Press Releases

 

Entries in Lobbyists (189)

Friday
Apr242015

SEIA - Solar Industry Makes Commitment to Employ 50,000 Veterans by 2020 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - As part of Joining Forces, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to rally support for U.S. service members, veterans and their families, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today committed to having 50,000 veterans working in solar by 2020. The First Lady shared the news at an event this afternoon in Manassas, Virginia, which was part of a commitment made by several high-growth sectors of the U.S. economy, including solar. Among those attending the event were SEIA Board Chairman Nat Kreamer, who also serves as president and CEO of Clean Power Finance.

“As an industry, we are completely committed to hiring more veterans,” said Kreamer, who is a veteran himself, having served in the Special Forces in Afghanistan where he was awarded the Bronze Star. “Today, America’s solar energy companies already employ twice as many veterans as the average U.S. business. We hire veterans because they come trained, ready and passionate. The solar industry is filled with people who are motivated to build our economy, improve our environment and strengthen our national security.”

As examples of veterans working to build a stronger solar industry in America, Kreamer pointed to Colonel Thom Besch (Ret.) and Captain Michael Baskin (Ret.). Former Army Captain Baskin is working with military bases across the nation to certify service members under guidelines established by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This rigorous program is considered the “gold standard” for PV and solar heating installation certification.

Earlier this year, the first classes of NABCEP-certified veterans graduated and started jobs in solar. Colonel Besch is one of those putting veterans to work in solar. He retired from the U.S. Army, after serving for 30 years, and took a job leading solar installations for a New England solar integrator. After a few years, he started his own company – Veteran Solar Systems (“Still Serving: Country, Community, and You”) – where he sells and installs distributed solar systems in upstate New York.

“We salute the efforts of Colonel Besch, Captain Baskin and many others like them,” Kreamer continued. “Solar, like the military, is not just about the paycheck; it is also about working for something larger than oneself.”

Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, with more than 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity – enough to power more than 4 million homes – and those numbers are expected to double by the end of 2016.

“We’re very excited about bringing more and more veterans into our ranks, and applaud the efforts of First Lady Obama, Dr. Biden and Joining Forces,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.  “Today, solar employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – including veterans from all branches of the U.S. military – making solar one of the fastest-growing industries in America.  This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).  By any measurement, these policies are paying dividends for our economy – and our military veterans.”

 


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Wednesday
Apr222015

SEIA - Solar Industry Supports Needed Changes to U.S. Electric Grid 

WASHINGTON, DC - The first-ever “Quadrennial Energy Review” was released today by the Obama administration, calling for “significant change” to America’s aging energy infrastructure, including long overdue upgrades to the U.S. electric grid. In response, Ken Johnson, vice president of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement:

 

“We agree with the findings of the Quadrennial Energy Review that a top priority should be placed on modernizing America’s electric grid to better accommodate renewable energy sources and the growth of distributed generation, such as rooftop solar. Today’s grid is ancient, aging ungracefully and facing enormous challenges in the future – from meeting America’s day-to-day electricity needs to national security threats. For renewables in particular, the grid doesn't exist in many places which offer the best solar resources -- or what infrastructure does exist is already committed to other generation sources. Simply put, new or upgraded transmission capabilities will help to move power from where it's generated to where people need it the most. Without question, dramatic changes to the grid are needed in the years ahead, and we applaud President Obama and DOE Secretary Moniz for making this important issue a national call-to-action.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Saturday
Apr042015

SEIA Hails Energy Department Initiative to Train Solar Workers 

WASHINGTON, DC - In a decision that’s certain to help to speed up America’s transition to a clean energy future, President Obama announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) will launch a new initiative to train 75,000 Americans – including military veterans – to enter the solar workforce by 2020. The President made the announcement at Hill Air Force Base in Utah as part of a roundtable discussion on clean energy technology and workforce training with Sen. Orin Hatch, Congressman Rob Bishop and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

“This new initiative will provide a big boost to the U.S. economy, while also helping to maintain solar energy’s explosive jobs growth,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “With stable public policies in place, we will not only meet the President’s goal of adding 75,000 new solar jobs in America by 2020, but we will blow past it. Today, the solar industry already employs 174,000 workers nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy. This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both our economy and environment.”

According to The Solar Foundation’s 2014 National Jobs Census, the solar industry in America is becoming increasingly diverse, with minorities, women and veterans representing a growing percentage of the workforce. Over the past five years alone, the industry has added more than 80,000 new employees – an increase of 86 percent.

Also, as part of today’s announcement, the White House will work to make G.I. Bill funding available to support solar workforce training. Dating back to 1944, the G.I. Bill has been widely hailed by historians as one of America’s most successful economic and political programs.

