NIRPC Partners with National Association of Regional Councils to Bolster Regional Adoption of Solar Energy

U.S. Department of Energy Funds Regional Councils to Improve Solar Processes

nirpcThe Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is partnering with the National Association of Regional Councils, the Mid-America Regional Council, Meister Consultants Group, the Council of State Governments, and eight regional councils on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge II project.

Through this award, NIRPC will work to implement best management practices, training materials, and additional proven implementation strategies for solar energy in Northwest Indiana. Together, with support from our local governments and our local alternative energy experts South Shore Clean Cities, NIRPC will achieve more streamlined and standardized solar practices, resulting in measurable improvement in Northwest Indiana’s solar market conditions.

“NIRPC is pleased to be awarded U.S. Department of Energy funding to help advance the use of solar energy. NIRPC’s assistance will enable residents and businesses throughout Northwest Indiana to reduce energy costs, realize economic development, and retain jobs to keep our region viable,” said Dave Shafer, Munster Clerk-Treasurer, NIRPC Commissioner and Immediate Past President of NARC. According to Kathy Luther, Director of Environmental Programs at NIRPC, “Pursuing a diversity of alternative energy sources for our region is an important part of realizing the sustainability and air quality goals of the 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan.”

The Rooftop Solar Challenge II will demonstrate the ability of regional councils to produce positive change; facilitate national discussions among strategic state government representatives; determine public preference toward solar technology; and gauge public perception of potential market barriers. The final results of the project will yield a reduction in solar market barriers, fewer soft costs, and a more streamlined and standardized process for multiple solar energy implementation options. Ultimately, this project will provide new solar market access for ten million people across the U.S. NARC will provide updates and publish information about the project on its website at

“NARC is very excited to work with Northwestern Indiana on the Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge II project. Through this project, regions are working together to make solar a more affordable, convenient and attractive energy source for their residents and businesses. With the support of local officials, regional innovators and other stakeholders, regions will be able to learn from each other and adopt solar processes that prove most efficient.” – The Honorable Penelope A. Gross, President, NARC and Supervisor, Fairfax County, VA.

NIRPC is a regional council of local governments serving the three counties of Northwest Indiana. The Northwest Indiana region is an integral part of the greater Chicago metropolitan area. NIRPC provides a forum that enables the residents of Northwest Indiana to address regional issues relating to transportation, the environment and community and economic development. NIRPC is the voice of regionalism in Northwestern Indiana, and a developer of consensus-backed solutions.

Project Links:

 DOE press release:
 Interactive map of RSC II teams and pop impact:
 Rooftop Solar Challenge website: