Workshop 3


When: 07 March 2015 

Workshop 3 - Purpose

 To develop a concept for the first of many Community Solar Projects in Happy Valley,

In a way that deeply values the role of all stakeholders in a collaborative and transparent co-creative process,

So that all stakeholders enthusiastically participate in developing the potential for future local energy projects and enriching the unique quality of life in this particular community indefinitely.

Workshop 3 - Agenda

Welcome/Introduction: Jeffrey Brownson

1.Opening     Exercises

  • Open with context questions

2. Review Workshop #1 and #2 results.

  •   Review project Purpose
  • Review Principles and for delivering value-adding processes (VAPs) to key stakeholder groups
  • Review targeted outcomes relative to five key subsystems

3. Align around Partnering Concept Framework diagram for CSOS Pilot project

  • Review outputs from bridging event
  •  Present Concept framework (from core team) for Pilot project Group discussion: Can this be altered to better achieve the Project Purpose?  

4. Develop Partnering Concept for CSOS Pilot project - Align around Off-taker and project site

  • Presentation: Why with PSU campus is likely best fit as site and OPP is likely best fit as Off-taker
  • Break-out Session #1: Identify how PSU campus-site and perhaps OPP as Off-taker (or other options) can serve to deliver VAPs to five stakeholder groups


5.Break – Pinup results of Breakout #1

6. Group discussion of results from Breakout #1

7. Design RFP process for selecting the Pilot project Developer

  •  Break-out Session #2: five groups, each focused on one of the following:
  •  Identify selection criteria (and constraints) for Pilot Developer
  • Identify potential Pilot Developers and outline timeline for selection process
  • Create Pilot RFP content outline (template) and process
  • How to incorporate delivering VAPs into a project-specific place-sourced RFP  
  • Explore means or structure for creating/tracking RECs for purchase fr/ public  

8. Lunch – Pinup results of Breakout #2

9. Group discussion of results from Breakout #2

  • Means of integrating results into first draft iteration of RFP
  • Develop arc of process (next steps) for creating Pilot RFP (Who, How, When)
  • Discuss options/advantages for other entities to serve as issuer of RFP to contact with Developer (perhaps a municipal entity, e.g., College Township)
  • Discuss any significant risks and opportunities associated with entering contract with Developer

10. Break    

11. Develop Community Entity (CE) to initiate future “Community Solar Cooperative”

  •  Breakout Session #3: five groups

Three groups focused on the following:  

  •   Identify roles/responsibilities of community-sourced participation – “Community Solar Cooperative” for Pilot and future projects  
  • Outline mechanism for managing feedback and future development  
  • Develop draft outline of future project “Tool Box” content (template RFP, draft land lease, draft Power Purchase agreement, etc.)  

Two groups – each focused on one of the following:  

  • Explore framework ideas (website?) for tracking development process and outcomes  
  • Identify means for developing Investors:  Clarify how community can access & accrue value from/invest in PV power (e.g., buy RECs) to finance the project  

12. Pinup and group discussion of results from Breakout #3

  •   Integrate results into broad roles of CE
  • Develop process for creating Pilot CE (Who, How, When)
  • Solicit volunteers willing to serve as community leaders as initial “Community Solar Cooperative” members

13. Discuss Next Steps

  •   Develop arc of project schedule with key milestones and identify primary roles/responsibilities

14. Reflections

15. Adjourn  

Workshop 3 - Output

Welcome and Introductions

John – What system are we trying to transform?    We are trying to transform the vitality of Happy Valley.

Enter image and alt text here. No sizes!
  • Developing us
  • To facilitate the group
  • To help the group transform the happy Valley area.


Think about a time when you have walked into a room where you can feel the positive energy. Keep that in mind.

What role do you have in this project? Gauge the energy in this room. Take into account what your goals are and the goals of the group. Let’s plan how to proceed to the final goal.

Opening Exercise

Relax, close your eyes and think about these three things.

  1. Imagine what a positive result will look like.
  2. How will it affect me if it works?
  3. What capability do I have to make it happen?

OK. What have you discovered about your role in this process?

Jeffrey – “My role is stronger when tied to the others in the group. My role is to provide 10 years of experience and bring his relationships in to help.”

Bill Sharp – It would be bad if this was actually the last meeting of this group. We as a group need to develop a vision to push this forward.  This is a pilot project and pilot projects are good.

