Virginia Solar Congress

Join Solar United Neighbors and solar supporters from across the state for our 2nd Annual Virginia Solar Congress!

2017 Virginia Solar Congress

Saturday October 14, 2017
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
James Madison University – ISAT-CS Building
701 Carrier Dr. Harrisonburg, VA 22807


The Virginia Solar Congress is a free public conference that brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current state and future for solar energy in Virginia. The day will include presentations about solar technology and policy topics as well as ways to get involved with growing solar in Virginia. We will also hold a participatory open forum for all attendees to discuss the priorities that solar supporters in Virginia should focus on in the coming year.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend!

The second annual Virginia Solar Congress will be hosted by Solar United Neighbors of Virginia in partnership with the JMU Center for Wind Energy.

Space is limited so please register and let us know you’ll be joining us.


JMU Parking Map

JMU Parking Map



9:30 to 10:00 – Registration, breakfast refreshments

10:00 to 10:35 – Opening Remarks

10:45 to 11:45 – Workshops – Session 1

  1. Solar 101 Information Session

Learn the basics of how solar works on a home or small business, the economics behind solar, and the incentives available to you. If you are new to solar or considering going solar, this is the session for you!

                    Ian Reichardt, Solar United Neighbors

  1. Growing Solar in Your Community

Solar homeowners will share their experiences spreading the word about solar in their community, from hosting solar open houses and solar tours to writing articles in local papers and tabling at community events. You’ll leave this session with tangible ways to share your experience going solar and bring more solar to your community.

                  Panel Presentation:

                             Bob Biersack, Solar Homeowner

                             Chris Wise, Solar Homeowner

                             Wayne Nolde, Solar Homeowner

                             Remy Pangle, JMU Center for Wind Energy

                             Facilitated by: Joy Loving, Solar Homeowner

  1. Electric Vehicles and Solar

Learn why electric vehicles are the perfect match for solar. The presentation will focus on technology, costs, charging and other practical considerations so that you can ‘fuel your vehicle with solar’. The session will also cover information for business owners interested in installing an EV charger at their business.

                  Alleyn Harned, Virginia Clean Cities

12:00 to 1:00 – Lunch and informal networking – lunch will be served

1:15 to 2:15 – Workshops – Session 2

  1. Solar Jobs in Virginia

The expanding solar industry is creating new opportunities for the Virginia workforce. Learn about the range of solar jobs in Virginia, the skill sets needed to be successful in the industry, training opportunities, and how to break into the field.

                  Panel Discussion:

                             Tom Weaver, Prospect Solar

                             Nicole Steele, Grid Alternatives

                             Francis Hodsall, Sol Unesco

                             John Myles, JMU Center for Wind Energy

                             Facilitated by: Jeff Nicholson, Sigora Solar & Solar Energy International

  1. Case Study: Local DIY Solar and Barnraising Initiatives

Learn about how a group of community members in Harrisonburg took solar into their own hands by creating and implementing multiple non-traditional models for solar, including a pool of community resources for several DIY solar installations and a ‘barnraising’ crowdfunding initiative to solarize local non-profit, Gift & Thrift.

                  Jeff Heie and Timothy Godshall, Harrisonburg Community Members

  1. Solar and Energy Storage: Learn the latest about battery storage for residential, commercial and municipal solar installations. A panel of experts will discuss emerging technology, costs and the applications for battery storage in Virginia.     

                  Panel Presentation:

                             Will Gathright, Tumalow Energy

                             Watt Bradshaw: Blue Ridge Energy

                             John Hansen, SolarCity

                             Facilitated by Aaron Sutch, Solar United Neighbors

2:30 to 3:30 – Participatory Open Forum Discussion:

Discuss policy and steps we can all take to expand access to rooftop solar in Virginia.

                  Special Remarks from:

                             Cliona Robb, VA Solar Development Authority and Christian and Barton Legal

3:30 to 3:40 – Closing remarks

4:00 to 5:30 – Post-congress Happy Hour

Join Solar United Neighbors for a happy hour after the solar congress at:

3 Notch’d Brewing Company

241 East Market St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Featuring Solar Powered Electronic Musician, Jonathan Aidan



Want to volunteer at the Virginia Solar Congress? Email:

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