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
Solarize Appalachian Ohio Initiatives
Bridging the gap of affordability and access to solar in Appalachia takes a comprehensive approach. Rural Action’s SES team connects people to renewable energy support services, including REAP grant writing, solar site assessments, grant funding and SolSmart advising. These services can help small businesses, municipalities, and homeowners reduce the cost of renewable energy technologies and assist in navigating the process through technical support.
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. Looking for a local installer? Click here for a current list of quality installers across Ohio.
The Sustainable 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…
The Appalachian Solar Finance Fund (SFF) is a financial and technical assistance program that accelerates solar projects in coal-impacted communities across Central Appalachia.
SolSmart is a national designation program that recognizes cities, counties, and organizations who have taken steps to make it easier, faster and more affordable to go solar in their communities.
Rural Action’s Sustainable Energy Solutions and Sustainable Agriculture teams work together to provide education and technical support for farmers who seek to incorporate solar into their business model.
Appalachian Clean Transportation Initiatives
The Appalachian Clean Transportation (ACT) Initiative aims to engage 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.
With grant funding from the Joyce Foundation, the goal is to bridge the gap in services, infrastructure and resources available to the region and accelerate demand for clean transportation. The ACT Initiative builds leadership and key networks to move regional clean transportation policy and planning work forward.
Rural Action’s EV charging station is located at its 8 N Plains office and is free to the public on a daily basis from 7am – 7pm. The charging station is a level 2 Chargepoint station and users will need to download the Chargepoint app and create an account to use. This charging station aids the Appalachian Ohio region in the transition to electric vehicles by adding to the EV charging network that needs to be created for this transition to happen.
Thanks to a Rapid Response Grant award from Central Appalachian Network (CAN), Rural Action is launching EVFLO in October 2022. This 3-month EV-focused learning opportunity is for CAN Clean Energy Working Group members and affiliates to gain skills and share insights into Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption and the equitable deployment of EV charging stations (EVSE) across the central Appalachian region.
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.
The US Department of Transportation Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Program created a Rural EV Toolkit as a one-stop resource to help rural communities scope, plan, and fund EV charging infrastructure.
Drive Electric Southeast Ohio is this region’s chapter of Drive Electric Ohio, a Clean Fuels Ohio initiative dedicated to advancing the adoption of electric vehicles in our state. You can follow all of the social accounts for the latest in EV events and news throughout our region and the state.
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.