Denise Wardrup – The idea of a pilot and to share the experience of the pilot is valuable. Pilots help to reduce fear of the unknown.

Xxxxxx? – This group has shown community, openness and transparency. This group helps build openness because we are dealing with a real project that concerns the community.



2015.03.07_003a.jpgJohn Boecker - 

This relates to the activating force / restraining force model. We are working to balance the two forces and move toward reconciling (up) not compromising (down).



2015.03.07_007a.jpgReview of Workshops #1


Most projects begin the planning process at the STRATEGY or DESIGN step but we have purposely decided to start the process by building BELIEF. Then we established PRINCIPLES and today we hope to build the CONCEPT.










Workshop #1 – Purpose

Workshop #2 – Products

Workshop #3 – Process

Moving forward to where we can move on to Preparation.




Jeffrey then read the Project Purpose aloud.

To develop a community-created solar PV array in Happy Valley.

                WHAT : FUNCTION

In a way that evolves transparently, enhances living systems, and values the voices of the community (both individual & collective).

                HOW : BEING

So that future local energy projects embed energy resilience as a cultural value that enhances quality of life in our region and empowers imaginations in this community indefinitely.

                WHY : WILL

We, as a group, are working to ensure that this is a community sourced project while keeping in mind that this pilot project does not need to be exclusively solar.


To develop…        =           What        -           Function     (F)

In a way that…     =           How           -          Being           (B)

So that…                =           Why          -           Will             (W)


We know that there will be restraining forces and that those forces are good. Restraining forces will help guide the future path of the project.

John B. then told us about his plan to begin having regular family breakfast dates. A date was set for the first family breakfast. On the morning of, John was super busy preparing for a conference call and was stressed out and the breakfast date was cancelled. Another date was set. Again, John was preparing for a conference call but was able to manage the stress level and the family had a wonderful breakfast.   John’s “being state” had to change between the two attempts. John was able to focus on the purpose of the family breakfast which was to build a stronger family.

What we are working on is to affect all future energy projects in the Happy Valley area.

Review of Workshops #2


2015.03.07_014a.jpgIn order for this project to be successful we need to make sure all five constituents buy in. We need to make sure we are delivering value added processes to ensure the buy in from the constituents.

We all have different roles in the pentad.

John B. – in 2005 Jonh was diagnosd with cancer at the beginning of the Christmas holiday break and had to wait for ten days before he was able to get any answers  about his situation. During those ten days, John decided he wanted to contribute to the world in a positive way.

We need to make sure we will deliver Value Added Processes (VAPs) that will support all of the key stakeholders. We also need to make sure we deliver the VAP in balance so no one stakeholder is out of balance.




During workshop #2 we developed about 30 VAPs . John boiled them down to the following few principles.


  1. Empowering imaginations
  2. Engaging active collaboration
  3. Deliver meaningful engagement and education
  4. Use true eco balance sheet
  5. Foster reciprocal inter-relationships
  6. Consider all stakeholders
  7. Contribute to local common-wealth
  8. Demonstrate value (connections between/ local environment & economy
  9. Align around clear and precise language





The final product of workshop #2 was the targeted outcomes (5 key subsystems)

  1. Habitat
  2. Water
  3. Energy
  4. Materials
  5. Economy





Align around Partnering Concept Framework diagram for CSOS Pilot project


Alex presented his notes from the December 13 bridging event which was held in the Kunkle lounge.

  1. Event Mission Statement
  2. Agenda Recap
  3. Internal Group Discussion
  4. Output  
  • Constraints: Timeline…
  • Considerations: Location…
  1. Next Steps
  • Develop asset map
  • What do we already have?
  • What do we still need?
  • How do we reconcile?


Wes Glebe – Attended a recent C.O.G. meeting and it became apparent to him that we need to build the right relationships with the proper groups in order to build traction for the project.

Develop Partnering Concept for CSOS Pilot project - Align around Off-taker and project site

Presentation: Why PSU campus is likely best fit as the site and OPP is the best fit as the off-taker.

Jeffrey presented his PowerPoint with notes from workshop #2.  

The second workshop led to a shift toward focusing on a pilot project to enable future local energy projects. This project should:

Skill development:

  • We lack the immediate skills to take on the entire project right now.
  • We need to find a project developer.
  • Transfer skills to the community

Site Development:

  • We need a site.
    • Is Penn State the best fit for off-taker?


