Friday, December 10, 2010
Extending program will drive U.S. solar industry growth and job creation in 2011
WASHINGTON, DC – Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®) and the rest of the solar industry int he US are applauding the Senate's inclusion of a one-year extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 program in their tax bill compromise.
To date, the program has facilitated the construction of more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. At a minimal cost to the tax payer, the 1603 program has supported $18 billion in investment in new renewable energy projects throughout the country and has created tens of thousands of jobs. Plain and simple, this program provides the greatest return on taxpayer dollars. The program has allowed the solar industry to grow by over 100 percent in 2010, create enough new solar capacity to power 200,000 homes and double domestic solar employment to more than 93,000 Americans. This program has created new opportunity for electricians, plumbers, and construction workers during the worst economic climate since the great depression.
Rhone Resch of SEIA: "An extension of the program will keep our U.S. industry growing and help achieve the industry's goal of installing enough new solar energy to power 2 million new homes each year by 2015. None of this would be possible without the tireless leadership of solar's champions on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle. In particular, Senators Cantwell, Feinstein, Ensign and LeMieux stepped up to support American jobs in the renewable energy industry and helped convince the Senate to include this provision in the final bill.
"But this is not over yet. Congress must now move swiftly to pass this compromise bill and keep solar working for America."
The TGP was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) to provide commercial solar installations with a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). President George W. Bush signed the 8-year ITC into law in 2008, but the economic conditions created by the global recession made it clear that few would be able to utilize the tax credit.
So far, the TGP has helped move forward more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. A report on the impact of the extension of the TGP by EuPD Research projected it would create 65,000 new U.S. jobs and 5,100 megawatts of solar capacity – enough to power more than 1 million households.
Background Materials & RESOURCES
SEIA policy overview of Treasury Grant Program: http://seia.org/cs/federal_issues/treasury_grant_program
Fact sheet on TGP and job creation: http://www.seia.org/galleries/FactSheets/Factsheet_TGP.pdf
Summary of solar projects awarded a Treasury Grant: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/TGP_Awards.pdf
EuPD Research "Economic Impact of the Extension of the TGP": http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/EuPD_Research_Solar_Report.pdf
The Solar Foundation National Solar Jobs Census 2010: http://www.thesolarfoundation.org/sites/thesolarfoundation.org/files/Final%20TSF%20National%20Solar%20Jobs%20Census%202010%20Web%20Version.pdf
SEIA and GTM Research US Solar Market InsightTM Executive Summary: http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/SEIA_Q2_2010_EXEC_SUMMARY.pdf
Thursday, December 2, 2010
New Report from The Solar Foundation Shows Pennsylvania Earned Second Place in the Country by Creating 6,700 Solar Jobs
Contact: Maureen Mulligan, Sustainable Futures Communications
On behalf of Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association and Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA/PASEIA), the largest solar trade association in the mid-Atlantic region, I want to thank Penn Environment and its research partners for focusing on documenting solar jobs in the nation and in Pennsylvania in particular. Pennsylvania has seen substantial solar growth since the passage of the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard of 2004. At that time, there were about a dozen solar installers in Pennsylvania, many of whom were working with the Sustainable Development Fund’s PV Grant Program, a small program that incentivized residential solar projects in the Philadelphia area. Now, there are over 700 solar installers approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and many more people working as solar laborers, bookkeepers, cashiers, manufacturing, distributors, researchers, engineers, consultants; and in sales, finance, government relations to name a few.
Solar development in our state is truly a success story. This new report shows Pennsylvania earned second place in the country by creating an estimated 6,700 solar jobs based on their survey results, only behind California. One of the true values of the Solar Foundation and their partners report is that it relied exclusively on actual survey responses by solar employers and was not based on economic and job model projections. Several other studies have been conducted, such as the one done for Pennsylvania by Black & Veatch which showed impressive job growth in our state if our legislature had increased the solar share from 0.5% to 3%; but these jobs are not expected to materialize because the solar legislation did not pass before the session ended.
The Solar Foundation Report demonstrates that the solar industry is growing at a much faster rate than the economy overall. The Report also sought to find out if solar companies expected to add or cut jobs over the next twelve months. Fifty-five percent of surveyed firms expect to add employees while only two percent expect to cut workers over this period. Yet, I’m not at all convinced right now that Pennsylvania will see any solar growth in the next few years without a change in state policy. In fact, I would predict that Pennsylvania could easily be part of the 2% statistic “cutting jobs”. Why? Without a legislative change to the solar share, solar businesses are likely to go to where there are solar friendly policies.
Most of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states, (New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware), now have more aggressive solar requirements than Pennsylvania. We were a leader in the country but we haven’t kept pace and are rapidly falling behind. These neighboring states require an average of 2% of their electricity to come from solar while Pennsylvania is stuck at 0.5%. Without a higher requirement for this coming year and next, there will be virtually no market in Pennsylvania for solar renewable energy credits. The ability to sell these credits drives solar development.
The attached graph illustrates how the solar industry could become a victim of its own success. We have more projects installed and under development than we have buyers for the credits. This graph represents the solar credits - converted to solar PV capacity (MW) - the utilities and electric generation suppliers need to purchase each year compared to the number of projects already installed. Each installed project creates solar credits. Credits represent about one-half of the revenue stream to make solar projects financially viable. Without a market for the credits, projects can’t be developed. In addition, the state solar rebate program, the PA. Sunshine Program is almost fully subscribed and Commonwealth Financing Authority’s solar grant and loan program is fully subscribed.
With the rebate money almost exhausted, that leaves the solar industry even more reliant on the revenue from the solar renewable energy credits to stay in business. The solar industry in PA. is likely to come to a grinding halt if the legislature doesn’t act to increase the solar requirement very soon.
