On Tuesday this week, I officially began my term as Board Chair for the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). Established in 1974, SEIA represents the entire solar industry in the U.S. with over 1000 members that span manufacturing, installation, development, finance, service providers, and suppliers. As the voice of the solar industry, SEIA's goal is to make solar a mainstream energy source by expanding markets, removing barriers, and educating the public.
With over 10 years in solar, I felt my time had come to give back to the industry. I've built successful businesses in a range of solar markets--rooftop solar sales and installation, solar technology development, project finance, and utility scale project development--in California, Arizona, New Jersey, Ontario, Germany, Spain, and Australia. During that time, I've advocated for federal and state policies including the ITC, 1603 Grant Program, CA RPS, CA RAM, and Net Metering.
Bottom line, through my business and advocacy activities I have gained a breadth of experience across the industry that I hope will serve SEIA’s membership well. And the success I've had affords me the platform and time to address broader industry issues.
The industry is in need of strong leadership in the years ahead. Despite a decade of tremendous cost breakthroughs and the continued support of the majority of Americans, solar is under attack in the current election cycle. Meanwhile the industry is going through some difficult growing pains as we wrestle with the transition to grid parity in an environment of financial crisis and economic malaise.
Hidden in these challenges are the seeds of opportunity. Continued cost reductions will make solar an ever more competitive source of clean power, thereby stoking demand and stimulating the next era of growth. Through SEIA, the industry has to promote a compelling vision to policymakers and the public of a future in which solar plays a large role in making our grid more clean, secure, robust, and affordable.
We have a strong team at SEIA. I spent the day with them yesterday going over plans and getting their input. I hope to solidify our base and focus the support of our members to help them succeed in their mission. The industry and, more importantly, the health of our planet depend on it.