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Technical Assistance Provider, SolSmart Advisor Lowell , MA

Technical Assistance Provider, SolSmart Advisor
Lowell , MA

Job Description 
The Solar Foundation, serving as the Technical Assistance Provider for the SolSmart program (solsmart.org) – funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative – is seeking a highly-motivated, experienced self-starter to act as SolSmart Advisor to communities organized under Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (“NMCOG” or “Host Community”), including Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Pepperell, Tewksbury, and Tyngsborough, MA.

SolSmart Advisors are temporary, program-funded and -trained staff who work in selected communities pursuing SolSmart designation for up to six months. The Advisor will assist the Host Community in achieving designation through the SolSmart program by addressing solar “soft costs” and barriers to the use of solar energy in these communities. The Advisor will work with local government staff and other stakeholders (both internal and external) to apply industry-leading best practices that allow participating communities to achieve SolSmart designation.

Specifically, the Advisor will help participating local governments to achieve SolSmart criteria (solsmart.org/resources) related to solar permitting and inspections, planning and zoning, construction codes, solar rights, utility engagement, community engagement, and market development and finance. Additionally, the Advisor will conduct outreach to neighboring communities and facilitate regional discussions about solar energy, including discussions about opportunities to harmonize solar processes across jurisdictions.

This is a temporary, contractual position based in Lowell, Massachusetts which will last no more than six months.

Key Responsibilities 

  • Working with local government staff to reduce solar “soft costs;”
  • Assisting participating governments in pursuit of solar goals related to SolSmart criteria, including solar permitting and inspections, planning and zoning, construction codes, solar rights, utility engagement, community engagement, and market development and finance;
  • Tracking key metrics related to both solar energy in participating local government jurisdictions and progress toward SolSmart designation;
  • Engaging in regular communication with SolSmart Technical Assistance Provider Team; and
  • Conducting SolSmart program outreach to additional communities in the region.


Candidates for this position will:

  • Possess a graduate degree or equivalent in public policy (with a focus in renewable energy/sustainability or local government management/issues), planning, engineering, business, law, or environmental management, and 2+ years of work experience related to one or more key criteria topic areas OR a related Bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of relevant experience;
  • Have superb written and verbal communication skills and be an effective facilitator;
  • Understand what motivates local government staff and elected officials to embrace and pursue program and process changes – and the competing interests that may inhibit them from doing so – ideally from experience in local government, state/federal government, and/or consulting for local government;
  • Have experience or strong interest in supporting the solar industry by working in local solar/clean energy issues;
  • Have the ability to work well with limited supervision;
  • Be eligible to work in the United States.

Compensation and Status
The Solar Foundation will provide a stipend of up to $1,250 per week for up to six months. All other costs (e.g. travel to and within the Host Community area) will be borne by the Advisor or included as cost share by the Host Community. Advisors are independent contractors and not employees of The Solar Foundation, the Host Community, or the U.S. Department of Energy.

All Advisors will be required to travel to Washington, D.C. for a training session to be held June 26-30, 2017. The SolSmart program will cover all reasonable and necessary travel costs associated with this training session.

To Apply 
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample – all of which should demonstrate your experience, qualifications, educational background, and your desire to succeed in this position – to Philip Haddix at phaddix@solarfound.org with the subject line “NMCOG SolSmart Advisor.”

All application materials must be received no later than Friday, May 5th, 2017. 

About SolSmart
SolSmart is a national designation and technical assistance program that recognizes leading solar communities and empowers additional communities to expand their local solar markets. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, SolSmart strives to cut red tape, drive greater solar deployment, and make it possible for even more American homes and businesses to access solar energy to meet their electricity needs. Learn more at solsmart.org.

About The Solar Foundation 
The Solar Foundation (TSF) is the leading provider of high-quality economic impact analyses for the solar industry, a trusted partner for technical assistance spurring public sector implementation, and a champion of solar workforce development. An independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1977, TSF’s mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. Learn more at thesolarfoundation.org.

About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low-cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.

About the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments
The Northern Middlesex Council of Governments is one of thirteen regional planning agencies within Massachusetts. NMCOG works with the communities of the Greater Lowell region to support and enhance a wide range of planning objectives related to land use, environmental protection, energy, economic development, housing, public health, public safety, municipal service delivery and transportation. Learn more at nmcog.org.

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