Solar Industry Magazine: January 19, 2012
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has struck down a controversial “network usage charge” (NUC) that would increase fees for San Diego Gas & Electric’s customers who own PV systems.
Advocacy group Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN) filed a motion last October that stated SDG&E’s NUC did not comply with the Public Utilities Code. A number of solar groups and related allies, including Vote Solar and The Solar Alliance, wrote in to formally support UCAN’s complaint, the CPUC noted.
Cleantechnica: September 16, 2011
“The solar company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last month, which media reports have depicted as the end of solar power in the U.S. This is like saying there is no future for the internet because Netscape went out of business.”
Love this. This is the intro to a great email I received from Vote Solar yesterday. There’s more worth sharing, and it was really so well-written I don’t see the point in changing or adding much, so here’s more:
Bloomberg: May 25, 2011
The law would require New York utilities to enter 15-year contracts to buy renewable energy credits, which represent the power generated by rooftop solar systems, at the market rate for solar power.
The Vote Solar Initiative estimates that the New York legislation, if passed would drive up demand for rooftop solar projects and create as many as 22,200 jobs to manufacture and install panels. That would trickle down to $20 billion in local spending.
Wall Street Journal: May 19, 2011
The Bloomberg administration wants private companies to put solar panels on city buildings, three years after a failed attempt to do the same.
“I would classify their efforts as slow and steady,” said Shaun Chapman, who advocates for the solar-power industry at New York via Vote Solar, a nonprofit organization.
Forbes: May 7, 2011
The Colorado legislature has slashed the price of government red-tape for permitting solar power arrays. The Fair Permit Act (HB-1199) cuts the cost local government agencies can charge customers for permits to install solar electric systems or solar water heaters — in some cases by over 50%.
The bipartisan Colorado victory benefited from the organizing and educational expertise of the San Francisco-based non-profit, Vote Solar Initiative, which launched a campaign for the Fair Permit Act in March.
Reuters: December 16, 2010
Think of it as the eBay approach to ramping up production of carbon-free electricity. The idea is to avoid problems with so-called feed-in-tariffs that set rates artificially high for renewable energy production. In Spain, for example, high rates spurred a solar building boom that was followed by a crash when a cap on renewable energy production was reached and rates fell.
“The decision will help expedite solar development,” said Browning. “This is a way of harnessing the power of distributed generation to deliver a more robust grid and renewable energy development in a much more timely fashion.”
Greentech Media: December 16, 2010
The California Public Utility Commission, after more than a year of consideration, unanimously approved their version of a feed-in tariff called RAM, the Renewable Auction Mechanism. It’s not a classic FIT, and as such might avoid some of the pitfalls afflicting poorly administered FIT programs.
“At scale, solar is more cost-effective than the fossil fuel alternatives. All it takes is the right market mechanism to turn the opportunity into reality, and we thank the Commission and Commission staff for their vision,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar, a grassroots non-profit organization working to make solar a mainstream American energy resource.
Phoenix Business Journal: April 7, 2011
The Arizona Court of Appeals this week upheld the Arizona Corporation Commission’s ability to set a state renewable energy standard, and to set tariffs to fund solar energy systems.
Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, based in San Francisco, said the ruling is positive for Arizona and its solar industry.
Earth2Tech: December 16, 2010
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously for what is called a Renewable Auction Mechanism (RAM), which will require the three largest utilities in the state to hold auctions twice per year and sign power purchase agreements with developers who can offer the lowest prices.
The program “guarantees an outcome instead of prices. It ensures that ratepayers get the best deal,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco advocacy group. “You select projects not based on who is first in line but based on the ability to provide the most value.”
Business Green: December 16, 2010
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study reveals cost of solar PV installations in US down 30 per cent, but still around a third more than in countries which have pioneered solar panel deployment.
Rosalind Jackson, director of development at Vote Solar, a non-profit organisation that advocates policies to stimulate the renewables market, said: “Tracking the Sun is the single most comprehensive report on installed costs – that is, the actual cost to end users – of solar photovoltaic projects across the United States. The report confirms anecdotal evidence we’ve seen that solar costs are dropping significantly for US energy consumers and utilities.”
The Huffington Post: December 8, 2010
Today we released the 2010 Edition of Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades states on two key programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Together these policies empower energy customers to use solar and other renewables to meet their own electricity needs.
The tremendous progress we’ve seen over the four short years of the report’s publication leaves no doubt that states are able and willing to tackle these tough issues and advance our clean energy economy.
Southern California Public Radio: Oct 26, 2010
In less than a week voters will decide on the California jobs initiative. Supporters say Proposition 23 will stop the state from regulating businesses to death and killing jobs. Opponents argue that it’ll kill the state’s landmark global warming law – and California’s hope for becoming a green technology leader.
The Vote Solar Initiative’s Adam Browning says that would reshape California’s energy market – again. “If Prop 23 passes there’s really no mandates for new generation from renewables,” Browning worries. “Contracts that were signed, OK. Nothing more. And that would be apocalyptic for the state’s growing wind and solar industries.”
