Core Meeting - Agenda


The discussion was began  the fact that the project is more than simply installing PV array at Penn State. Currentconditions in the industry and public opinion show improved possibility of success compared to five years ago. Recentmeetings with COG indicate that there is a lot of local interest in PV. It is indicated that we need to be ware of negativereactions (resistance) from some local groups/people. Then, it is asked to hold off on discussing resistance until later.

Exercise 1 (Opening Exercise)

Relaxation exercise with three questions;

  1. Why are you here?
  2. What is the single most work-related potential that you bring to this project,
  3. What is the single most work-related problem that you see in this project?

Consider how you went about answering the second and third question.


  1.  ​It will be difficult to manage moving this project forward
  2. The challenge is in motivating. Jeffrey sees a need for a strong sense of place and building a sense ofownership
  3. To solve problems
  4. To make a difference.
  5. Installing a PV array is a symbol of community spirit not just a step by step process of. Looking forward to learning about the dynamics within the community. 
  1. A building sense of panic trying to balance the Work/time challenges
  2. The challenge of changing upper level people’s willingness to change what the status quo. How do we build a sense of pride?
  3. This is a big challenge that makes me nervous. I need to break the task into smaller pieces.
  4. Finding a sense of place while changing jobs from jet engine engineer to volunteer work….scary
  5. Doesn’t feel knowledgeable about the technical end.

Additionally, there was a discussion about equating PV to a keystone species like the wolf. Introducing a wolf into an environment will forever change that environment. Introducing PV will change the technological environment at PSU.

Exercise 2

 Think of a meaningful project that was fulfilling and a meaningful project that was agonizing, andwhat made each project different?




  1. Shared values and working well within a group.
  2. 2009 Solar Decathlon was an excellent group with a shared vision. Project had a slow start but very productive in the end. It had a sense of a co-created project.
  3. Working within a group with the goal of reducing PSU greenhouse gas emissions. 
  1. Driving a project by himself. 
  2. The 2017 Solar Decathlon. Command and Control method of assigning tasks resulted in tension and no shared vision.
  3. The pushback from the community about changing from coal to natural gas was unexpected. Several years of planning with lots of progress and then..


FRAMEWORK  #1  Levels of Thought

Step 1




Step 2




Step 3





Part of Rob’s problem arose because the public entered the process in stage 2 and some of them felt that they were not involved in the early stages of the process.

Alignment is important – We need to bring the public into the process as early as is reasonable.

Discussion about  North Dakota decided to build a community health center. The project worked well because the “community” decided to build the health center. Even though a significant percentage of the population were not originally from the town, everyone had become community members.

Three Lines of Work (Carol Sanford)

Value Adding Process (Charlie Krones)

System Management (Charlie Krones)

The human body works because the system works together. A liver on its own is useless. Similarly, a high performance building in a poor system is useless.The system brings value to the group and the group brings value to the individual.


In Nature, resistance in water flow allows the water to take up nutrients that in turn feed the fish that can eventually feed us. (Resistance or slowing is important.)
Looking at a tree as the same system, the strength of the tree is not just the trunk, it is the roots and the leaves at the extremes.
Being aware of all of these frameworks will lead to a better understanding the cosmology of the entire Solar on State project.

Breakout Groups – Exercise 1:  

 What is unique about this place?
Physical: Trees, ridge and valley, cloud cover, island in a field, education, Happy Valley resilience, mild weather,

low bug count.
People: Core/Shell community structure, outdoor recreation, PSU farming core, big sports in a small town, age –youth and energy.
Other: Alumni mass -‐‐ the potential to spread the solar initiative, Lunar Lion – PSU flag on the moon, PSU -‐‐ Pride! 
Regroup: How does the uniqueness of State College fit into the “Story of Place “framework?
  1. Core Processes - What are the core processes that make State College what it is? (geology, physiology, hydrology, flora, fauna.)
  2. Core Purpose
  3. Core Values – Value adding processes

The core processes, purpose, and values all help get to the essence of a place.

  • State College has physical/geological barriers that isolate it from other communities and yet we always have an influx of new lifeblood (students).
  • State College has shown that it is a resilient town.
  • State College has a large potential to generate spread through the sheer mass of the alumni.

How does this exercise facilitate Solar on State? The people of Happy Valley show a strong connection to place and Penn State has a huge alumni presence. We should be able to tap into both. 

Breakout Groups - Exercise 2  

  1. What is the single effect we want this project to manifest?
  2. What are the risks? 
Positives Negatives
  • Build a culture of solar farming
  • Export a solar culture
  • Build PSU solar expertise
  • Replicate the viability of concept
  • Link to “Global Warming”
  • Risk if roof mounted system
  • The valley between will and fiscal responsibility

 We should be less focused on details and more focused on the generalities of the effects and risks, things vs. processes.

We want to provide solar accessibility to everyone (a thing)
  • Create an promotional opportunity for PSU
  • Town and Gown collaboration
  • Community sourced project
  • Culture of solar farming (or harvesting) {PA is just 15% below the solar capacity of the SW states}


We need to be careful with our choice of words.

  •  Is “culture” the proper word? Does “culture” have a negative connotation, as in…you want to change my culture?
  •  Storm water vs. rain water.
  • Do we use photovoltaic or solar farming? We are not trying to replace farmland with PV.
  • Is there a risk of naysayers associating this project with Global Warming?
  • Should this project be one large facility or multiple rooftop installations?  - A rooftop installation typically only captures 30% of a buildings needs.
  • PSUs current carbon reduction plan is focused on conservation.
  • Does the Solar on State project put PSUs financial future at risk or does solar become a value added opportunity.

How do we deliver value added processes to PSU and ALL stakeholders?

Key Stakeholders Framework -Pentad:


Our task is to define who the stakeholders are and where do they fit into the pentad. (Note: In our pentad, the earth systems do not have a voice.)

In business we focus on the return on investment (ROI)

#1 responsibility is the investor.

#2 responsibility is the customer.

Breakout Groups – Exercise 3: 

Identify one or two value added processes for each entity in order to help the system grow. How do we build up the whole system so that no one can afford to lose the project? We need to focus on building relationships between each of the entities.

A. Customers -(residents, PSU)

Create a solar farm that enriches the area in a way that makes the land fertile, town viable, and the University thrive.

B. Community- (residents, students, property owners, visitors) Cultivate a sense of ownership of energy flow that builds community pride, local stability, growth,

advancement, viability, and vitality.

C. Co-creators - (employees, installation crew, project managers, OPP, research students)Create a means by which they can grow and develop careers, skill sets, businesses, and economic viability.

D. Investors -(PSU)Enrich the memory of Happy Valley as the best place on earth to nurture the future.

We need to ensure that each stakeholder derives value from and continue to contribute to the project.

We need to ensure that each stakeholder derives value from and continue to contribute to the project.