The state of solar development in Pennsylvania is in serious jeopardy unless action is taken when the legislature returns. It will be up to Governor Corbett and the new legislature to answer the question as to whether Pennsylvania will be part of the continued growth of the solar industry or will fall victim to failed policy.
Sustainable Futures Communications on behalf of MSEIA/PASEIA
Monday, September 27, 2010
We need calls TODAY!
To increase PA's solar share to 1.5% (from .5%) with an ammendment to HB1128, please call your Senators TODAY and ask them to SUPPORT THE HB1128 SOLAR AMMENDMENT WITH THE 1% FREEZE LANGUAGE.
Members please visit www.mseia.net for targeted calls.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Solar Share of Generation Market Increases 350 Percent -
As Installations Increase, Generation Costs Continue to Decrease
HARRISBURG -- Sustained growth and declining costs are driving Pennsylvania's solar market to generate an ever-increasing amount of clean, renewable energy, which is saving consumers money, according to Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger.
The secretary said that in 2009, the share of solar energy generation among Pennsylvania's power pool increased by 350 percent, attracting $1.4 billion into state’s economy last year alone. “The cost of solar power is plummeting, making solar power increasingly a sound alternative for businesses and families that seek to stabilize and control their electricity costs,” said Hanger. “Right now, thanks to sharply lower solar power prices, it is a great time to consider solar power for a home or business.”
The median installed costs for small business and residential photovoltaic (PV) projects in the state dropped from about $9 per watt in 2008 to as low as $6 per watt in August; the lowest-cost projects are as much as $1 per watt less than this most recent figure. Large solar projects of one megawatt or more now cost about $4.50 per watt. The lower costs can be attributed in part to the PA Sunshine Solar Rebate Program, which reimburses up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs for residential and small business PV and solar hot water systems.
Since the program’s opening in May 2009, more than 2,000 projects have been installed, representing nearly 20 megawatts of new capacity. An additional 2,300 projects, representing 53 megawatts of capacity, have been applied for or are under construction.“Since energy from the sun is free, lower equipment costs lead to lower electricity costs,” said Hanger. “The cost of electricity from the latest generation of projects in Pennsylvania is between 12 to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, and that price is locked in for the 25-year life of the panels.
“Today the cost of electricity from a utility company to a small business or home ranges between 10 and 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. But how much will electricity cost two years from now? How about five, 10 or 25 years from now? For families and businesses using solar power, they know their electricity will not be more than what they are paying for solar today. For those businesses and families not using solar, most likely prices for electricity will go up and possibly by a substantial amount.”
Hanger also noted that solar power emits zero air pollution, which cuts soot, smog, mercury and heat-trapping pollution that can sicken and kill Pennsylvanians. In addition, solar power helps to keep the power grid reliable by providing more power on the hottest days of the year when very high demand can cause brownouts and blackouts.
For more information, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/ <http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/> , or call DEP’s Office of Energy Technology and Deployment at 717-783-8411. http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=14173&typeid=1
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau Room 308
Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 09/14/2010
CONTACT: John Repetz, Department of Environmental Protection
Friday, September 10, 2010
MSEIA members can access attached are talking points, sample letters, lobby day information and other materials in the PA Forum of members section of the MSEIA website. If you are not an MSEIA member and are intersted in participating in the campaign please contact us! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get right back to you.
In addition, if you have not yet made a contribution to the PASEIA Solar Bill Campaign, we encourage you to do so, to support our lobbying budget and make this campaign as effective as possible. Please see the attached fundraising letter. Checks can be made out to MSEIA PA Division and mailed to the PA Office: 80 Pechins Mill Road / Collegeville, PA / 19426.
Please call your senators to let them know how important a yes vote on HB1128 is for solar's future in PA! Jobs and reduced energy costs depend on it!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
(a PDF version of this article is available here: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20100825_Let_sunshine_into_Pa__power_goals.html)
The solar-energy industry is growing rapidly and creating thousands of jobs
nationwide. But Pennsylvania is falling farther behind in the race for these
green jobs. When it comes to producing clean electricity from the sun, other
states are leaping ahead of the commonwealth.
Pennsylvania requires that only 0.5 percent of the electricity we use will
come from the sun as of 2021. By comparison, New Jersey will require that 4
percent of its electricity come from solar generation by 2021, Delaware has
set a target of 3.5 percent by 2025, and Maryland's standard is 2 percent by
2022. Even Illinois, a ranking coal producer, has a goal of 1.5 percent by
What does that mean for the Keystone State? It means we are less likely to
attract a major solar-related economic-development project - or to keep the
more than 600 solar businesses we already have, which offer jobs in
research, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.
If we want to keep those businesses and the jobs they support, we must
create a business environment that helps them expand and attracts companies
that are looking to relocate.
That's why we must increase solar-energy share in the state's alternative
energy portfolio standards. Passed by the legislature in 2004, the standards
jump-started a green revolution that has made Pennsylvania one of the
leading states in renewable-energy development. Twenty-five thousand
Pennsylvanians are working in renewable-energy jobs, while the state's
consumers and businesses have invested at least $600 million in solar-energy
House Bill 2405 would wisely increase Pennsylvania's solar requirement to 3
percent, but support for the bill has been hard to come by in the
legislature. Even so, a more modest increase would still be worthwhile. A
1.5 percent target, for example, would triple our existing requirement and
make Pennsylvania more competitive in the sector.
There are billions of dollars being invested in the solar-energy industry.
Despite the global recession, the American solar industry grew substantially
in 2009, with revenues increasing by 36 percent and generating capacity by
37 percent over the previous year. What's more, the investment community is
bullish when it comes to solar; venture capitalists, sensing its incredible
growth potential, invested $1.4 billion in the industry last year.
