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Sustainable Energy Sources

Choices made by towns and villages in how they use energy - and where that energy comes from - can have a significant cumulative impact that can help shape energy markets.

Municipal buildings, parking garages and storage depots with large roofs may be ideal candidates for solar installations that can provide electricity and hot water. New financing tools can allow towns and cities to benefit from sustainable energy systems with little or no capital investment.

Solar Panel Field on parking lot, Virginia Tech

Solar array on the parking facility at Virginia Tech, Photo courtesy of Altenergy, Inc. 

Peterborough, NH, residents voted in 2021 to commit their town to a goal of using 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030 and, for all other purposes (primarily transportation and heating and cooling) by 2050. The Peterborough Renewable Energy Project (PREP) is the result.


Rock Port, MO (population 1,263), was the first U.S. city to operate solely on wind energy.

A large solar array atop the old landfill and a wind turbine in the town of Scituate, MA, provides 100% of the town's energy needs. 


The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to moving renewable energy resources into the marketplace. IREC emphasizes education and outreach, stakeholder coordination, technical assistance, workforce development, the adoption and implementation of uniform guidelines and standards, consumer protection and building networks to share experience and information.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory provides detailed information about green power companies, new green products, consumer protection issues, and governmental policies affecting green power markets. The website is operated and maintained by the US Department of Energy.

The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing energy efficiency and the use of solar energy and other sustainable technologies in the US.

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association is the Northeast's leading organization of professionals working in sustainable energy, whole-systems thinking and green technologies.


[1] Dincer, I (2000). Renewable energy and sustainable development: A critical review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 4(2), 157-175.

[2] Bacher, J., & Nolon, J. (2015). Zoning for Solar Energy: Resource Guide (Rep.). New York, NY: Pace University School of Law, 2-28.

[3] New York City Mayors Office of Sustainability (2018) Green Buildings and Efficiency, Financing and Incentives.

[4] Glemarec, Y. (2012). Financing off-grid sustainable energy access for the poor. Energy Policy, 47, 87-93. 

[5] Sarzynski, A., et al. (2012). The impact of State financial incentives on market development of solar technology. Energy Policy, 46, 550-557.

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