The Low-Income Community Solar and Energy Assistance Fellowship offers energy professionals the opportunity to work with state and regional organizations to support the development of the Community Solar Subscription Tool. This tool, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with three pilot regions (District of Columbia, Illinois, New Mexico), aims to make community solar subscriptions that include verified savings and consumer protections more accessible to households participating in government-run low-income support programs, beginning with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The fellowship will enable talented candidates from diverse backgrounds to spend up to two years working at host organizations in participating pilot regions. Fellows receive a stipend, health benefits, and an educational allowance. You can find more information on eligibility and how to apply below.

Fellows will assist community solar and LIHEAP program offices in piloting the tool, which may include: 1) supporting the management and verification of community solar projects included through the tool, 2) supporting LIHEAP administrator education and capacity needs, 3) creating and providing education and outreach to support low-income household enrollment in community solar, and 4) developing a program guidebook and other materials for implementation of the tool beyond the pilot regions.

Applications for the 2023 cohort closed on March 10, 2023. You can submit questions to community.solar@ee.doe.gov. Answers will be posted in the frequently asked questions below.

Application Information

The fellowship is open to professionals in fields relevant to community engagement, communications and education, energy affordability, and clean energy. Fellowship candidates must demonstrate interest and experience in renewable energy, community engagement, data analysis and coding, and state policies and programs. The opportunity is open to candidates with bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees, as well as established professionals with relevant post-degree experience.

Fellows will be placed at one of the following host institutions:

The DC Department of Energy and the Environment is seeking a fellow with expertise in data management and analysis, program evaluation using performance data and indicators, with preference for coding experience in R, Python, or Stata. The Illinois Power Agency and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission are both seeking fellows with experience in stakeholder engagement and community outreach and education.

Fellowship candidates must indicate which host institution they want to be matched with in their applications. Candidates must be willing to relocate to participate in the fellowship. Interested candidates will submit a written application, and DOE and the host institutions will select finalists for interviews. DOE will make the final selections and facilitate the process of matching host institutions and fellows.

Fellows will serve one-year terms and have the option to renew for a second year. Fellows receive a competitive stipend with health benefits and an education and professional development allowance. The Low-Income Community Solar and Energy Assistance Fellowship is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

Please submit any questions to community.solar@ee.doe.gov; answers will be posted below.

Can I work remotely for my host institution?

  • An appointment, in principle, involves a full-time commitment to on-site participation at the host institution throughout the appointment period.
  • Given that many Host Institutions have moved to hybrid work arrangements in the wake of the COVID pandemic, fellow would be expected to follow their Host Institution’s policies for days in the office versus working remotely.
  • Full-time remote participation in the fellowship will be considered on a case-by-case basis only, upon request from the host institution where the fellow was matched.

Can I apply even if I haven’t finished my relevant degree?

  • Any degrees in progress must be completed prior to the start of the fellowship. For this cohort, degrees would need to be completed no later than May 1, 2023.

The application requires a reference. Who should the reference come from?

  • The person providing your reference should be able to speak to your ability to contribute to the program. This may be a professional reference or an academic reference.
  • Note that candidates are asked to provide the name and contact information for their reference person in their application; candidates may submit their application independently of the reference being complete.

What is the time commitment for the fellowship?

  • An appointment involves a full-time commitment during the host institution’s business hours for a period of one year, renewable for a second year.

Does this fellowship program accept applications from non-U.S. citizens?

  • The candidate must be a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) at the time of application. Evidence of this status must be submitted to ORISE at the time an appointment offer is accepted.

Is there an opportunity to extend the fellowship for a second year?

  • Yes. The fellowship appointment is for one year, renewable for a second if all parties agree to continue.

Are relocation costs paid by the program?

  • Fellows may receive up to $5,000 to support relocation costs if they need to relocate for their position.

Learn about other solar energy fellowships and fellowship opportunities in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.