San Diego Union Tribune: Sept 2, 2010
In a move that could dramatically increase the amount of green power generated locally, state regulators have approved a proposal allowing San Diego Gas & Electric to build its own solar farms here and buy power from others who build them.
The impact of Thursday’s decision could well go beyond the projects that actually get built, said Adam Browning, who heads The Vote Solar Initiative.
OnEarth Magazine: Aug 10, 2010
“With Bruce as chair,” said Locke, “we’re sending a message that President Obama and this administration are committed to making renewable energy and efficiency technologies a cornerstone of a revitalized American manufacturing sector.”
“This is validation of the proposition that renewable energy is where it’s at,” cheered Adam Browning, head of the Vote Solar Initiative, and a former EPA official in the Clinton administration. “Leadership in developing — and manufacturing — the energy sources of the future is a key to our future economic prosperity.”
Greentech Media: Aug 4, 2010
Implications and options for designing wholesale DG solar programs
On July 15th, the interstate electricity regulators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling with ramifications for feed-in tariffs in the United States.
Albany Times-Union: July 15, 2010
On the pile of unfinished business state lawmakers left behind as they said goodbye to Albany earlier this month was the Solar Industry and Jobs Development Act, a bill that would unleash New York’s solar potential.
A Vote Solar Initiative report, working from federal models, showed that by 2025, New Yorkers can expect the programs created by this legislation to generate $20 billion in economic output and create more than 22,000 high quality jobs in fields including construction, engineering, sales, marketing, manufacturing and finance. The average cost to ratepayers would be 39 cents a month, according to a study commissioned by the Vote Solar Initiative.
Renewable Energy World: July 8, 2010
Hailed by some as a way to reduce the financial burden homeowners face when going solar, Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs allow property owners to borrow money to pay for renewable energy or energy-efficiency improvements.
“Despite strong Administration support, to date FHFA has declined to constructively resolve the situation. Congressional lawmakers have indicated that they are working to pursue a legislative fix. In the interim, PACE programs for commercial properties will move forward. Meanwhile, global warming continues unabated, green collar workers sit on their hands, utility bills rise, and the economy is still in the tank. It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Adam Browning director of Vote Solar.
San Francisco Business Times: July 6, 2010
A nationwide innovative financing program, backed by federal stimulus funds, to help homeowners make energy efficiency improvements is essentially frozen for homeowners as the nation’s largest mortgage lenders refuse to underwrite home loans tied to the program.
Adam Browning, executive director of solar advocate The Vote Solar Initiative, said PACE supporters hope to get legislation enacted — possibly with federal energy legislation — that would put PACE back on track for homeowners.
Greentech Media: June 15, 2010
Long the sleeping giant of potential solar markets, New York state has installed under 25 megawatts of PV, amounting to less than 0.01% of the state’s total electricity mix.
The pending legislation would help New York generate enough clean electricity to power about a million homes. But it is the bill’s ability to generate economic opportunity that’s really turning heads in the state legislature. We here at Vote Solar recently released a report quantifying just how substantial an economic boon the bill would be to New Yorkers.
Renewable Energy World: June 14, 2010
By Claudia Eyzaguirre and Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar
It’s time to seriously rethink the American solar energy landscape. No longer just the stuff of deserts and palm trees, PV now has its place among silos and cornfields. That’s right: Solar is making impressive inroads in the Midwest.
Reuters: June 10, 2010
A bill before the New York State legislature that would require energy providers to invest in solar power would create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity over a 14-year period, advocates said on Wednesday.
“By supporting the development of enough solar to power about one million homes by 2025, this legislation would drive significant economic opportunity in the state while adding less than the price of one postage stamp to New Yorkers’ monthly energy bills,” Vote Solar said in a statement.
Daily Finance: June 10, 2010
New York residents could be using more sun-generated electricity if state politicians pass legislation requiring utilities to install enough solar power capacity to account for 2.5% of its overall electricity sales by 2025.
The mandate could create about 22,200 jobs and $20 billion in economic output, which would include wages and revenues, according to areportby nonprofit Vote Solar. Residential ratepayers are likely to see a 39 cent average increase on their monthly bill over a 14 year period, says the report.
Grist: June 9, 2010
Legislation pending in New York that would require the state to install 5,000 megawatts of solar power by 2025 could generate 22,198 jobs and boost the economy by $20 billion, according to a report released by Vote Solar on Wednesday.
“We note that in an effort to be conservative in our assumptions, these benefits are calculated without taking into account any potential new manufacturing,” the report stated. “Precedent shows that states that make a clear commitment to clean energy see reciprocal investment on behalf of manufacturing companies. For example, in both Arizona and California, the states’ strong and transparent policies were fundamental to the decisions of two major global solar manufacturers…to locate their first domestic manufacturing operations in those states.”
Greentech Media: June 8, 2010
A national response to lender concerns about green retrofit programs: By Vote Solar’s Annie Carmichael and Rosalind Jackson.
Last month, a rather cryptic letter issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suggested that property owners with mortgages from these lending giants would be prohibited from participating in PACE programs. The move attacks the constitutional right of local governments to assess property taxes and throws a massive wrench in American green job growth and investment. Now a broad coalition of industry, environment, and government groups is working hard to meet this challenge head on and get PACE back on track.
