to develop 100 percent renewable, decarbonization, electric vehicle, net-zero, renewable energy supply, and procurement strategies. Chad has developed international power purchase agreement toolkits and procurement policies and is an on-call legal and policy expert for the Clean Energy Solutions Center and the Clean Power Hub. He has provided legal and policy consultation on national renewable energy programs from Azerbaijan to Vietnam.

    Chad holds a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, where he was a Rappaport Honors Fellow in law and public policy (in collaboration with the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard University), and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Environmental Policy & Behavior and Natural Resource Ecology and Management. He is a professionally trained mediator and facilitator, and is admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Join this webinar to learn about five steps local jurisdictions can take to define and integrate a vision and policy implementation for large-scale solar development into local plans.

    Planning processes can help community members identify and begin to break down unintentional barriers to large-scale solar development. They can also provide space for challenging conversations about how different types of large-scale solar projects may affect different segments of the community. Through these processes, local jurisdictions can start laying the groundwork for an equitable distribution of impacts and benefits. Join this webinar to learn about five steps local jurisdictions can take to define and integrate a vision and policy implementation for large-scale solar development into local plans. 

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits Recorded On: 02/23/2022

    Learn more about the market for large-scale solar development.

    Local government officials can act in ways that either constrain or expand opportunities for large-scale solar development. Officials who understand the key forces driving demand for large-scale solar development are better positioned to use their authority to influence the extent and nature of large-scale solar development. Join this webinar to learn about the most significant trends driving national demand for large-scale solar development, the influence of distinct actors on demand in a particular jurisdiction, and how different levels of government exercise authority over proposed projects.

    Brad Neumann, AICP

    Senior Extension Educator, Michigan State University

    Brad Neumann is a MSU Senior Extension Educator who serves as an educational resource for local and tribal governments across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the areas of land use planning and zoning, community and economic development and general governance topics including effective meetings and civic engagement. He specializes in Placemaking, planning and zoning for renewable energy systems, local government climate adaptation and mitigation, green infrastructure, and zoning issues related to the Michigan Right to Farm Act and the Land Division Act. Neumann has worked as a private-sector planner and in the capacity of a public-sector planner and has taught and conducted original research as a National Science Foundation Fellow. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and holds certificates from the National Charrette Institute and Form-Based Codes Institute. Brad holds B.S. degrees in Land Use Planning and Economics from Northern Michigan University and a M.S. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from the University of Maine. 

    Brian Ross, AICP

    LEED Green Associate, Great Plains Institute

    Brian Ross, AICP, LEED Green Associate, joined the Great Plains Institute in 2015 after 20 years as a consultant working on sustainable development in local decision-making and implementation. He leads the Institute’s work on solar energy market transformation and manages technical and policy programs to help local, regional, and state governments and institutions meet climate and renewable energy goals. Brian currently works with local and regional governments developing community standards for utilizing local solar and wind energy resources.  

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits Recorded On: 02/10/2022

    This session will cover the foundational characteristics of large-scale solar energy facilities and their development.

    As demand for solar power increases, many local government officials want to help the communities they serve capture the benefits of new large-scale solar projects. Furthermore, because these projects represent a new land use in many jurisdictions, many local officials are curious about the tradeoffs associated with large-scale solar development. Join this webinar to explore the concept of large-scale solar development by unpacking the foundational characteristics of large-scale solar energy facilities and their development, highlighting how project context affects perceptions of project scale, and summarizing the most significant potential benefits and tradeoffs of large-scale solar projects for local jurisdictions.

    Josh Hohn, AICP

    Senior Planner, Stantec

    Josh Hohn is a Senior Planner with Stantec where he leads the firm’s environmental services group’s visual resources practice. Prepared for a career in city planning, he quickly recognized the analysis of a project’s effects on landscape aesthetics as an intersection between planning and his academic background in communication theory. Over the past 15 years, Josh has conducted visual impact assessments for dozens of projects across the US, primarily related to power generation, electricity transmission, and transportation. Potential changes to existing landscapes, scenic resources, and important views are often behind a community’s opposition to a proposed development. Understanding this, Josh helps clients and stakeholders achieve a position of shared visual understanding, working with Stantec’s visualization technology services group to do so.  

    Bret Glendening

    Deputy City Manager, Osawatomie, KS

    Bret Glendening is the Deputy City Manager of Osawatomie, KS. Bret earned both his bachelor's degree and MPA from Kansas State University. Upon graduation, Bret worked for the League of Kansas Municipalities where he assisted cities with HR and finance issues, and was also a licensed P&C insurance agent for a group funded workers' compensation pool for municipalities. Bret then served as Budget & Finance Officer for Riley County, Kansas where he helped develop their risk and financial management practices and procedures as well as the county's annual budget. Bret then spent 5 years as City Manager in Osawatomie, Kansas, where he dealt with a major flood that overtopped the levee system in 2007 as well as worked to get their finances cash reserves from 1-2% to 10% or more in some funds and get debt down to $8 million. Taking a break from the public sector, Bret went to work as a procurement manager for Kiewit Power Constructors in Lenexa, Kansas for 10 years where he supported projects across the country in both estimating and execution, including scale utility grade solar projects (364MWdc in one instance and nearly 1GWdc in another).

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits Recorded On: 01/27/2022

    This webinar will provide an overview of ICMA's Solar@Scale Guidebook.

    Solar power is the cheapest form of new energy in many parts of the country, and future demand for large solar power facilities will be widespread. Join this webinar for an introduction to a new in-depth guidebook designed to help local government practitioners—including planners, economic development professionals, local government managers, and elected and appointed officials—make decisions that improve large-scale solar development outcomes. Learn about key themes that inform the guidebook’s approach and how to put this new resource to use in your community or the communities you serve. 

    Mary Aitken Reilly

    Land Use Educator, Michigan State University

    Mary Reilly is a land use educator with Michigan State University Extension.  She serves northwest lower Michigan but also travels statewide to provide specialized training programs on request.  Mary has over 20 years of experience in planning and zoning.  She served as the Mason County Zoning and Building Director for 14 years.  Mary has extensive experience with renewable energy issues, and is coauthor of a new guide for local officials in Michigan on planning and zoning for solar energy systems. Prior to moving back to Michigan, Mary was a tribal planner for Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce, New Mexico and also worked in the private and non-profit sectors as a planner.  Mary holds a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor of science in Natural Resources and Ecology from the University of Michigan. 

    Nick Kasza

    Program Manager, Sustainability Team, National League of Cities

    Nick Kasza is a Program Manager on the Sustainability Team at the National League of Cities. Nick provides local governments with the resources and solutions they need to become more sustainable and resilient. His primary responsibility at NLC is to support the SolSmart program which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. As part of the SolSmart team, Nick recruits new communities to participate in the program, creates best practice resources, and provides technical assistance to help local governments achieve designation. He is a member of the Solar@Scale Advisory Committee and has 10 years of experience with solar energy development and technical assistance.