ASGA Call #61 Replay: Planning for an Agrivoltaics Future with Encore Renewable Energy

How can innovative agrivoltaics programs address local community concerns, including impacts on agricultural land? What does the future of agrivoltaics look like from the perspective of a solar and energy storage developer?

We had a great discussion for Call # 61 led by Chad Farrell, Amber Lessard, and Lauren Glickman from Encore Renewable Energy, an innovator in community-scale renewable energy and B-Corp based in Vermont that has big plans for advancing the field of agrivoltaics across the industry. Chad, Amber, and Lauren discussed how Encore is changing the narrative around solar and agriculture through agrivoltaics projects and strong community engagement as they address local concerns about solar in agricultural areas.

Chad shared how Encore decided to pursue agrivoltiac solutions including pollinator-friendly ground cover and solar grazing. Amber also talked about the practical aspects of their existing solar grazing operations on two solar sites, both of which were not developed with solar grazing in mind. Lauren discussed where they plan to go from here and how the company is thinking about the best ways to incorporate agrivoltaics in both community outreach and future development projects.

About the Speakers

Chad Farrell glasses

Chad Farrell  is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Encore Renewable Energy, a leader in community scale renewable energy project development services. He has over 25 years of professional experience in the fields of brownfields redevelopment and renewable energy project finance, development and construction. At Encore, Chad leads the team’s innovative and collaborative efforts to design, permit, finance and construct over 80 different commercial scale solar PV projects throughout the State of Vermont and beyond, representing more than $100M in total investment value. Many of these projects involve reclaiming undervalued real estate for clean energy generation and storage, helping to revitalize communities and create a cleaner, brighter future for all.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and earned a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Vermont. Chad serves on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and is also a member of the Board of Directors for Renewable Energy Vermont. Following appointment by the Vermont Senate to represent the clean energy sector, he is currently serving on the Vermont Climate Council.

Amber Lessard

Amber Lessard serves as the Director of Construction and Asset Management at Encore Renewable Energy. Having a wide variety of experience in the Vermont solar industry, she has worked as a residential PV installer and service technician, as well as a commercial solar evaluator, designer, site supervisor, and operations and maintenance manager. She is a licensed electrician in Vermont and holds the NABCEP PV Installation Professional certification. Amber is a proponent for dual-use solar and is on the Board of Advisors for the American Solar Grazing Association. An advocate for increasing diversity in the renewable energy and trade industries, Amber works closely with the non-profit Vermont Works for Women as a solar instructor for their middle school and high school programs, adult pre-apprenticeship training, and job training for incarcerated women nearing release.

Lauren Glickman

Lauren Glickmanis the VP of Marketing for Encore Renewable Energy. She has over a decade of experience in clean energy and climate change advocacy, and a successful track record for implementing winning social media and online strategies. She was awarded a Platinum Cleanie Award in 2019 as a Rising Star for the clean energy industry, as well as a spot on the #Solar100, a ranking of the most influential leaders in the solar industry. She has spearheaded the strategic marketing and communications efforts for numerous companies and organizations across the renewable energy sector.

Lauren has spent the last decade as a communications consultant for nonprofits and renewable energy businesses as a Managing Partner for RenewComm and independently as WindyGlick Communications. She’s worked with leaders across the wind, solar, energy storage and clean energy finance sectors including Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy, CleanCapital, Hannon Armstrong, Rope Partner, Solar Energy Trade Shows (now RE+), Grid Alternatives and Edison Energy.

Previously, she was at the American Wind Energy Association (now the American Clean Power Association), where she was responsible for the re-design, relaunch and management of their social media program and the Power of Wind online advocacy portal. Her work was recognized among the top 10 social-media-savvy trade associations. She has also successfully organized marketing and advocacy campaigns for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environmental Working Group, and the Fund for Public Interest Research.

Since 2013 Lauren has been an adjunct professor at The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, teaching undergraduate, graduate and executive education courses and seminars on social media theory and practice. She holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Policy and English from Tulane University. Outside of her work to accelerate the clean energy transition, Lauren enjoys cooking, bluegrass, horseback riding and hikes with her dog Basil. She is a competitive amateur equestrian and competes with her horse George in the adult jumpers in the Washington, DC region.

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