Besides putting Pennsylvania in a position to capitalize on this growth,
increasing the state's solar-energy requirement would help consumers control
their electricity bills. The cost of solar energy has dropped by half from
the levels of just a few years ago. In fact, solar energy now costs less
than electricity from new nuclear power plants, according to a recent Duke
When the owner of a business or home installs a solar system, he or she can
count on benefiting from the power it provides at a stable price over the
lifetime of the panels, or up to 25 years. That lessens the volatility of
energy prices and lowers electricity costs, offsetting the costs of solar
Next month, when the legislature returns to Harrisburg, we will have a final
opportunity this year to ensure a robust market for solar-energy development
in Pennsylvania. We may not be able to achieve a 3 percent requirement, but
there is widespread support for a 1.5 percent target. Even that would go a
long way toward making Pennsylvania more competitive with its neighbors,
attracting companies and jobs rather than losing them to states where the
sun shines brighter.
Edward G. Rendell is the governor of Pennsylvania.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Please visit the members area of the MSEIA website or email email@example.com to get copies of the following documents:
1. Notes from a steering committee call re: Strategy and Background for the Solar Bill.
2. MOST IMPORTANTLY: A FUNDRAISING LETTER which we need to start getting out to all of our contacts ASAP, in order to mobilize the $25,000 required to finance our efforts to pass the bill. Contact your suppliers, distributors, partners, and fellow members, encouraging them to contribute to ensuring PA’s solar future. Please let us know who is willing and interested in taking an active role in supporting this initiative, and hope that all of you will consider supporting it financially as well.
IF YOU HAVE NOT RENEWED YOUR MEMBERSHIP FOR 2010, PLEASE DO SO AT THIS CRITICAL TIME! A membership application can be found at www.mseia.net, and if you have contacts that are considering joining, please urge them to do so NOW to support this initiative. Membership is critical to PASEIA being able to support this policy work and lobbying.
In addition to fundraising, please let us know if you will be willing to join a lobby day(s) in Harrisburg and make calls to your representatives, representatives in whose districts you have projects and customers (particularly in the SEast – Chester, Bucks and Delaware counties) and local media and Chambers of Commerce. All of these avenues are important to getting the bill passed, please keep us posted.
Interim Steering Committee
PA Solar Energy Industries Association (PASEIA)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Note: this is also available for members in PDF format in the PA Members Section of the Website under "Announcements" : http://www.mseia.net/MEMBERS/
Given by Maureen Mulligan-PASEIA Lobbyist, Sustainable Futures Communications
July 28, 2010
Thank you Chairman Sturla and the Majority Policy Committee for your interest in alternative energy and solar energy in particular. My name is Maureen Mulligan and my energy consulting business is Sustainable Futures Communications. I have represented the two major solar trade associations: Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association, a division of Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Alliance since 2003, shortly before the original Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) became law in 2004. Thank you for advancing solar energy and other renewable energies in our state through your legislative efforts over the last several years. Between the two organizations, I represent more than 60 solar businesses, many of whom are currently operating in Pennsylvania, while others are awaiting the outcome of House bill #2405 or similar legislation before entering the Pennsylvania market.
First, I would like to briefly review some of the benefits of solar energy:
· Solar deployment can help avoid costly transmission line upgrades and help alleviate grid congestion.
· Solar helps break our reliance of foreign energy sources coming from unstable countries unfriendly to the US. In addition, centralized power plants are more vulnerable to security breaches and can be targets of terrorists.
- Solar is a clean, reliable locally sourced energy and creates more jobs per megawatt than any traditional form of energy. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have enough sunlight to benefit from solar development. Germany, the world leader has less solar insolation than anywhere in our state.
· Solar serves as a hedge against increasing fossil fuels prices and volatility in the market. Costs for coal and oil as rising as more fossil fuels are exported to China and India.
· Solar development is a new source of tax revenue for the state.
· Since solar is almost perfectly coincident with peak energy demand in our region and has zero fuel costs, it can force downward pressure on wholesales and ultimately retail rates, which result in savings to consumers. Electricity prices are most expensive during peak usage periods such as on the hot, sunny, days like the ones we’ve being having this summer. This is exactly when solar is most efficient and operating at peak performance.
The rest of my testimony will address two legislative efforts that will help continue the incredible growth in solar, and help retain our state’s leadership role in advancing solar energy. At the time of passage of Act #213, (AEPS) there was only one other state with a separate solar share in their portfolio standard. Solar businesses started looking to invest in Pennsylvania but at that time we lacked incentives and the requirement for utilities and electricity generation suppliers to purchase solar renewable energy credits did not take effect until after the utility rate caps expire. Now, of the 29 states plus the District of Columbia with portfolio standards, 16 of those states + DC have solar shares. Half of those 16 states solar shares are now larger than Pennsylvania’s. In a few short years, we have fallen behind and so will solar business investment in Pennsylvania. (NJ, DE, MD, IL, CO, NM, AZ and NV have more robust solar shares). Delaware’s Governor Merkell is signing another pro-solar, pro renewable energy bill today that will advance Delaware even further ahead of Pennsylvania.
Before Act #1 passed in 2008 which provided $180 million for solar; there were fewer than 20 solar installers in Pennsylvania, most of who did not work at it full time. In just as little over a year, Pennsylvania attracted over 600 solar businesses and individuals qualified to install solar photovoltaics and solar thermal energy. Technological advances, investment by the industry and federal government in research and development, increased efficiencies in assembly production and manufacturing, and a more skilled workforce are bringing solar costs down but, the solar marketplace is young and there are challenges despite advances.