  • We need an off-taker.
    • Who do we partner with?
      • Penn State? High School? Nittany Mall? UAJA?

                        Note: State High already has a $2 million grant for a good energy plan.

  • Is Penn State the best fit for siting? Penn State looks good because we have already established the groundwork and built a relationship.

Time limitations:

  • Must be done by end of 2016 to qualify for significant tax breaks.


Jeffrey’s reflection, all of this leads very well into the project plan. It looks the key points are that we are constrained by time and that Penn State might be the only real option for off-takers.

Rob Cooper presented his information about moving forward.

  • 2015.03.07_020a.jpgLong term – Steering organization to help drive future energy plans with a vision.
  • Off-taker - Needs to execute the PPA.
  • Contracting Entity – Needs to hire developer and write up RFP.
  • Developer – Builds, owns, operates, and finances the project
  • Community Based Investors – Involvement would be great.

Rob then followed with the following answers….

PSU can be the off-taker. PSU might be able to give the land on which the array can be built. PSU could be the contracting entity, but there may be better options out there.


Joe remarked that the steering committee has to keep the long term in mind, but should be flexible enough to make compromises to meet the short term goals.

DSC_9963a.jpgDSC_9964a.jpgBreakout Session #1:


  • Why is PSU the best site?
  • Why is PSU (OPP) the best off-taker?
  • How can PSU serve to deliver value added processes to all five stakeholder groups?

While making decisions in the breakout groups, keep in mind the five stakeholder groups and the eight (now nine) principles.

Before the breakout session began, we had a brief discussion about possible sites, space needed, and ballpark costs for the solar array. Rob mentioned two possible sites; an area on orchard road below the hospital and an area near a retention pond between Orchard road and Porter road. An estimate was given indicating that a 1.5 megawatt installation would need about four to five acres of space and would cost roughly .5 to .75 million dollars.


2015.03.07_022.jpgBreakout #1 - Group A  (Jeffrey Brownson)

Why doesn’t PSU just do the project?

  • As a land grant University, this project should work well on campus.
  • Make PSU be part of our community, help dissolve the barrier between PSU and the town. Help make PSU look like a non-threat.
  • Educational opportunity for PSU to inform the community about solar farming.
  • PSU land is open community shared land.
  • PSU has a large alumni pool, faculty-staff pool, and the area has a large resident pool.
  • Lifelong learning for the utilities industry.



2015.03.07_024.jpgBreakout #1 - Group B  (Susan Stewart)

Community – A public host would be better than a private host and would ba able to provide opportunities for outreach.

Co-Creators – There is a lot PSU can learn from this process.

Investors – Must be completed by 2016 in order to take advantage of tax benefits.

Users – Opportunity to integrate into education of students and visitors.

Earth Systems – Visual representation of good stewardship.




Breakout #1 - Group C  (Rob Cooper)

  • 2015.03.07_026.jpgPSU is a big purchaser but that means that our current cost for electricity is low.
  • This installation can be a good example for the next group that wants to build a solar array.
  • PSU can be an advocate to help push legal decisions within PA.
  • PSU can be a powerful ally in net metering legislation.
  • PSU can use this as a demonstration project.
  • PSU financial offices can learn from the CSOS project.
  • First pebble in the pond which may trickle down to other campuses.
  • PSU may be willing to accept the economic risk of a longer wait for return on investment in order to provide cultural and educational opportunities.
  • Problem s
    • PSU already has cheep power.
    • Is this real community integration?

Group Discussions Resulting from Breakout #1.


PSU is a massive asset for the Community Solar group.

Dave stated that he is concerned about the town & gown / PSU / student interrelationships.

We are here to help increase OPPs design space.

Wes asked how do we (and others) see the risk? How can we redefine the risk so it does not appear as ominous? What are the pre-costs and the post-costs of the project?

Does the warm fuzzy feeling of solar have a tangible effect on the economics involved?

Bean counters need to be a part of the team but they cannot drive the team.


What will the name be? Happy Valley Solar Cooperative (HVSC) We should consider using this as a placeholder for now. Solar may drop out as we move on to future projects.

Wes asked about addressing the 800 pound gorilla in the room. If PSU gets its feet wet in solar, can we help begin to push the Pennsylvania Utility Commission away from net metering?

Design RFP process for selecting the pilot project developer