WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) announced it has hired highly accomplished clean energy leader Derek Chernow as its Western Regional Director and seasoned government affairs professional and attorney Carlo Cavallaro as its Midwest Regional Director. Chernow will be charged with expanding access to clean, affordable energy for homeowners and businesses by opening new community solar markets in California, Oregon, Washington and other Western states, while Cavallaro will do the same in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and other Midwest states.
“Derek and Carlo are two of the most veteran government affairs pros and dedicated policy advocates in their regions and we’re extremely excited to have two hires of this caliber advocating to expand community solar,” said CCSA’s CEO Jeff Cramer. “While California is leading the way on many facets of renewable energy, the state and other Western states are playing catch up on advancing community solar to bring more access and bill savings to low- and middle-income customers, increase grid resiliency, and drive economic development. There is also significant pent up customer demand in the Midwest for clean, affordable solar energy. Both hires have unique skill sets to work with state legislatures and policymakers to make their regions leaders in community solar.”
Chernow previously served as Executive Director of the California Alternative Energy & Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), where he led all operations for the California agency charged with financing clean energy projects to spur economic development. Before CAEATFA, he spent many years working in the California State Legislature, including in the CA Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy & Transportation and as a Chief of Staff for multiple members. He also held leadership positions advocating for clean energy and environmental protection with the California Department of Conservation and California Wild Heritage Campaign.
Chernow joins CCSA amid an important legislative push in California. Led by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego), AB 2316 expands clean energy access and utility bill savings for millions of Californians who rent or have low incomes and are not served by existing programs. If passed, the legislation would build the power grid’s resistance to blackouts and avoid ratepayer costs, establishing one of the most equitable and innovative community solar programs in the country. AB 2316 has already passed out of the Assembly as well as the Senate Committees on Energy, Utilities and Communications and Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement. It will be heard in Senate Appropriations later this summer.
Cavallaro previously served as Director of Business Development at Aquify, an Exelon company based in Chicago, Illinois, where he was responsible for government affairs and opening new markets across the nation. Before Aquify, Cavallaro served as External Affairs Manager at ComEd, handling government and regulatory affairs throughout the Midwest. He has also been Director of Government Affairs & Senior Legal Counsel to recycling innovator USAgain and Director of Government Affairs at multinational telecommunications giant Comcast.
Cavallaro also joins CCSA with active community solar bills in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Community solar bills are currently active in all three states. Republican-sponsored House Bills 4715 and 4716 in Michigan, House Bill 450 in Ohio, and Senate Bill 490 in Wisconsin would unlock competitive markets to expand clean energy access and utility bill savings for millions of Midwest state residents.
Community solar—which is the fastest-growing segment within the solar industry—refers to local solar facilities shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy generation regardless of the physical attributes or ownership of their home or business. Community solar expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers, all while building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.
The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national coalition of businesses and nonprofits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.