So where are we with solar in Pennsylvania? Act #1 of 2008, which provided $100 million dollars for the development of residential and small business solar grants run by DEP, is almost fully subscribed, as is the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s $80 million for large scale solar projects. At CFA’s July meeting, the last of the program dollars for grants and loans were approved. Both of these programs have been well-run and enormously successful at advancing solar energy in our state. It was hard to imagine in 2004 when the AEPS passed, that the demand for solar would be as high as its’ been. Even in today’s economic climate, solar is growing and so are the associated jobs. Along with solar development comes well-paid, local jobs in diverse fields such as engineering, sales, finance, construction, to name a few, and these jobs are not unlikely to be outsourced. In addition, DOE recently announced Pennsylvania won a $2 million dollar grant over three years to develop a multi-state solar training center through Penn State University and the Philadelphia Naval yard designed to train the next solar workforce for New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It would be a shame if Pennsylvania loses our newly trained workforce because we have fallen behind neighboring states.
The solar industry is not seeking additional grant and loan money from the state. We are well aware of the budget constraints facing Pennsylvania and other states. The industry is seeking legislative relief in the form of good policy to further transition from a rebate/grant dependent resource to a market driven one. There is an urgent need to enact policies such as those in HB #2405. These policies include: redesigning the solar requirement to develop more solar now while there are dedicated incentives to complete already approved projects; extend the solar share out into the future to remain competitive with surrounding states; support long term contract language; set a firm alternative compliance payment, and advance lower cost solar thermal energy. I will talk about each of these issues briefly.
Without long term contracts, costs for the exact same solar installation will be higher because investors will demand more security, if they are even willing to finance projects. The RECs market lacks liquidity. Banks question whether the solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) market has “staying power” making financing difficult. SRECS account for almost two-thirds of the revenue stream for most large scale solar projects so long term contracts are essential to solar financing. If projects aren’t built because of the lack of long term contract availability, the result could be high compliance payments and no real benefit to Pennsylvania. Contract procurement has historically been limited to short term; around three years. Solar requires ten year or longer attracting both project financing and customers.
Along with long term contracts, there needs to be a change in how the alternative compliance payment is set. Banks and other investment companies are not interested in financing something that is “200 percent of the regional market value”. That’s too nebulous. At a time when capital markets are tight, both customers and banks need to know what revenue they can count on from the sale of the renewable energy credits. Solar businesses often have to pay a premium for capital if they can get financing at all, because the value of the solar renewable energy credits is uncertain. Setting an alternative compliance payment (ACP) and allowing for long term contracts helps with financing and lowers lenders’ risks. The language in HB #2405 fixes that problem and ensures consumers don’t overpay for solar. If these issues aren’t remedied soon, Pennsylvania will be faced with projects that have been approved but unable to be completed. In addition, the requirement now and in the next few years is much lower than the projects already approved for development. HB#2405 would have increased the solar share from 0.5% to 3.0% by 2025. At the time the solar share was determined in 2004, the requirement was set at very modest levels in the early years because there were no incentives driving the market. Today, due to technology and other advancements that lower the cost, the solar industry is able to fill a much higher demand. The chart below illustrates the problem.
In addition to changes to the 2004 AEPS, alternative financing programs such as the Property-assessed clean energy, (PACE) finance mechanisms sweeping the country are an important market development that will make solar, energy efficiency and other small scale renewable energy options more financially assessable to homeowners and commercial businesses. To date, twenty-three states have passed enabling legislation which would allow local government entities to issue bonds for the purpose of financing renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements through local property tax assessments. States and local governments across the country have been moving forward with PACE in order to take advantage of the $100 million dollars in ARRA money that has been secured for PACE development. There has been limited private market development of these loan funds although AFC First Financial has had very successful solar and energy efficiency loan programs. PACE would provide another option for consumers.
The solar industry and the energy efficiency businesses and non-profits that I represent would welcome PACE financing opportunities to Pennsylvania and support Representative Matt Bradford’s House bill #2525. I know much work and effort to engage the business, environmental and other stakeholders has been done by him in order to introduce the best possible bill. HB #2525 is broad enough to allow municipalities to design their own programs yet specific enough to give clear guidance. One suggestion from both of these groups would be to clearly define qualifying renewable energy technologies as well as energy efficiency technologies to avoid a mish-mash of technologies qualifying under the PACE program. This can lead to consumer confusion especially when state and federal programs may already have different qualifying resources.
It is our hope that concerns raised by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac on senior lien position to a mortgage can be quickly resolved so there are more options to fill the growing consumer demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency now that grant money is almost exhausted, at least for solar.
In conclusion, if HB #2405 can not pass the House and Senate this fall, the solar industry strongly suggests a solar only version of the bill that we believe has legislative support, and will help provide the necessary tools now to continue solar development in Pennsylvania.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Come September, we will have only 17 legislative days to pass the bill, and we will be competing with a severence tax re: Marcellus Shale and a transportation bill. We will need all hands on deck to send a strong signal to PA businesses, legislators and the public that solar legislation is critical to PA's energy future.
Get involved! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
Doing solar business in PA? Do not underestimate the importance of policy. This type of legislation is what you need to guarantee the continued success of your solar business in PA.
From last week's Philadelphia Inquirer: (Thank you Diane Mastrull!)
With Delaware moving to 3.5 percent, Maryland to 2 percent, and New Jersey setting new megawatt requirements that equate to about 3 percent, Pennsylvania is losing solar ground in the region. That puts it at risk of losing the approximately 600 solar businesses it has and being unable to lure others, industry advocates contend.
So instead of waiting until next year to renew the push for passage of H.B. 2405, solar proponents are launching a new plan of attack. (YES PASEIA THAT'S US! :))
They want the legislature to embrace the idea of a stand-alone bill that would hike the state's solar-energy requirements only. That would leave other aspects of the controversial H.B. 2405 - nuclear power and clean coal, for instance - for later consideration.
"It's really important we have this bill to move the industry from a rebate-dependent energy source to a more market-driven energy source," Maureen Mulligan of Sustainable Futures Communications said in an interview. She is the chief lobbyist in Pennsylvania for the two largest solar-energy trade associations in the region: Solar Alliance and the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association/Pennsylvania division.
