Richard Lawrence is a Program Director at The Solar Foundation. In this role, he leads the National Solar Jobs Accelerator, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy that connects military veterans and transitioning service members with training, certifications, apprenticeships, and jobs in the solar industry. He also supports the SolSmart program, which helps municipalities and counties open up solar markets; and the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP) project, an industry initiative to streamline the permitting and inspection process for photovoltaic installations. Additionally, Richard co-chairs the Solar Energy Industries Association’s Quality Assurance Working Group, which creates best practices for the finance and installation of PV systems. Mr. Lawrence earned a B.S. degree in science education from Florida State University, and a M.S. degree in environmental education from Lesley University through the Audubon Expedition Institute, where he spent semesters studying in Alberta, the Sonoran Desert, Maine, and Cape Cod. Since 2002, he has focused his career on renewable energy education, training, workforce development, credentialing, advocacy, and quality assurance. He has worked for several nonprofit and academic institutions including Self-Reliance, Clean Power Now, Cape Cod Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) in positions ranging from Adjunct Instructor to Executive Director. Richard lives in upstate New York in a house whose solar system did cover 100% of his family’s annual electrical load prior to their purchase of two plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Richard Says: “I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors as an adventurous kid and very active Boy Scout. When it came time to go to college, I knew I wanted to work in a field where I would be helping to protect nature and the environment. Three summers as a camp counsellor planted the seed for pursuing degrees in science and environmental education. While in graduate school I recognized that energy was connected in some way to nearly every environmental, social, economic, and geopolitical issue we studied, and most particularly to the biggest issue the world is facing today — climate change. I was also drawn to the ability for renewable energy to cross political divides, and for it to be applied at the largest and smallest scales. It is something that can, and is, being embraced by the world’s largest companies, investment banks, and militaries — and the smallest, most remote, and disadvantaged communities. I’m excited to be working with similarly minded and passionate individuals at The Solar Foundation on such impactful projects and initiatives.”