Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities

Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities
Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities
Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities

Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities

The Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) is an HBCU CDAC program dedicated to empowering the economic development of underserved communities by introducing and implementing clean energy solutions. Our focus on renewable energy innovations for HBCU and MSI communities is designed to facilitate energy efficiencies, job creation and business development opportunities for these targeted populations. In addition to the environmental benefits that clean energy solutions bring to these communities, increased economic opportunities specifically in the form of energy savings and job creation contribute to improving the quality of life for the campuses, businesses, and residents in the communities that we serve.


A Renewed Focus on
Community Empowerment


CDAC facilitates public-private engagement opportunities among HBCUs and MSIs and their host communities to engage federal, state, and local governments agencies and organizations to work alongside public and private industry partners to successfully develop and implement construction-related clean energy projects on HBCUs and MSIs campuses.

Community Solar

Millions of low- and moderate-income families face significant challenges in paying energy bills. The HBCU-CEI program reduces energy bills for property owners, increasing comfort and indoor health, while also creating employment opportunities for families that need them the most.


Households in underserved communities face disproportionate barriers to accessing clean energy. Despite several federal and state clean energy assistance programs, there are barriers to accessing these funds. In order to address these barriers, HBCU-CEI has launched a Residential/Community Solar Grant Fund which facilitates access to solar solutions for low income households, along with clean energy job creation and training.

We are especially proud to recognize Asociación de Residentes de La Margarita, Inc., Missoula’s Clean Energy Workforce Coalition, and Team Philly for their outstanding performance and additional awards. Keep up the great work!

Let's continue our efforts towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Celebrating Clean Energy Success: HBCUs and MSIs Come Together for Sustainability

We are thrilled to announce the results of our recent competition where we brought together HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to pitch clean energy projects and raise awareness. The event took place at the Robert W. Woodruff Library in Atlanta University Center, and it was a collegial and productive environment. It’s inspiring to see the dedication and hard work from all the teams who participated.

Congratulations to the winning teams:

  • Weku Inc. (Positive Energy Coalition)
  • Change is in the Air: Gresham Coalition
  • HBCU Community Development Action Coalition (
  • ReBuildATL Coalition
  • Missoula’s Clean Energy Workforce Coalition
  • ROC Community Clean Energy Coalition
  • Dream Entrepreneurs Network
  • Team Philly
  • New Orleans Clean Energy Collective

Leading the Way in Energy Efficiency

Meet the Clean energy initiative

Program Director

Karen is an accomplished Chairperson, CEO, CIO, visionary, and aspiring author. She has over 20 years of experience in renewable energy practices, leadership, strategy, communications, technology, and project management. Karen holds several certificates from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute and was named a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Karen’s background of working within both public and private organizations combined with her in-depth knowledge of clean energy will enable her to significantly increase CEI’s impact for all stakeholders.

Karen Soares

Our Impact


Regional roundtables
in host HBCU cities


HBCU grants


Participating HBCUs

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Partners and Stakeholders

“Expanding the availability of solar energy for Baltimore homeowners – especially in underserved communities – will bring tremendous benefits to our city. In addition to helping homeowners lower their electric bills and reduce Baltimore’s carbon footprint, this program will create opportunities for city residents to get hands-on job training in the solar energy industry.”

U.S. Representative for Maryland's
3rd congressional district

"I was first introduced to the HBCU CEI when I was a student at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. In October 2018, I attended a Roundtable Discussion on the clean energy initiative, where I participated in a panel discussion with students attending JCSU and surrounding HBCUs in North and South Carolina. I was inspired by the mission of the CEI for a number of reasons, including the potential to assist me in securing employment in the clean energy industry."

Student Ambassador

"Florida Memorial University is a socially responsible diverse community of scholars and students poised to disrupt the world for good. For more than 141 years, FMU has contributed to the cultural, intellectual, and economic vitality of South Florida and beyond. We are pleased to partner with the HBCU Clean Energy Initiative to equip our students with the skills to solve 21st century challenges and produce sustainable solutions that create economically vibrant and thriving communities."

President, Florida Memorial University

Clean energy innovation fueling campuses and empowering communities

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