Mulligan will attempt to make her case for a solar-only bill at a House Majority Policy Committee hearing on alternative-energy issues in Worcester, Montgomery County, Wednesday afternoon.
The PASEIA Steering Committee has begun the push for a PA SOLAR ONLY BILL - in addition to removing many of the controversial elements from HB2405 which resulted in one ammendment after another, eventually weighing down the bill so much that it did not make it to a floor vote, a Solar Only Bill is already bringing the PA solar community together and building a strong coalition to fight for our solar rights!
Come September, we will have only 17 legislative days to pass the bill, and we will be competing with a severence tax re: Marcellus Shale and a transportation bill. We will need all hands on deck to send a strong signal to PA businesses, legislators and the public that solar legislation is critical to PA's energy future.
Read the full article here: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20100728_In_commitment_to_solar_energy__Pennsylvania_sees_neighbors_pull_ahead.html?nlid=3140847
Again, PLEASE GET INVOLVED: Email email@example.com to find out how you can help.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
FOR ALL MEMBERS IN NJ, PA, & DE
(Attendees Must be in Good Standing – 2010 Dues Paid)
Addressing Impediments to PV Deployment - With Special Emphasis on “Solar Farms” and the new RPS
• State Updates
• Pennsylvania’s Next Steps After the Legislature Fails to Act
• Status of Prevailing Wage in New Jersey- AG decision, unions, examples
• Forthcoming Solar Legislation in NJ and PA
• Municipal & Technical Issues
6:00 PM SPECIAL SREC REFORM FORUM:
THE FUTURE OF SOLAR RECS, Rebates, and PV Growth as Each State Faces Economic Crisis
Featuring Michael Winka, Director, NJ Clean Energy Program
With Q & A
6:45 – 8:00 PM Panel of Speakers; PV Installers; SREC Aggregators; Solutions; Q&A/Feedback Forum
Location: Rutgers EcoComplex, Bordentown, NJ (Off Rt.295 N)
Hope to See You!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I wish I had better news to share on the fate of House bill 2405. Despite our efforts, the bill will not pass before summer legislative recess. Moments ago, it was announced that the House and Senate Democrats and Republicans, and the Governor agreed to a budget which will allow the legislators to pass a budget on time. In turn, that means that it is not likely legislators will stay around to pass any pending legislation not associated with the budget including HB 2405.
Many of you followed the ups and down of this bill and its predecessor (HB 80) over the last year and one-half and understand when I tell you the bill got amended to death, not once, but twice. The coal industry, the PA. Chamber of Commerce, most of the utilities, the Commonwealth Foundation and their allies all fed the disinformation campaign carried out by their legislative allies in the House. We knew we were up against powerful, well-funded allies but we have prevailed on three solar bills in the recent past and my hope was we could do it again.
We owe much to our allies at DEP; particularly John Hanger, Andrew Place, Robert Maiden, Dan Griffiths and Paula Sviben and in the legislature; Representatives Eugene DePasquale, Greg Vitali and Chris Ross, and in the Senate; Senator Ted Erickson.
I hope you will take the time to thank them. They did an amazing amount of work on this bill.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sharp Solar is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world, with U.S. offices in New Jersey, California, and Tennessee. The solar factory in Memphis, Tennessee employs a diverse workforce of 500 people and has experienced significant growth over the last year, increasing employment by 50%. Our business was growing in the middle of a recession due to high demand created by incentives provided by state and federal governments. The solar incentives provided by Pennsylvania contributed to this demand, creating hundreds of jobs at our factory and other offices, and also within the dozens of Sharp dealers and contractors in the state.
We are writing to encourage your support for House Bill 2405 and the solar provisions in the bill that encourage long term contracts, increase the solar requirement, and set a firm alternative energy compliance payment at this time when rebates and other incentives are mostly fully subscribed.
Unemployment remains high, and Sharp is committed to increasing jobs both at our plant but also by using local, Pennsylvania based solar installers. Accelerating the solar requirement from 0.5% to 3.0% of total electricity sales by 2025 and other provisions help move the solar industry to a market based, competitive clean energy source with well paid local jobs, enhanced economic development benefits, increased tax revenues, and timely development of locally sourced low-carbon energy.
We hope that you will help us continue this impressive growth and vote in favor of House Bill 2405 now while we are making decisions where Sharp will be focusing our efforts.
Andrew J. Johnson
Senior Manager, Policy and Government Relations
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
As business leaders in the Pennsylvania Solar Thermal industry, we applaud the Pennsylvania legislature for including SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) for Solar Thermal in the PA House Bill 2405 for Clean Energy and Green Jobs and we want to express our support for passage of the original HB 2405 bill.
We also request that you vote NO to the Hutchinson Amendment that among other damaging languages, removes the value of Solar Thermal from the bill.
There are 174 solar thermal installers registered with DEP in Pennsylvania and we strongly support House bill 2405 which will help our businesses to grow and survive with good local jobs that can’t be shipped to other countries or to other states. Solar thermal systems cut fossil fuel use and are a hedge against volatile electric, gas and oil prices.
Several major solar collectors are currently made in the US although China holds 70% of the market share, Europe has 15%, and the U.S. has less than 1%. Furthermore, of the 29 states with Renewable Portfolio Standards, 12 include solar thermal in their portfolio in part due to the following reasons:
Reduce the costs rate-payers bear from the Renewable Portfolio Standard
1. Jobs. There are 129 solar thermal businesses registered in Pennsylvania - all of which will be directly impacted by this amendment. Furthermore, solar thermal installations are very labor intensive often requiring system engineers, panel installers, plumbers, welders and carpenters, and roofers; and many tradesman, such as plumbers, are adding solar thermal services as a means to increase revenue during these hard economic times.