Renewable Energy World: May 21, 2010
Vote Solar’s Adam Browning gives Graham Jesmer an update on some of big state-level solar policy developments from the past year.
NBC Bay Area: April 7, 2010
The rooftop of the Sunset Reservoir boasts some of the sweeping views of San Francisco. From its concrete floor you can view the crashing waves of Ocean Beach – and survey acres of tightly packed Sunset homes. It also has a prime view of the future. In the past few months, its once stark rooftop has come to life with acres upon acres of solar panels.
“This is the beginning of the transformation of our economy,” said Adam Browning of the Vote Solar Initiative. ”Off of fossil fuels to clean solar emission free electric power.”
San Jose Mercury News: April 5, 2010
The proposed rate structure, announced last week, would replace the current five tiers with three. It would increase the electric bills of most PG&E customers but dramatically reduce bills for those who use the most electricity.
“I’m not prepared to say this is some kind of death knell,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the nonprofit Vote Solar Initiative. “While it lowers the top tier, it also expands the middle tier, and could possibly bring more people into a sweet spot for solar. This is PG&E’s proposal, and now people can weigh in. What we don’t want is for people to freeze in their tracks.”
Denver Business Journal: March 2, 2010
Environmental advocates supporting a bill in the state Legislature that would require Xcel Energy to get 30 percent of its power from renewable sources released a report Tuesday saying the higher mandate could create 23,000 jobs in the state’s solar industry over the next 10 years.
The study, “Investing in the Sun,” was compiled by Environment Colorado, a Denver-based environmental advocacy group, and Vote Solar, a San Francisco-based grassroots organization focused on solar power.
Environmental News Service: February 27, 2010
On the roof of a solar-powered Macy’s store in Culver City, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday signed into law a bill that is seen as a critical component of the state’s million solar roofs initiative.
At the signing ceremony, Adam Browning with the nonprofit Vote Solar Initiative said, “What this bill does is it establishes the right for people to generate their own electricity. And this is really important. This is democracy in environmental decision-making. It creates, as we’ve heard before, a long-term and stable market that leads to a sustainable and subsidy-free solar industry.”
New York Times’ Green Inc: February 4, 2010
Over the past few weeks, some 1,300 megawatts’ worth of distributed solar deals and initiatives have been announced or approved. At peak output, that is the equivalent of a big nuclear power plant.
“All of this is a great indication that solar prices are continuing to get a lot cheaper and that results in scale,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a San Francisco nonprofit that promotes renewable energy.
Los Angeles Times: February 2, 2010
When Californians purchase solar power, one of the selling points is net energy metering. It’s a billing arrangement that allows a customer to get credit for the electricity fed into the grid and pay only for the electricity he is taking from it above and beyond what he makes on his own roof.
“A spokesman for Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored by the bill, said the 2.5% cap could also hamper the many cities, counties and school districts that are installing solar to reduce their electricity costs at a time when many organizations are facing drastic cuts.”
Wall Street Journal: January 28, 2010
When a San Francisco nonprofit was pushing a controversial California bill last year to remove the restrictions on energy that residents can generate from solar and wind systems, the group needed supporters. So it turned to an ordained minister named Sally Bingham.
“We have very few voices that are embraced by all levels of society as moral arbitrators,” says Adam Browning, executive director of the nonprofit, Vote Solar Initiative. “But Sally speaks with moral authority.”
New York Times’ Green Inc: January 19, 2010
Between 500 and 600 megawatts of solar power will be built this year across the United States — about double the figure of last year. The outlook for the West Coast looks particularly bright.
“2010 marks the date we start absolutely blanketing the state with solar,’’ Mr. Browning said. “This year you’re going to see the culmination of a lot of policy work over the years.’’
Associated Press: January 8, 2010
Communities across the nation have created special finance districts that help people pay for solar through low-interest bonds. Homeowners can use the bonds to pay for solar systems and then finance the loan through higher property taxes.
The Vote Solar Initiative, a nonprofit agency based in San Francisco that promotes solar energy use around the country, has become a major backer of PACE programs.
Renewable Energy World: December 3, 2009
New York allows municipal finance programs for solar and efficiency retrofits on private property.
There was not one single “no” vote in either house. New York’s PACE legislation passed by a resounding 192 – 0. And New York is not alone. Fifteen other states have passed laws to allow PACE programs. So why is PACE suddenly the most popular flavor of state renewable energy policy?
Reuters: November 30, 2009
From San Francisco to Malmo, Sweden, cities around the globe are preparing for a new imperative: to accommodate the mass of world population growth and thrive, without further accelerating the release of carbon dioxide that threatens their existence.
[San Francisco] has just finished a study of small-scale wind turbines, that rev up about the time the sun sets, said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative that promotes sun power. “It’s kind of like peanut butter and jelly,” he said.
Los Angeles Times: November 30, 2009
Even as California and the federal government encourage solar power, homeowners often have to fight homeowners associations for their right to install the systems.
Advocates say those who invest in alternative energy should be applauded instead of punished. They ultimately benefit ratepayers by reducing demand on the state’s grid, said Adam Browning of Vote Solar, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that promotes the use of solar energy.
New York Times: November 27, 2009
“Freeing the Grid,” which was written by renewables advocates, examines each state’s policies on net metering and interconnection procedures. Those are two of the main regulatory elements that enable homeowners and businesses to connect solar panels or other energy technologies to the electric grid, and be reimbursed for their efforts.
The report, released on Tuesday, was prepared by two nonprofit groups, Network for New Energy Choices and the Vote Solar Initiative.
Reno News & Review: November 26, 2009
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission plans to revise its rules related to solar energy in the state by early 2010, and those in the industry have some recommendations about how to make solar cheaper and more accessible to the Nevada masses, while growing the solar industry.
NV Energy and Hamilton Solar, working with Vote Solar and the Solar Alliance , submitted their recommendations to the commission on Nov. 24.
Reuters: November 24, 2009
In a new report called “Freeing the Grid,” advocates with several groups grade each state on their net-metering policies.
Supporters refer to it as the policy that lets the electric meter spin backwards. It allows people who own solar power systems, for example, export electricity to the grid and earn credits — at retail prices — on their utility bill.
Greentech Media: November 24, 2009
A consortium of U.S. net-metering advocates have graded each state for its net metering and grid interconnection policies to see who’s naughty or nice.
The Network for New Energy Choices prepared this third, annual report. It worked with Vote Solar, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the Solar Alliance and the North Carolina Solar Center.
Renewable Energy World: November 18, 2009
Called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing, these municipal programs allow homeowners to go solar and make efficiency improvements without any upfront cost.
“PACE programs effectively remove the single greatest barrier to solar adoption – upfront cost. That makes PACE an incredibly powerful tool for driving new economic opportunity, supporting green job growth and making real progress in the fight against climate change,” said Shaun Chapman, east coast campaigns director for Vote Solar.
Arizona Republic: November 6, 2009
As solar technology moves toward the mass market, early adopters of photovoltaic systems are finding a wide range of red tape and fees associated with going green. That is the conclusion of a San Francisco-based solar-advocacy group that issued a solar report card on Arizona cities and counties, finding that there are dark clouds over solar projects in some communities.
The Vote Solar Initiative identified Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Peoria as having Arizona’s best practices on permits for photovoltaic systems, while Paradise Valley, Mesa and Gilbert need improvement.
Greentech Media: October 30, 2009
Solar companies may start looking inward, and around the Mississippi, for new business.
That’s the word from Rosalind Jackson, one of the people at the advocacy and policy group Vote Solar. At Solar Power International this week, Vote Solar spent a lot of time talking to various state officials and the interest in solar in the middle of the country.
Environmental Leader: October 30, 2009
Earlier this week Governor Schwarzenegger convinced PG&E to up the amount of net metering allowed in its territory from 2.5 percent of peak demand to 3.5 percent, according to a press release.
“With this short-term fix in place, we would welcome opportunity to consider eliminating all net metering caps in the 2010 legislative session, a move that would allow maximum private investment in solar to reduce the state’s peak power demand and harmful carbon emissions,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.
San Diego Union Tribune: October 30, 2009
San Diego County has snagged 20 percent of $800 million in federal stimulus-backed financing for government solar projects nationwide, thanks to a team effort by city officials, school leaders, engineers and college students.
“I haven’t heard of anyone else doing it quite so systematically,” said Adam Browning, executive director of The Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group in San Francisco.
PV Tech: October 22, 2009
The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has released its “Tracking the Sun II: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the US from 1998-2008” report.
“The bottom line is that affordable solar is no longer a vision for the future, it’s very much here now, ready to be a significant part of our nation’s energy mix,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a national grassroots organization focused on bringing solar energy into the mainstream. “This all means there has never been a better time for energy customers to go solar or for our government leaders to invest in building a new solar economy.”
Phoenix Sun: October 15, 2009
You’ve done your research on contractors, rebates, tax incentives, etc., and you know exactly how much your up-front cost is going to be. Right? Maybe. Did you remember to find out how much your city or county charges for a permit? And, since time is money, exactly how long will you have to wait for them to process the permit?
Sound like trivialities? Rosalind Jackson of the Vote Solar Initiative begs to differ — and she has the information to prove it, in the form of a user-friendly, Web-based interactive map. It’s part of Vote Solar’s Project: Permit.
San Francisco Chronicle: September 21, 2009
Under current law, homeowners and businesses with solar systems can get credit from the utilities for generating excess electricity and sending it to the state’s electrical grid. But the utilities are only required to take so much of it – up to 2.5 percent of each utility’s total electrical load – and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will reach that level next year. The failed bill would have expanded the amount to 5 percent.
“It’s kind of a best-of-times, worst-of-times story,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative advocacy group. “There are some things that didn’t happen, but still, there really is a lot of development going on.”
New York Times: September 18, 2009
The solar industry faces a setback in California, the largest solar market in the country, after an important bill failed to win approval before the state legislative session ended last week.
