Current Initiatives Leadership Service Members Partners and Affiliates

The Sustainable Energy Solutions Program works to catalyze clean energy development in Appalachian Ohio by supporting regional efforts to scale up energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation initiatives. We support the development of a clean energy economy that provides living-wage jobs and the growth of a modern manufacturing sector that attracts and retains our skilled Appalachian workforce.

Our initiatives connect individuals, small businesses, and local governments with resources and technical assistance to reduce energy use, access renewable energy incentives and opportunities, and incorporate clean transportation solutions. This new program initiative was established in 2018 through an organizational merger of Rural Action and UpGrade Ohio.

Appalachian Ohio has a rich history providing abundant energy resources to fuel the nation’s cities and towns. Generations of hard-working coal miners proudly supported the development of modern-day America, but many communities have been left behind as the energy economy shifts away from fossil fuels in favor of cheaper and more flexible natural gas, solar, and wind. As U.S. coal consumption continues to fall, power producers continue to shutter coal-fired units, impacting many Appalachian communities sustained economically by the industry.

Our Current Initiatives

Energy Efficiency

Clean Energy Pledge

Rural Action Sustainable Energy Solutions Clean Energy Pledge connects nonprofits and small businesses with available technical and financial resources to achieve energy conservation, renewable energy, and clean transportation goals.

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Renewable Energy

Grow Solar Jobs Initiative

The Grow Solar Jobs Initiative supports the growth of the Appalachian solar industry by facilitating professional training for job-seekers intending to advance their professional careers in the solar field.

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REAP Grant Writing Services

Rural Action Sustainable Energy Solutions provides application preparation services and technical assistance to businesses seeking to apply for the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant.

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Get a Free Solar Evaluation

Thanks to a partnership with Third Sun Solar, Rural Action members are eligible for a free solar evaluation — and a discount if they decide to have panels installed.

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Solar Assessment program

The Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC) is offering free solar assessments for rural small businesses and agricultural producers. Just answer a few questions and you’ll be on your way …

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Clean Transportation


Rural Open Access Development Mobility Access Plan (ROADMAP) is a three-year initiative funded by the Department of Energy. This project aims to pilot and study advanced vehicle technologies in a rural setting to gather information and enhance awareness of innovative mobility solutions that fill rural transportation gaps.

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Appalachian Clean Transportation

The Appalachian Clean Transportation Initiative engages a network of economic development partners, industry specialists, and statewide policy experts to plan implementation strategies that bring clean transportation infrastructure and development to Appalachian Ohio.

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EV Cruisers Club

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Cruisers electric car club originally started in Athens County, Ohio, in early 2016. The club acts as a hub for networking between EV owners, advocates, and enthusiasts who believe in the future of electric transportation throughout Appalachia Ohio.

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Sustainability Planning

We work with organizations and communities to create plans to operate in more environmentally friendly ways. We help you to define environmental sustainability goals and create action steps to meet them.

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National Service Members

Each year, Rural Action mobilizes more than 35 energetic and passionate people across the region to help small communities do big things through our Leadership Development and Service program. Our National Service members serve in communities through a yearlong commitment as part of our Appalachian Ohio Restore Corps, an AmeriCorps State/National program administered by Rural Action, or our through our AmeriCorps VISTA program, Rural Renewal. See members who are currently serving with Rural Action here or learn more about how we are growing local leaders here.

Organizational Partners and Affiliates

Solar United Neighbors
Just Transition Fund
Clean Fuels Ohio
Transportation Research Center
Drive Ohio
USDA Rural Development
Ohio Department of Transportation
Central Appalachian Network
Green Energy Ohio
Department of Energy
Blue Green Alliance