Movement for Solar Capacity and Leadership

( "MSCL" )

* Applications due: July 27, 2023 *

The Movement for Solar Capacity and Leadership (“MSCL”) program is a great opportunity for free training in one of society’s most important and rapidly growing fields - solar development. Additionally, the program enables meaningful engagement with other highly-motivated solar learners to cross-pollinate ideas and strategies, and it is a vehicle to connect with national partners.

Click HERE to watch the intro video!

I. The program has two core components: 

  1. Free solar training through an online university program.* 

  2. A small intimate learning community/cohort with additional opportunities to learn and connect. 

II. More specifically, the MSCL program involves:

  • Education and training regarding solar energy, and particularly "community solar" focused on serving LMI (low and moderate income) communities;

  • Learning about the new federal climate programs offering millions of dollars to LMI and communities of color;

  • Building community with a select group of other trainees; 

  • An "each-one teach-one" approach with participants having the opportunity to give back by relaying their education and training to their community-based organization;

  • Connecting with national partners engaged in promoting climate, racial and economic justice.

III. Who should apply:

  • People who can demonstrate some connection to a community-based organization that has some interest in developing solar projects;

  • People seeking deeper training in solar development;

  • People who, ideally, already possess some basic knowledge of energy policy and solar energy (and indeed, a brief online self-study intro course is available for those who wish to gain this familiarity or simply brush up prior to entering the MSCL course);

  • People who can demonstrate some connection to a community-based organization that has some interest in developing solar projects.

(And such community organizations can also receive PSEF assistance; click here)

IV. What’s expected of MSCL participants:

  • A strong interest in learning about community solar and its potential community benefits (jobs, discounted energy bills, clean air, eventual ownership and economic development); 

  • Active participation - in the classes and in the cohort activities (which may include online chat spaces, meetings, and/or buddy pairings, depending on participant preferences);

  • Engagement for the full period - September through December

  • Attendance at a fully paid cohort gathering in the Minneapolis area in September.

V. What participants will gain from the MSCL university course (which is in two parts): 

By the end of the initial self-paced introductory course, graduates will be able to:

  • Describe the basics of community solar technology

  • Describe how solar can be accessible to everyone, including people with limited resources and people of color, and how solar can benefit these communities in a non-extractive way

  • Identify the specific value-creation opportunities in the solar development process/ value-added roles in the solar development industry

  • Evaluate your organization’s strengths and weaknesses as a potential solar developer

  • Evaluate your organization’s skills to be able to play a role in the community solar development process

  • Champion solar development within your organization as an opportunity to meet business and mission objectives

By the end of the instructor-led course, graduates will be able to:

  • Determine the appropriate role for their organization on the development team based on market need, partnership opportunities, and organizational capacity and appetite.

  • Assemble a development team capable of sponsoring, financing, developing, and managing a community solar project.

  • Package a viable community solar project.

  • Structure a creditworthy community solar project and pitch it for financing.

VI. What participants will gain from the other key components of the MSCL program:

  • Technical assistance with organizing and developing community solar projects;

  • A learning community made up of peers with similar interests/experience in solar development;  

  • Connections with national and regional experts. 

VII. To Apply:

  • Complete this brief application by July 27. Even if you don’t meet every single qualification, we encourage you to apply!

  • For questions, contact Mitty Owens at 

Please click here to go to the Programs Main Page. 

Thank you for your interest!


*Note: course participation is contingent upon the university's review and acceptance of applicants.



The People’s Solar Energy Fund advances energy democracy by supporting the growth of community-led, community-owned solar projects with a focus on low income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities. PSEF provides funding, technical assistance and shared services for a network of nonprofit and coop solar developers. 

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a nationally recognized resource providing vital research and policy in the field of renewables and sustainability.

The Carson School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire offers graduate and certificate training in a variety of important fields. 


PSEF and our partners are committed to equal opportunity regarding employment and program selection in our efforts to build  open, inclusive and affirming spaces that reflect the rich diversity of the communities we serve. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community,  people with a lived experience of poverty/ racism and people from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.