One of the state’s largest utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric, is on track to reach that limit next year. The solar-advocacy group Vote Solar, citing new federal and state financing programs likely to spur homeowner solar, has predicted that the utility could reach the limit as soon as the first quarter.
Reuters: September 16, 2009
Solar power makers will get a boost in California, already their largest U.S. market, as it sharpens its focus on small-scale projects as part of efforts to get a third of its power from renewable energy.
The PUC plan includes a pricing mechanism meant to appease skeptics of regulation and create market-driven pricing. “By having competition, you’re ensuring that you will definitely get market activity and that you will get the best possible price,” said Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a national advocacy group.
San Jose Mercury News: September 4, 2009
That’s putting it in reach of more people and prompting solar advocates to say the day is coming when rebates and tax credits won’t be needed to spur the growth of the renewable energy industry.
“There’s been a rather dramatic decline in the last six months,” said Adam Browning, who runs a nonprofit advocacy group called the Vote Solar Initiative. He said he expects the trend to continue.”
New York Times: August 28, 2009
California regulators are taking an eBay approach to ramping-up renewable energy in the Golden State. In what might be a world first, the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday proposed letting developers bid on contracts to install green energy projects.
According to Adam Browning, the executive director of Vote Solar, a San Francisco advocacy group, the reverse auction proposal fills a big hole in California’s renewable energy program — photovoltaic projects that generate between one and 20 megawatts and can be built quickly and plugged into the existing transmission grid.
Newsweek: August 25, 2009
Despite the bad economy, or maybe because of it, the rooftop-solar industry is booming, as Americans become increasingly intrigued by the idea of turning their roofs into mini power plants and cutting their electric bills. . . According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s 2006-08 count, consumers added 522 megawatts to the grid; whereas utility generated sites added just 96 megawatts.
“There is across the board tension between distributed solar generation and utilities,” says Adam Browning, executive director of The Vote Solar Initiative, a solar advocacy group in San Francisco. “They’ve had the energy pie to themselves for a century, and now facing a future where clean distributed energy will play a large part, they’re looking for ways to profit from it and maintain control.” Can we really blame them though? That’s just capitalism right? “Part of having a monopoly is serving the public trust,” says Browning. “People want solar panels on their roofs, so utilities should be working to make that happen rather than getting in the way.”
Greentech Media: August 12, 2009
When solar gets cheap, fighting climate change gets a lot easier, says the Vote Solar Initiative’s Adam Browning.
Hear that sound? There it is again. That, my friends, is the sound of falling silicon prices. It might not sound like much, but frankly, in my opinion it’s the biggest environmental story of the year.
KNPR Nevada Public Radio: July 29, 2009
The green job market in Nevada has out paced growth of traditional jobs. We talk about state by state competition for pieces of the green energy economy.
Our guests are Kat Kerlin, special projects editor for the Reno News and Review, Kil Huh, director of research for the Pew Center on The States, and Adam Browning, executive director for Vote Solar.
Earth2Tech: July 22, 2009
Paying for rooftop solar systems, water conservation measures and energy-saving upgrades like weatherization to homes and commercial buildings in San Francisco should become easier.
States must generally enact legislation to make the programs legal, and at least 11 — including Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas — now allow them, according to the San Francisco advocacy group Vote Solar.
Renewable Energy World: July 9, 2009
The California State Senate Energy Utilities, & Communications (EU&C) Committee this week voted 9-1 to pass AB 560, a bill that would raise the state’s net energy metering cap.
“Net metering is one of the most important tools we have for making sure solar customers get fair credit for the clean electricity they deliver to the grid. Raising the cap would preserve those consumer rights and allow the state’s solar industry to continue generating jobs, economic opportunity, and clean electricity,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.
Los Angeles Times: July 5, 2009
A bill seeks to quadruple the amount of electricity consumers with roof panels may sell. The solar industry pushes to pass it. PG & E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric oppose.
“If we hit the net metering cap, the California solar industry grinds to a halt.” Caps are an impediment to fully developing solar power’s potential and its ability to provide clean energy that can be tapped in urban areas, where it is most needed, during peak demand on hot summer afternoons, Browning said. Eighteen states allow net metering without any caps, he noted.
KQED’s Climatewatch: June 29, 2009
Net metering is currently capped at 2.5 % of the system’s peak energy demand or “load.” Once the stream of solar electrons coming onto the grid reaches that level, the utility is not obligated to sign more net-metering contracts. AB 560, courtesy of Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Oakland), would provide some more headroom for that program by raising the cap to 10%.
Adam Browning of the Vote Solar initiative, put it this way to the San Jose Mercury News: “Why are we talking about stamping on the brakes when we should be talking about pushing on the accelerator?”
San Jose Mercury News: June 30, 2009
Despite the worst economic downturn in decades, California’s multibillion-dollar program to expand solar power production — the country’s largest — remains on track to install as much new energy this year as last, according to a report issued Tuesday by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“You often hear about the programs that fail,” said Adam Browning, executive director and co-founder of Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco nonprofit seeking to bring solar energy into the mainstream. “Here is a program that is literally doing what it was advertised to do. That’s a good story.”