2. Low Cost AEPS Compliance. Solar thermal provides a lower cost solution for achieving Pennsylvania AEPS solar carve-out requirement. Solar thermal is the most cost effective solar energy source and can reduce compliance cost.. Therefore, the dollar cost that Pennsylvania utilities need to pass along to consumers is lower meaning rates also will remain lower. While we do not advocate one technology over the other as a robust blend of solar technologies will make it plausible for Pennsylvania to achieve its solar goals.
3. Reduced Energy Costs. Solar thermal systems are a hedge against volatile electric, gas and oil prices potentially reducing 50% - 80% of water heating costs and this is a technology accessible to low income and low margin-business customers.
4. Greater constituent participation in the AEPS. Because solar thermal is such a cost effective solar technology, more Pennsylvania residents and businesses can actively participate in the AEPS. Adding solar thermal to a home may improve the home value should the home be sold. Once the solar system is paid for, there are no fuel costs, which means lower bills for consumers.
5. Environmental Benefits. RETScreen estimates that each 4 x 10 solar hot water heating panel installed can eliminate up to 2 tons of carbon dioxide each year. NREL (National Renewable Energy Labs) estimates that solar thermal can eliminate the equivalent of 50 – 75 million metric tons of CO2 emissions reductions nationwide annually.
6. Solar Thermal does not create any incremental cost for this bill and reduces the need for tax-payer funded incentives. This bill will help Pennsylvania’s solar thermal industry transition away from costly state funded programs to market based incentives. (http://www.thestreet.com/story/10711028/1/shelter-from-solars-political-storms-is-new-jersey.html
Sincerely from the following Solar Thermal installers in PA:
Jan Marie Rushforth
Partner, Rushforth Solar LLC - Member of PA SEIA
Jan@RushforthSolar.com - www.RushforthSolar.com
3700 Darby Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Hickory Ridge Solar
Adam Solar Resources
1912 Mayview Road Bridgeville PA 15017
2451 18th Street
Washington, DC 20009
Exact Solar -- Harness the Power of the Sun!
William H Fitch III
1072 Fowlersville Rd
Berwick, PA 18603
Vox Energy Solutions
8890 Peebles Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
Phone - 412-366-4361
Fax - 412-366-4362
Certified Energy Consultant
600 S. 17th St
Harrisburg, Pa 17104
HB2405, if passed (minus the Hutchinson Amendment) will tremendously help solar hot water growth in PA, adding to local job creation, energy savings, and emission reductions. It makes sense on many levels. Please vote for it.
Rushforth Solar LLC
3700 Darby Road
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
-So please, if you have a Representative in Pennsylvania, call them
-If you met with any Representative at one of our lobby days, call them
-If you have a project in Pennsylvania, please call the Representative of that district
-If you are able to, please inform your clients about the Bill and encourage them to call their Representatives as well
To look up a Representative of an area, please use this link: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm .
Thank you and please act NOW,
Drew Gardner on behalf of PASEIA
Diversify Pa. energy sources
House Bill 2405 would spur new developments in renewables
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
By Michael Jones
Pennsylvania faces an important choice this week as the state House of Representatives takes up alternative-energy legislation. We can remain stuck in the past by letting the bill die or move faster into the future by diversifying Pennsylvania's energy mix.
As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh and whose family co-founded the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., I look back fondly on the role my family played in creating a pillar of our state and national economy. But there comes a time when all of us must look ahead and see how things must be done differently to assure our economic future. Cleaner sources of energy, including solar and wind, must be a part of that picture.
Consider the company I work for -- Standard Solar Inc. -- as one example of the economic and job-creating engine that solar energy is becoming. Since Pennsylvania in 2007 updated a law requiring electricity suppliers to sell a certain percentage of power generated by "alternative" fuels, a fledgling industry has sprouted throughout much of the state. Today, more than 500 companies like Standard Solar are certified to install solar electric and hot water systems in Pennsylvania. Back in 2008, Standard Solar had seven employees. With the growth in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region, we now have more than 75.
That growth, however, may soon slow to a crawl -- and certainly would fall behind that of other states -- if the Pennsylvania General Assembly does not pass legislation expanding the state's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard.
House Bill 2405 would enhance the development of "advanced coal combustion" technologies, with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and increase the percentage of the state's electrical generation that comes from renewable sources of energy. It would set a goal of producing 15 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2025, with financial incentives for suppliers to meet their share of that goal.
We hear claims and counterclaims about how this legislation might affect the number of coal jobs vs. renewable-energy jobs. We can argue well into the night whose numbers are more
accurate. But we need to ask ourselves: Do we want Pennsylvania to remain tethered to, and subsidizing, a heavily polluting fuel source while the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction? Or do we want to devote a small portion of the types of incentives that got coal and nuclear power started to continue growing cleaner, healthier and, in the long run, more cost-effective ways to generate electricity?
We're not talking about replacing coal. In fact, the legislation we support would help the coal industry remain competitive by helping it to become cleaner. I'm simply urging us to further diversify our sources of energy by increasing the percentage of those that are naturally clean and safe.
President Barack Obama visited Carnegie Mellon University earlier this month to outline a national plan that could put Pennsylvania in the front seat -- maybe the driver's seat -- of the clean economy that's beginning to emerge in the eastern United States. This legislation would help speed that process.
Pennsylvania was deeply involved in the startup of the nuclear and oil industries. Now we are poised to breathe new life into natural gas with Marcellus Shale projects in much of the state. Let's do something similar for solar and renewables by passing HB 2405 and then getting it approved in the Senate and signed into law.
Michael Jones is the lead sales representative in Western Pennsylvania for Standard Solar Inc., which is based in Rockville, Md. (www.standardsolar.com).
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Drew Gardner on behalf of PASEIA
Friday, June 11, 2010
1) PA exports 50% of its coal (from EIA); HB2405 will have no impact on that export business.
2) Wind and solar are intermittent resources which do not compete with baseload plants like coal. Solar competes with peak power plants, which are natural gas or oil fired plants. Coal plants are baseload power, and baseload will not be impacted by this bill.