“With approximately 200,000 U.S. servicemen and women leaving the military each year, much more needs to be done to help them find civilian jobs and meaningful workforce training,” Resch said.  “As an industry, we are uniquely positioned to help. Record-breaking growth in solar energy installations nationwide requires a growing and skilled solar workforce. We applaud the President and his administration for undertaking this new initiative, and we’re prepared, and excited, to do our part to help. We look forward to more and more of our military veterans becoming solar veterans, too.”

The White House’s new workforce training initiative closely tracks U.S. public opinion. A new Gallup Poll shows that 91 percent of Americans want to see more emphasis, or the same emphasis as today, on producing solar energy. Compared to oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and other renewables, solar was the only energy source to show an increase in public favorability when compared to results of a similar nationwide poll taken by Gallup in 2013. 

Today, there are 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity in the U.S. – enough to power more than 4 million homes – with another 20 GW projected to come online by the end of 2016. What’s spurring this rapid growth? For one thing, solar energy is now more affordable than ever. According to SEIA/GTM Research, national blended average system prices have dropped 53 percent since 2010. 

Resch said the industry is also helping to fight climate change. Last year, solar helped to offset 22.3 million metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, the equivalent of removing 4.7 million cars off America’s highways and roads, or not burning 2.5 billion gallons of gasoline.

“Every 2.5 minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is helping to fight climate change by flipping the switch on another completed solar project,” Resch added. “We’re proud that solar accounted for one-third of all new electric generation capacity last year in the United States. And, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our enormous potential.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Friday
Apr032015

SEIA - Vermont Posts Significant Gains in Solar Capacity in 2014 

Vermont Posts Significant Gains in Solar Capacity in 2014

April 2, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC - Showing strong growth in all market sectors, Vermont more than doubled its amount of installed solar capacity in 2014, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review.  What’s more, Vermont was one of only four states nationwide to have 100 percent of its new electrical capacity come from solar energy.

In 2014, Vermont added 38 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 70 MW.  That’s enough clean, affordable energy to power nearly 7,500 homes. The report went on to point out that Vermont’s biggest solar gains came in utility-scale installations, but commercial and residential installations showed strong increases, as well. Of the new capacity added, 27 MW were utility scale, 6 MW were residential and 4 MW were commercial. Together, these installations represented a $76 million investment across Vermont – a 63 percent increase over the year before.

“Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont’s legislative leaders should be applauded for their ongoing commitment to the state’s clean energy future,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “As evidenced by this report, their efforts are paying big dividends for the state’s economy and environment. During Gov. Shumlin’s administration, solar prices in Vermont have dropped by more than 60 percent, while his latest plan, an ambitious Energy Innovation Program, is likely to serve as a model for other states to follow.  We congratulate Gov. Shumlin for laying out an agenda for a clean energy economy which focuses on jobs, affordability, renewable energy and quality of life for all Vermonters.”

Today, there are more than 70 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Vermont, employing 1,000 people. Notable Vermont solar projects include:

  • PSEG Essex Solar Energy Center was completed in 2014 by developer Juwi Solar Inc. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 3.9 MW of electricity-- enough to power more than 700 Vermont homes.
  • At 3 MW, SunGen1 in Sharon is among the largest solar installations in Vermont. Completed by Talmage Solar Engineering, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 500 homes.

In addition to a growing commercial sector, the Vermont residential market also showed gains last year, with installed system prices dropping by 8 percent – and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar.  Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.

“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and Vermont economies, as well as for our environment.”


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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
Thursday
Apr022015

NH Sustainable Energy Association - Statement on Passage of HB 2 raiding dedicated funds 

Statement of Kate Epsen

Executive Director, New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association and

NH CleanTech Council

On NH House of Representatives Vote Today to Raid

$51 Million from NH’s Renewable Energy Fund

 

Today’s 219-161 vote in favor of the amended HB 2 to raid $51 million, along with a second amendment (210-170) to take another $1.3 million from New Hampshire’s dedicated renewable energy fund is abhorrent, short-sighted and will hurt thousands of towns, businesses and citizens across the state. This raid, and others, will go on record as one of the largest takings in state history. This is not a budget our elected officials can be proud of, nor is it likely in accordance with our state constitution.

 

This raid on the dedicated renewable energy fund will have devastating effects on our economy, threatening thousands of jobs and depriving towns and businesses much-needed assistance to lower their energy costs, lower local property taxes, and keep our energy dollars here in NH’s economy. 

 

House leadership has turned its back on its own public pledge to create a sensible budget for NH without raiding dedicated funds, using accounting gimmicks, or by raising new taxes.  Raiding the dedicated renewable energy fund will strip ratepayer funds intended for cost-saving and job-creating energy projects, thereby creating a hidden energy tax.

 

This move will hike everyone’s future energy bills and deprive NH of hundreds of millions of private capital dollars that are leveraged into our state because of this successful fund.  This action is a serious mistake that we trust the Senate will correct by honoring their on-record commitment "to protect the integrity of dedicated funds such as the Renewable Energy Fund as we begin to craft New Hampshire's next two-year budget. (Union Leader 1/1/2015)"  


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