San Jose Mercury News: June 19, 2009
After casting itself as a champion of solar power, Pacific Gas & Electric has angered green-energy advocates by opposing two state bills that would ramp up the benefits for those who go solar. Put simply, PG&E’s objection is that the two measures would make solar too popular.
“Maximizing the number of people who go solar is a paramount policy — it affects air pollution consideration, climate change considerations and the development of green jobs,” said Adam Browning, executive director and co-founder of Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco nonprofit seeking to bring solar energy into the mainstream. “So why are we talking about stamping on the brakes when we should be talking about pushing on the accelerator?”
Earth2Tech: June 18, 2009
At a luncheon Wednesday to discuss solar trends in advance of the Intersolar North America conference next month, some California solar insiders voiced skepticism about whether a German-style feed-in tariff would be the end-all policy for the state.
Because the tariff offered such a high price for solar electricity, it created a shortage of panels that led to much higher prices. “On the one hand, Germany absolutely built the global manufacturing base, but on the other hand, it built the manufacturing base around the $4-a-watt panel,” Adam Browning, executive director of solar advocacy group Vote Solar, told me last month. “We will always have the German program to thank for what it did – it saved the world, as far as I’m concerned – but it also had some policy ramifications that haven’t been entirely positive.”
Las Vegas Sun: June 15, 2009
As competing states dawdle, Nevada adds incentives for construction
Utility-size solar generation plants in the desert, along with geothermal plants, got a big boost this session. Jim Baak, director of utility-scale solar for the nonprofit advocacy group Vote Solar, said Nevada was far more proactive than other sunny-state legislatures this year.
New York Times: June 9, 2009
Solar installations could grind to a halt in California, industry advocates say, unless a legislative proposal, which the state Senate is considering this month, passes.
But solar installations, at least in PG&E territory, will stop if the net-metering cap isn’t raised before the utility reaches its limit, said Adam Browning, the executive director of Vote Solar, another solar advocacy group. “This is a huge roadblock looming,” he said. While a halt on net metering wouldn’t actually prohibit solar installations, it would drastically reduce the economic benefit of going solar, he added.
CBS Eyewitness News: May 28, 2009
Going solar has been the mantra for years in California. But an old state law puts a limit on how many homes and businesses can recieve incentives, and we’re quickly reaching that limit.
Obama Here for the Sunshine: May 28, 2009
As president applauds Nevada’s green efforts, two bills to foster industry’s growth make their way through Carson City.
Jim Baak, a director of policy for the nonprofit Vote Solar, said tax abatements are crucial to companies seeking financing to build new facilities, in large part to help offset manufacturing costs. “Solar developers are looking where they can locate plants for the lowest cost, so they can deliver the lowest-cost energy to utilities,” he said. “Nevada has a young but growing industry with so much promise. Without those abatements, the state would be missing a tremendous opportunity.”
Boston Globe: May 24, 2009
State hopes affordable leases will make panels an electricity option for more homeowners.
“Solar has a guaranteed return,” said Adam Browning executive director of the San Francisco based Vote Solar Initiative, a nonprofit that works with states to improve policies to grow solar. “You tell me where else you can get this rate of return in this economic environment.”
Renewable Energy World: May 21, 2009
By Annie Carmichael and Jim Baak, Vote Solar.
Does this sweeping new plan include provisions to make solar energy, which currently accounts for 1/10th of one percent of our electricity supply, a substantial part of the nation’s energy mix? The accurate answer is nuanced, but the short answer is no.
San Francisco Chronicle: May 5, 2009
By Adam Browning, executive director of the Vote Solar Initiative, and Francesca Vietor, commissioner of the San Francisco PUC.
San Francisco’s oft-stated commitments to expanding solar power and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions face a crucial test today at the Board of Supervisors. At stake is the approval of a new 5-megawatt solar power installation that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission would like to place atop its recently seismically retrofitted Sunset Reservoir.
Las Vegas Sun: April 14, 2009
The environmental benefits of going green are an afterthought in the report and in the Legislature, where debate rages over energy policy. “Green jobs,” not greenhouse gases, is the phrase that is repeated. The reason is obvious — unemployment here exceeds 10 percent and the state budget is in a shambles.
[Jim Baak, director of utility-scale solar for Vote Solar] sees the lack of environmental considerations in Carson City and elsewhere as a positive sign that the renewable energy industry is growing up and can stand on its own. “In the early days, it was all about the environmental benefits for renewable energy,” Baak said. “But we’ve reached a point in the national psyche where we’re not really questioning the benefits, we’re not questioning climate change, we’re taking that as a given and we’ve moved past that.”
St. Petersburg Times: April 12, 2009
Solar power in the Sunshine State has exploded in the past three years, providing millions of dollars in new projects and hundreds of jobs even as most of Florida’s economy withered.
The Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group based in San Francisco, estimates that Florida could see 85,500 jobs in solar if the Legislature adopts Gov. Charlie Crist’s goal of getting 20 percent of the state’s power from renewable sources by 2020.
Associated Press: April 6, 2009
Lawmakers were told Monday the solar energy industry will have a major impact on Nevada’s economy, assuming that tax abatements are offered to attract such companies to the state.
