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News Release

VLS Energy Clinic Expands Community Solar Focus with $195,000 in Support from USDA, Jane's Trust Foundation

Thursday, February 23, 2017


The Energy Clinic at Vermont Law School continues to expand its community solar work thanks to a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cooperative agreement with a $125,000 award and a $70,000 Jane's Trust Foundation grant. The funding will help cover the technical assistance, training and peer support provided by the clinic to increase community solar investment, particularly solar ownership in distressed rural areas, throughout New England.

"We thank the USDA and Jane's Trust Foundation for investing in initiatives that help communities develop solar projects that leave a lasting green footprint and benefit the local economy," said Professor Kevin B. Jones, founder of the Energy Clinic and director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment at VLS. "The models our faculty and student clinicians are perfecting here in New England can be applied nationally to enhance rural economic development and promote investment in high-poverty areas, while advancing the adoption of renewable energy technologies that mitigate climate change."

The Jane's Trust Foundation grant enables the Energy Clinic to hire a Climate Justice Fellow to practice in the clinic while also pursuing a Master of Laws (LLM) in Energy Law. The fellowship formalizes the clinic's role as a regional resource advancing low-income community energy resource adoption in New England.

"The Climate Justice Fellow will promote efficient, sustainable and affordable energy solutions and assist those New Englanders most vulnerable to the effects of energy poverty," Jones said.

The fellow will provide technical assistance to housing agencies and other service organizations, outreach and public education to low-income communities regarding the environmental and financial benefits of solar and other clean energy technologies, and training and peer support for organizations working toward similar goals.

For more information about the Energy Clinic, including a Guide to Community Solar Ownership and other free resources, visit

The Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School provides accessible resources on contemporary energy law and policy and is modeled on the fundamentals of a successful public policy consulting firm. The IEE distributes scholarly, technical, and practical publications; provides forums and conferences for professional education and issue development; and serves as a center for graduate research on energy issues, with environmental awareness. IEE research associates are selected from students in the energy and environmental programs at Vermont Law School, top-ranked in the nation for environmental law. For more information about the Institute for Energy and the Environment, email or call 802-831-1151.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation's largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a Juris Doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; three Master's Degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, and Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, and Center for Applied Human Rights. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.​