Clean Energy to Communities Program: Peer-Learning Cohorts

Clean Energy to Communities (C2C) offers peer-learning cohorts to advance local clean energy goals. Cohorts are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed by NREL with support from the World Resources Institute.

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Electric vehicle charging in parking spot

What are C2C Peer-Learning Cohorts?

Peer-learning cohorts are multicommunity engagements that convene regularly for approximately 6 months to exchange strategies and best practices, learn in a collaborative environment, and workshop policy or program proposals, action plans, or strategies to overcome challenges around a common clean energy transition topic.

Lab experts provide a cohort of up to 15 communities with education, case studies, analysis and modeling tools, templates, trainings, and facilitated collaboration to enable accelerated clean energy progress.

Upcoming Peer-Learning Cohort Topics

The application deadline has passed for the next cycle of peer-learning cohorts, which runs from July–December 2024. The next application period will open in the fall of 2024.

Download a PDF with the application questions for the agrivoltaics cohort.

Topic Description

This cohort will support community-based organizations, local nonprofit organizations, and tribal governments in navigating the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing successful agrivoltaics projects. Participants will be able to identify and refine their project goals; evaluate suitable technology options; discuss zoning, licensing, land use, and ownership considerations; explore funding and financing approaches; and learn about market and policy considerations that may affect project viability, scale, and economics.
Participants will develop strategies to establish or strengthen partnerships with local utilities, rural development agencies, and university agricultural extensions to unlock implementation pathways and increase impact. Participants will also examine opportunities to partner with organizations that could assist in education, outreach, training, research, or other community-supporting activities through the agrivoltaics installation. Cohort members will work with peers and facilitators to develop strategies to overcome their unique implementation challenges. The strategies documented during this cohort will be shared externally to improve implementation pathways for other agricultural practitioners across the United States.

Target Participants

Target participants are community-based organizations, tribes, and local nonprofit organizations with a focus on agrivoltaics, food security, urban food deserts, and/or clean energy. Representatives of municipal utilities, local governments, universities, or private landowners with an interest in understanding and supporting agrivoltaics projects could join the cohort as a partner to a participating community-based organization, local non-profit, or tribes.

Eligible Organization Types

  • Community-based organizations *
  • Local nonprofit organizations *
  • Tribes, including Alaska Native Villages, Alaska Native Corporations, and state recognized tribes. *

* Local governments, utilities, private landowners, or universities may also be eligible to participate as partners to the organization types above.

Expected Outcomes

This cohort will support participants in moving toward implementation of successful agrivoltaics projects through an energy equity and justice lens. Participants will be encouraged to identify their own near-term goals for cohort participation prior to kickoff, and to refine those goals throughout the process. Using cohort content, discussion, and supporting activities, participants will work to tackle those goals throughout the cohort series. Example outcomes may include creating an individual project success roadmap, developing a detailed understanding of local energy markets and local and state regulations, identifying the best-suited technology for a certain situation, building new connections to local partners to enhance project implementation, or another priority goal.


Download a PDF with the application questions for the energy efficiency programs cohort.

Topic Description

This C2C peer-learning cohort will convene public and non-profit practitioners seeking to improve the uptake of public-facing residential energy efficiency programs. Cohort education and peer-learning will highlight best practices from successful residential energy efficiency programs and practical approaches to advance innovation, including cross-organizational collaboration, shared market outreach, and strategies to take full advantage of available federal funding. The cohort will explore existing funding opportunities and programs such as DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), Home Energy Rebate programs, and Inflation Reduction Act tax credits, all of which support greater residential efficiency improvements and equity-driven outcomes.

Cohort participants will develop an understanding of common challenges related to residential energy efficiency program adoption at the local level and discuss strategies for how to increase low- and moderate-income (LMI) community participation, including communication and outreach strategies that incorporate workforce, equity, adoption, and economic opportunity messaging.

Target Participants

Target participants include program managers or staff from local and regional governments and municipal utilities that are planning, designing, reimagining, or scaling up a residential energy efficiency program or pilot. Community-based organizations or community action agencies that are involved with energy efficiency programs may also be well-suited for this cohort, especially in collaboration with a public entity or utility applicant.

Eligible Organization Types

  • Local government entities
  • County and regional government entities
  • Municipal and cooperative utilities
  • Community-based organizations.

Expected Outcomes

Outcomes will center on the development, expansion, or reevaluation of programs to increase the uptake of residential energy efficiency activities. This may include identifying strategies to support energy efficiency providers to effectively engage in LMI communities with trusted local partners, enhancing local influence in state level decision-making, increasing understanding of available funding opportunities including how funds are eligible to be combined for greater impact and investment at the local level, and increasing collaboration between local governments, state decision makers, WAP network providers, non-profit entities, community-based organizations, and local champions supporting residential energy efficiency programs.

Download a PDF with the application questions for the municipal fleet electrification cohort.

Topic Description

This cohort will support municipal fleets, municipal and cooperative utility fleets, and other public entity fleets in their transition to zero-emissions light- and medium-duty vehicles. Participants will learn how to identify and work with key project partners, including internal staff and utility representatives; prioritize vehicles for replacement; evaluate charging infrastructure needs; choose sites and install infrastructure; and procure and contract for necessary equipment and services. The cohort will also discuss workforce development needs and best practices for preparing and training their teams to drive, manage, and maintain the new fleet vehicles. The cohort will be especially helpful for entities with a fleet electrification mandate or goal that are in early-to-mid stages of electric vehicle and charging infrastructure procurement, and need support to reach a more coordinated next stage in their electrification journey.

Note: Clean Cities and Communities coalitions will partner with cohort participants to translate cohort learnings to their local contexts and support participants in developing strategies for their own fleet electrification. Applicants can bring a Clean Cities coalition partner to the application process if they have an existing relationship. Successful applicants that do not bring a Clean Cities and Communities coalition to the application process will be matched with a coalition after participants are announced.

Target Participants

Target participants include light- and medium-duty fleet managers for municipalities, regional governments, municipal and cooperative utilities, and other local public entities that are in the early-to-mid stages of fleet electrification (e.g., they may have procured some vehicles and/or infrastructure but do not have a clear coordinated path to the next stage of fleet electrification). Other key stakeholders for fleet electrification, such as energy and facilities managers and sustainability coordinators can apply, but should confirm that their fleet managers will participate alongside them and should list those fleet managers as secondary participants on their applications.

Eligible Organization Types

  • Local government entities *
  • County and regional government entities *
  • Municipal and cooperative utilities *
  • Tribes, including Alaska Native Villages, Alaska Native Corporations, and state recognized tribes. *

*Clean Cities and Communities coalition representatives may serve as applicant partners.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will develop an action plan for light-duty and/or medium-duty fleet electrification with the support of a dedicated Clean Cities and Communities coalition partner. The plan will include short-, medium-, and long-term action steps that the participant’s organization will pursue to electrify their light and medium-duty fleet.


Peer-learning cohorts are intended for participants that have decision-making power or influence in their communities but need access to additional clean energy expertise to inform upcoming opportunities. Eligible primary applicants for cohort topics may include:

  • Tribes, including Alaska Native Villages, Alaska Native Corporations, and state recognized tribes
  • City, town, or county (local) governments
  • Metropolitan planning organizations
  • Regional planning organizations
  • Municipal and cooperative utilities
  • Community-based organizations
  • Other public entities, such as transit agencies, school districts, and housing authorities.

Other Program Support

Learn more about the full C2C program offerings.


If you have questions about C2C Peer-Learning Cohorts, please email C2C.

Sign up for C2C email updates to be notified when program applications open.