Study showed that solar energy development over the next seven years could create close to 6,000 construction jobs per year, 1,200 full-time plant operation jobs and close to $11 billion in the generation of goods and services, said Jim Baak of Vote Solar, a nonprofit solar advocacy group. Baak added that $500 million in sales and property taxes would be paid to the state over the life of solar energy projects if tax abatements are approved.
Austin American Statesman: April 5, 2009
State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, says a solar power measure he has proposed is not only good policy, it’s personal. He told a House Energy Resources subcommittee last week that the measure would create a loan system to help homeowners like him pay for pricey rooftop solar panels.
At least 10 other states are considering similar proposals, according to Annie Carmichael, the federal policy director of the Vote Solar Initiative, a nonprofit organization promoting solar power that is based in San Francisco and New York.
Greentech Media: April 1, 2009
The public utilities commission has proposed to make the feed-in tariff program eligible to renewable power projects larger than 1.5 megawatts. The goal is to simplify the power-purchase process between utilities and power generators.
“This is a good start in the right direction,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a San Francisco-based advocacy group that focuses on state legislation across the country. “What the state is coming out with is a significant new program which could initially add another 1,000 megawatts to the grid.”
Renewable Energy World: March 18, 2009
As part of its effort to expand state-level solar programs and continue the growth in green collar jobs, solar advocacy organization Vote Solar has released potential job-creation figures for key markets in the U.S.
Vote Solar publicized the findings through fictional “help wanted” ads in major newspapers serving Florida, Nevada and Texas, where the organization is working to build aggressive solar programs under each state’s renewable portfolio standard.
MSNBC: March 11, 2009
Activists highlight energy potential, as state lawmakers mull legislation
The solar energy that could be harvested from just one acre of West Texas land equals 800 barrels of oil a year, according to the State Energy Conservation Office.
More bills are being filed daily, said Annie Carmichael, a Vote Solar Initiative spokeswoman. “This is the solar session,” she said. The nonprofit, grassroots group says the 90,000 jobs would be created if most of the circuitry, panels and other necessary components were manufactured in Texas.
Associated Press: March 10, 2009
Texas leads the nation in wind power, and now a group advocating for solar energy is pushing for the state to tap into its sunshine.
California-based Vote Solar Initiative took out classified ads in several Texas newspapers Tuesday, claiming solar energy could create 45,000 to 90,000 jobs across the state for electricians and engineers and in sales. The ads, which the group said ran in The Midland Reporter-Telegram, the Abilene Reporter News, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman, urge readers to contact legislators to “ask for bold solar policies.”
Palm Beach Post: March 10, 2009
Harnessing solar energy in the Sunshine State has always seemed to make a lot of sense. Well, now a grass-roots group wants to put that to the test.
The San Francisco-based The Vote Solar Initiative, focused on advancing solar energy development in the U.S., estimates that 85,500 jobs — from construction to engineering to marketing — could be created if Florida adopts a proposed requirement that 20 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.
Las Vegas Sun: March 9, 2009
Some see energy exports to California as revenue source for Nevada
Jim Baak, a policy director for large-scale solar projects at the San Francisco-based solar advocacy organization Vote Solar, is working on a study that he says will show that solar plants built from 2010 to 2015 and generating a total of 2,000 megawatts would directly and indirectly add $10 billion in economic benefits. The plants would create 6,000 construction jobs a year and would provide 1,200 full-time jobs at the plants once they are complete.
Baak and other solar advocates and developers say Nevada must carefully nurture a still nascent industry that is a natural fit for a state full of flat lands and sunny skies. As they gain a foothold, manufacturing plants could then be lured here, creating a greater number of permanent jobs.
New York Times: February 24, 2009
On March 3, residents of Los Angeles go to the polls to decide the fate of a controversial solar power proposal.
“In the case of Measure B, some believe that private solar companies, with deep expertise honed in a competitive environment, can provide the same solar service more cheaply than the D.W.P.,” wrote Adam Browning, the executive director of the non-profit Vote Solar Initiative, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.
San Jose Mercury News: February 24, 2009
California’s drive to produce more clean energy got a major boost Tuesday when Pacific Gas & Electric announced its largest-ever plan to build and invest in solar energy systems.
Adam Browning of the San Francisco-based Vote Solar Initiative said research shows that for every megawatt of solar energy installed, an average of 15 manufacturing jobs and 15 installation jobs are created, more jobs per megawatt than for any other energy source. “Manufacturing could be anywhere, because this industry is global, but the installing will be local,” he said. “There is absolutely no doubt there will be an incremental job benefit from this.”
Press Release: February 24, 2009
Today Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Northern California’s largest utility, announced plans for an ambitious and substantial new solar energy program.
“We estimate that this initiative will put between 7,500 and 15,000 Californians to work building our renewable energy future,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar. “Perhaps most exciting, PG&E has designed a diverse program that maximizes the benefits of utility involvement while minimizing the potential drawbacks.”
KCRW’s Which Way LA?: February 23, 2009
Measure B on next week’s Los Angeles ballot would put the publicly owned Department of Water and Power in the solar energy business. Would private companies be crowded out?