3) Wind and coal co-exist just fine – look at TX. TX is the #1 user of coal in the US, and also the #1 state for wind generation. In addition, brownfields sites are perfect locations for solar farms.
4) PA is #4 in the US in using coal as a source of electricity and #2 in the US for nuclear. The real threat to coal is nuclear and maybe gas at some point!
5) Renewables have nothing to do with the slide in coal demand – according to coal industry’s own data (Capital Watch), coal peaked in 1918. Today only 25% of the peak is mined (65 million tons/year in 2007 vs. 277 million tons/yr in 1918). Yet, according to DOE, electricity growth in PA. is expected to increase by 1.1% each year.
6) Coal is almost 55% of Pennsylvania’s current generation. Nuclear is over 30% . Even if solar is phased in to 3% by 2024, that is a very small fraction of Pennsylvania’s energy resource.
7) Like any investment, it is important to diversify the portfolio (think of retirement accounts), would you put almost all your money into one of two stocks? Think of coal and nuclear as the dominant energy sources in PA and that won’t change during the lifetime of this AEPS requirement.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
This past Monday and Tuesday (June 7th and June 8th) were PASEIA's HB2405 lobby days. There were 22 meetings scheduled with 21 Representatives over the two days, and about 15 Pennsylvania (and a few out of Pennsylvania) Solar Businesses made it out! Everyone lobbied for the bill quite successfully, and we were able to generate additional support from the Representatives for the bill. And we are happy to inform you that the bill passed out of committee Tuesday morning! Please see the ERE Committee Vote blog entry for more information on the committee vote. We still have a ways to go to pass this bill, but it is now clear that our efforts are truly making a difference. Thank you to all of the people that were at the lobby days, and we will be sure to notify you soon about our next lobbying efforts.
-Drew Gardner on behalf of PASEIA
(This last picture is sarcastic, obviously)
-Drew Gardner on behalf of Maureen Mulligan and PASEIA
Solar Installers Urging Pennsylvania House of Representatives To Vote For Alternative Energy Legislation, House Bill 2405
500 Solar Companies Are Standing Ready To Help More Homeowners and Businesses Better Control Their Electricity Costs
HARRISBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Companies striving to build a stronger solar energy industry throughout Pennsylvania are converging on Harrisburg to persuade lawmakers to pass House Bill 2405 by sharing personal stories and demonstrating the role that tax incentives and state grants are playing in creating new, sustainable, good-paying jobs and helping homeowners and businesses better control their electricity costs.
“We’ve made valuable progress with the state’s alternative energy requirement, the Federal Investment Tax Credit and the state’s Sunshine solar grant program,” said Kira Costanza of SunPower Builders based in Collegeville, PA. “Reducing carbon emissions in an energy economy heavily dependent on fossil fuels takes time. House Bill 2405 helps the state with the necessary next steps to do what many neighboring states are doing by boosting their commitments to renewable energy and enabling consumers to generate some of their own electricity.”
House Bill 2405 is expected to be voted on in committee next Tuesday, June 8th. “Time is running short in this legislative session to pass this timely energy legislation for Pennsylvania. Due to the success of the federal and state solar incentive programs, the solar industry needs the requirement for utilities and electric generation suppliers to purchase renewable energy be increased to match the supply of projects waiting to be developed while there are still incentives to help bring down the cost,” said Maureen Mulligan, a lobbyist for the two key solar trade associations active in Pennsylvania. HB#2405’s principal focus is on advancing coal combustion technologies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But it also would set the fee utilities must pay if they do not sell a requisite amount of electricity generated by renewable sources such as solar and wind. Those fees can help sustain renewable energy programs in the Commonwealth.
For each 1,000 kilowatt hour shortfall, the fee, called an alternative compliance payment, would be $450 in 2011, and decline 3% percent annually. In addition, HB 2405 would enhance the role that Alternate Energy Credits would play in helping finance renewable energy projects. A solar system earns one Alternate Energy Credit for each 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity it generates. Those credits can be sold for cash, in some cases in advance based on projected generation to help defray up-front installation costs.
Just last month, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a new solar bill into law that boosts the state’s ability to achieve its 20% renewable electricity mandate by 2022 (2% from solar) with a compliance payment set at $400 through 2014. This month, Delaware is expected to pass legislation that could set the compliance fee at $500 and raise the amount of electricity to be generated from renewable sources to a region-leading 25% by 2025, with 3.5% of that coming from solar. As with other states, Maryland and Delaware are incentivizing in-state solar projects designed and installed by companies in their states. Under this bill, Pennsylvania would also restrict projects to those built within the state and would increase the solar share from .5% to 3%.
The twenty solar businesses organized by PA Solar Energy Industries Association, who will be attending legislative meetings in Harrisburg next week, will be discussing the benefits of passing HB 2405 before the legislature recesses for the summer and will hand out a one-page summary of testimonials by solar energy professionals who attribute their growth to past legislative actions that promoted solar energy.
“Before the Pennsylvania Sunshine solar grant program began, there were about 15 certified solar installation companies in Pennsylvania. Today there are more than 500. And many of those employ more than 10 employees,” said Ron Celentano, a solar expert and troubleshooter in Wyndmoor, PA who chairs the Pennsylvania Division of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association. “That is a testament to the job engine that the solar industry is becoming throughout the Commonwealth.”
Source: Pennsylvania Division of the Solar Energy Industries Association
LEGISLATION TO RAISE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY STANDARDS ADVANCES
HARRISBURG, June 8 - State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, said that his bill to strengthen Pennsylvania's Clean Energy Act today was reported out of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, with a bipartisan vote of 17-9.
DePasquale said his legislation, HB2405, would significantly boost the amount of energy in Pennsylvania derived from cleaner, alternative energy sources. This shift would help create manufacturing jobs in the Commonwealth and provide enough clean energy to power 2.1 million homes.
