power lines and wind turbines over a solar field at sunset

Rocky Mountain Institute Announces Project Teams for Forge 2017 Convening Event

Boulder, CO, June 13, 2017

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today announced the project teams for its Forge 2017 event, a two-and-a-half day working meeting to accelerate the design of innovative business models that connect low-income households in New York to clean energy benefits.

Forge is a key component within RMI’s larger eLab Leap initiative, which focuses on delivering more clean energy access to underserved communities. Forge is modeled on RMI’s national eLab Accelerator program, a bootcamp for innovators in the electricity industry aimed at helping teams unlock opportunities to drive projects forward through deep engagement, collaboration and innovation across institutional boundaries. Forge will be held at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, from June 13–15, 2017.

RMI is welcoming the following teams to Forge:

  • Clean Energy for Affordable Multifamily Buildings—The team’s goal is to bring energy efficiency, solar and potentially storage capability to affordable multifamily buildings. Their business model aims to aggregate multiple properties with standard products and services and standardized financial packages. This approach would provide economies of scale that 1) incentivize participation by otherwise uninterested financiers, and 2) lower costs of delivery and provide more savings to the building owners and residents.
  • Paumanok Energy–Long Island Every Roof Initiative—Working with Long Island’s solar industry, financing partners, not-for-profit organizations, faith groups and Public Service Enterprise Group’s Long Island unit, this team will build a network of rooftop community solar installations on predominantly commercial roofs. They are creating an “energy service company-like” business entity that will aggregate the electricity production from these systems and resell this power at lower rates to low- and moderate-income customers. 
  • REVitalize: Harnessing REV for a Just Transition—As a part of the REVitalize initiative, multiple low-income communities are developing plans for community solar projects, including private, public and nonprofit partners. Two New York teams will be at Forge through REVitalize, one from Buffalo and the other from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The teams seek to create a viable business model that prioritizes community ownership of the solar arrays.
  • Community Solar Project Aggregation Fund—The team seeks to create and manage a fund that aggregates and bundles many community-owned solar projects together in order to create an avenue for equity investment and debt financing of projects that have struggled to secure financing on a one-off basis. The fund aims to provide a streamlined, bankable investment opportunity for investors and lenders, as well as a reliable flow of financing for projects.

“Through our social change lab methodology, we believe we can advance our mutual efforts to identify emerging opportunities and new partnerships to provide more clean energy benefits like better health, environmental resilience, and economic growth to New Yorkers who need them the most,” Coreina Chan, a principal at RMI, said.

Forge’s social change lab architecture provides a structured working session designed to drive progress on team objectives; a safe space to test innovative ideas, tools and training to frame obstacles in a collaborative manner; and the opportunity to build new alliances and a broader support network with allied organizations. Expert eLab faculty will be on location throughout the meeting to offer training and insights to Forge teams on critical content areas.

More information on RMI’s eLab Leap initiative can be found here.