We hear a debate: Adam Browning: Executive Director, Vote Solar Initiative; Bill Rosendahl: Los Angeles City Councilman; and Ron Kaye: former Editor, Los Angeles Daily News.
San Jose Mercury News: February 19, 2009
The report, “Tracking the Sun,” attributes declining costs to effective state solar programs, such as California’s Solar Initiative.
“Solar will be big when it is cheap,” said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, a nonprofit advocacy group. “This report demonstrates that local market development plays a key role in bringing solar costs down.”
Los Angeles Times: February 18, 2009
An expert on renewable energy policy says the DWP shouldn’t shut out private-sector routes to going solar.
When the DWP last fall announced an ambitious solar energy program, it was like a ray of sunshine bursting through the smog. My group — the Vote Solar Initiative — is supportive, but only if the utility agrees to open markets for competition and stops trying to hijack money meant to help ratepayers go solar on their own. It’s your money, not theirs.
San Francisco Chronicle: February 18, 2009
Homeowners interested in sticking solar panels on their roofs got a big boost from the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed Tuesday by President Obama.
Homeowners will now be able to get a federal tax credit worth 30 percent of the cost of their new solar system even if they’re also receiving state or local financing. That could make a big difference in California, which offers rebates to homeowners who install solar systems. And Berkeley has a new solar financing program that lets homeowners pay the cost of their solar systems over 20 years, a program that San Francisco and other cities plan to emulate.
Wall Street Journal: February 9, 2009
Condos and apartment buildings have proven resistant to solar power. That’s starting to change.
Solar has long been thought of as an elitist resource, says Shaun Chapman, East Coast campaigns director for Vote Solar Initiative, a San Francisco-based nonprofit promoting solar legislation in the U.S. The challenge now, Mr. Chapman says, is, “How do we get it to everyone?”
San Antonio Express: February 2, 2009
Ramping up solar power in Texas could create new jobs in the state, help energy prices and eliminate pollutants that add to global warming, several nonprofit groups said Monday.
As many as 22,000 manufacturing and installation jobs would be created if Texas were to build a utility-scaled solar program and to expand incentives for smaller-scale programs to put solar panels on houses, schools and businesses across the state, according to a report by Public Citizen, Environment Texas and Vote Solar.
KALW Public Radio: January 27, 2009
The city of Berkeley is a proving ground for many progressive measures. Some, like school desegregation and curbside recycling, have set the tone for the entire nation. As David Ross reports, the path toward renewable solar energy hasn’t been so well lit. There is some question about solar systems funded through municipal programs being able to qualify for the federal Investment Tax Credit.
Adam Browning is Executive Director of a San Francisco-based organization called Vote Solar: “Most likely this is going to come from congressional leadership, and that’s where we’re focusing our efforts. We are very lucky to live in the Bay Area and have the Speaker of the House, Speaker Pelosi, be a local leader as well as be a true, true friend to solar and renewable energy. And so we feel good about our chances.”
Greentech Media: January 26, 2009
Vote Solar’s Executive Director Adam Browning reports on the good times held at the 2009 Green Inaugural Ball in Washington DC.
The party was a lot like one of Vote Solar’s parties, except it was held in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian instead of a nightclub, and there were a lot more famous people. Al Gore, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Van Jones preached to the largely converted.
Renewable Energy World Podcast: January 22, 2009
Vote Solar’s Gwen Rose and Shaun Chapman offer a look at the changing solar energy programs in Florida, New York and states nationwide.
State programs are driving the U.S. solar market. But what happens when most of those states want to restructure their incentives all at once? The result: A period of downright difficult-yet-necessary growth pains for the solar industry. In this podcast, we’ll explore the issues that businesses, advocates and regulators in the solar industry are facing as they navigate this rocky transition period on the state-level.
The New York Times: January 16, 2009
IN Washington on Monday night, the giants of the environment and conservation movements will gather to celebrate the inauguration, but they will do it at two very different galas — with very different philosophies.
The first gala is being held by Al Gore, the former vice president and Nobel laureate. His event is also joined by a no-compromise crowd long frustrated with the Bush administration. Among them, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, the Vote Solar Initiative and Youth for Environmental Sanity.
ClimateWire: January 12, 2009
More and more states are implementing renewable portfolio standards that mandate that a percentage of electricity come from renewable sources. But convincing utilities to buy small-scale, consumer-generated energy, instead of from their usual wholesale markets, has been slow going.
“They begin with denial, and then there’s a little anger there that happens. They gradually move to acceptance,” said Adam Browning, director of the Vote Solar Initiative, which focuses on bringing solar to the mainstream. Vote Solar works nationally to advocate reasonable standards to connect small systems to the electric grid and to put net metering rules in place.
Press Release: January 7, 2009
Our economic future depends heavily on the growth of our clean energy sector, and Governor Paterson’s comments today demonstrate his commitment to it. New York has long been the capital of global business; let’s not miss an opportunity to lead the world again in the creation of a new clean energy economy. It’s time for policy-makers across New York to join the Governor and the clean energy sector in building a new green economy worthy of our great State that protects our planet and puts New Yorkers back to work.