Tag: Energy Independence
First of all, we have to commend President Obama for even mentioning solar energy in Tuesday’s State of the Union speech. Considering that the post-Solyndra political landscape for solar is anything but friendly (read my take in the op-ed I wrote for The Washington Post), it can only be good news that the President isn’t backing down on clean energy. He’s still on board, and for that, we’re certainly grateful. In his address, he asked Congress to establish a “clean energy standard” for the nation’s utility companies. Given that this kind of standard is already on the books in most industrialized nations, it’s not an outlandish idea, and one that would certainly benefit renewable energy.
However, what is unclear is exactly what would count as clean. Most likely, nuclear, natural gas and maybe even cleaner coal plants would qualify, which would dilute the positive effects on greenhouse gas emissions that an increase in renewable energy would provide. We would urge lawmakers to consider giving renewables (solar, wind and geothermal) a significant advantage in any legislation regarding clean energy.
Another point that we were happy to see made was that the time has come to end taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. The oil and gas industry still enjoys these incentives long after the need for them has passed. As President Obama urged, it’s time to “doubledown on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.” An analysis in 2009 by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that we could create 300,000 new jobs if the US produces just 25 percent of the nation’s electricity with renewables by 2025. This kind of job growth just is not present in the oil industry.
One thing the President made clear; it is time to invest in solar energy. He won’t back down, and neither should we.
- Tony Clifford, Standard Solar CEO
The National Press Club Newsmakers Committee hosted this morning a panel of U.S. solar industry leaders to discuss the importance of the Treasury Department’s 1603 Grant Program.
Shayle Kann of GTM Research unveiled results from the quarterly “U.S. Solar Market Insight” report, which detailed the U.S. solar industry’s growth through Q3, 2011 – the best quarter ever for the U.S. solar industry. Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industry Association; Tony Clifford, chief executive officer of Standard Solar and Joe Desmond, SVP, BrightSource Energy participated in the panel discussion which was hosted and moderated by Bracewell Giuliani energy expert Frank Maisano who is a member of the club’s Newsmakers Committee.
Standard Solar CEO Tony Clifford is in the running for a seat on the Board of Directors for SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association – obviously we think he would be a great candidate for the job, and we wanted to share his “stump speech” with all of you. The following are remarks Tony prepared for a recent podcast in order for SEIA voting members to get to know him and his ideas.
Voting is open to SEIA members through 1:00 pm eastern next Tuesday the 22nd, winners will be announced on Wednesday.
If elected, I’ll be coming to the SEIA board with the experience I’ve gained in the past five years growing Standard Solar from a three-person, local solar installer into a major regional developer and integrator with national aspirations. As CEO of Standard Solar and president of our regional SEIA chapter, MDV-SEIA, the bulk of my political/lobbying experience has been at the state and local levels. With this perspective, I think I can help national SEIA make more effective use of grass roots solar support to promote our national solar priorities.
As the cost of solar PV has dropped rapidly in the last few years, the pushback from our opponents has become quite visceral, especially in the past several months. Now that our industry is within striking distance of utility cost-competitiveness, solar is viewed as a real economic threat by the traditional purveyors of dirty energy. To combat our well-funded opponents, we are going to need an all out effort. To be successful we must re-energize solar’s traditional base of support – individual Americans and environmental groups. In growing Standard Solar, I gained a real appreciation for how to get “buzz” for our company — via traditional media, the Internet and social networking. As a board member I’ll work hard to get the SEIA message out, especially to the 80+ % of Americans the pollsters constantly tell us are supporters of solar energy. I’ll also use my “lessons learned” at the state and local level to promote more effective grass roots messaging of national SEIA priorities.
Both at Standard Solar and earlier in my career at Solarex Corporation (now BP Solar), I recognized that my company would not be successful unless it was part of a thriving industry. As such I have always viewed government relations and industry development as integral to my job. 2012 is going to be a make or break year for the US solar industry. With increasing uncertainty in Washington, we need to be sure that existing federal solar incentives are preserved if we are to maintain industry growth and spur the continued cost reduction we need to reach grid parity. I am the CEO of a profitable solar “success story” with no dependence on DOE loan guarantees or other federal support (beyond the ITC and Treasury Grant programs). As such I can be effective delivering the national SEIA message as a solar CEO who been there/done that – and done it right!
I’d appreciate your vote.