"The bipartisan support shown for this bill today proves the value placed in maintaining and improving our alternative energy standards," DePasquale said. "We must reinforce our position as an alternative energy leader in order to maintain competitiveness in terms of job growth and investments in this field."
DePasquale said his legislation would strengthen the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004 by requiring 28 percent of Pennsylvania's energy come from clean sources by 2024; the current requirement is 18 percent by 2020. It would nearly double the share of energy that must come from the cleanest sources by requiring 15 percent - increased from 8 percent - of energy be derived from wind, low-impact hydro, geothermal, biologically derived methane gas, fuel cells, biomass energy, coal mine methane and solar. This includes a six-fold increase in the solar requirement from 0.5 to 3 percent.
In addition, this legislation would provide a pathway for cleaner coal technologies by requiring 3 percent of energy come from carbon capture and sequestration. This would allow coal to be used in a way that is better for our environment while maintaining critically important industry jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania, DePasquale said.
Consumers also would be protected in this legislation by requiring the state Public Utility Commission to delay the alternative energy requirements by the utilities if it determines the cost of compliance is too high or there isn't enough alternative energy ready for the grid.
This legislation also would build upon DePasquale's Alternative Energy Investment Act of 2008, which invested $650 million into alternative energy resources. That law provides consumers and businesses with low-interest loans for geothermal, wind and solar installation, creating alternative energy manufacturing jobs across the state all while saving consumers money and boosting Pennsylvania's economy.
HB2405 is expected to go before the full House for a vote.
Monday, May 10, 2010
HB2405 increases the solar share from 0.5% to 3.0% by 2025. With unemployment on the rise, accelerating the solar requirement at this time offers the prospect of new and enhanced jobs within the Commonwealth.
Increasing the solar share sends solar developers the message that opportunities in Pennsylvania for jobs and job growth will not phase out soon. An investment in Pennsylvania is a competitive one. Other states are increasing their portfolios. Now that we have over 450 solar businesses operating today in Pennsylvania, we don’t want to lose the jobs to states with more aggressive portfolio standards. "My company has ___ and last year we had ____."
The bill sets a yearly value for the Alternative Compliance Payment and allows for long term contracts. These are two key provisions in the new bill to control the cost of solar. It helps my business attract the necessary capital to build projects. Right now, capital markets are tight; my business often has to pay a premium for capital because it is not clear what the value of the renewable energy credits will be. Setting an ACP and allowing for long term contracts helps with financing and lowers lenders risks.
HB 2405 limits the purchase of solar and other credits for the compliance market to projects developed in Pennsylvania, like many of the surrounding states. This ensures the benefits remain in Pennsylvania.
The bill includes solar thermal which is a lower cost technology and allows for more job development as well as additional options for residential and businesses interested in solar.
HB 2405 adds consumer protection measures to ensure any solar system installed in Pennsylvania must use an approved participating contractor and a licensed electrician in municipalities that license electrical contractors.
General Solar Points:
Solar can provide some relief from dependence on foreign energy resources. In addition, Solar helps decentralize and diversify our power supply. Solar helps to break our reliance of foreign energy sources coming from unstable countries that aren’t friendly to the US.
Centralized power plants are more vulnerable to security breaches and can be targets of terrorists.
Decentralized or distributed solar power can alleviate grid congestion.
Solar is locally “home growth” and the jobs can be developed in all of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania that are not easily exported.
Diversifies our energy supply and provides a hedge against higher cost fossil fuels as prices rise for coal and other fossil fuels. Costs are going up for coal and oil as more fossil fuels are exported to China and India to meet their growing demands.
Solar development contributes to the economy in many ways including a new source of tax revenue and the creation of direct and indirect jobs.
Since solar is almost perfectly coincident with peak energy demand in our region, it can contribute to downward pressure of wholesales rates which are most expensive during peak usage on hot, sunny, summer days. This is exactly when solar is most efficient and operating at peak performance.
Solar has zero fuel costs and near the bottom of the electricity supply curve. When solar enters the electricity market, resources with higher costs are displaced resulting in lower cost electricity prices. When higher cost resources are displaced all electricity consumers benefit since the reduction in price applies to all electricity traded through the grid.
Last week, over 75 PA solar stakeholders gathered in Harrisburg for 2 strategy sessions with DEP Sec. Hanger surrounding HB2405. This “new HB80” is similar to the previous bill, but is even stronger for solar and a new sponsor (Rep. Eugene DePasquale, York) and recent coalition building has created a large and effective group to counter our well-mobilized opponents.
PASEIA is gearing up for a 2 month push to pass HB2405, which increases the solar share of PA’s AEPS to 3%, front loads SREC requirements in the early years of the ramp-up to avoid a saturated market, and sets a firm ACP. HB2405 positions PA to be a leading solar market in the Mid-Atlantic region!
Attached you will find resources to begin making calls and drumming up support for the bill. CALLS AND PERSONAL VISITS are most effective, and repetition is reinforcing.
Simple talking points are:
• Because of effective solar policy the cost of solar is coming down – my business/the company I work for has created XX number of jobs in the past year.
• This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Sunshine Program. One year ago there were approximately 20 solar installers, most of them not full time, in PA. Now there are nearly 500.
• TELL YOUR OWN SOLAR STORY
Over the next few days and weeks, we will continue to disseminate talking points and updates on status of the bill, targeted votes and strategy.
Please keep in touch– contact Maureen Mulligan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kira Costanza at email@example.com with questions, concerns or feedback.
We, the PA solar industry, continue to grow at exponential rates and the time has come to make our voice heard!
Thank you for your help! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our HB2405 advocacy distribution list and/or to receive documents outlining targeted votes, how to set up meetings with your reps. and TALKING POINTS.