2013 Was a Big Year – Our Annual Report

We have a lot to celebrate. 2013 was a tremendous year–one that will go down in the history books as an inflection point for solar.  Here’s our 2013 Annual Report.

Consider: in one year, several states effectively transitioned — as planned — off of incentives to thriving solar markets that are at retail grid parity. When is the last time you’ve heard an industry cheer the end of incentives? In California, more rooftop solar was installed in 2013 than in the previous 30 years combined and the state is on track to be at least 10% solar, on an energy basis, by 2020.

Colorado net metering rally

For the first time in 15 years, the US is likely to install more solar than Germany, with an expected 27% increase to 4.3 GW. Wholesale utility solar is, in many places, cheaper than building new coal or nuclear plants, allowing utilities to go big on renewables without breaking the bank. One utility, Palo Alto Municipal, is on track to be 18% solar. And it’s not just the usual suspects: states like Georgia and Minnesota launched big solar programs in 2013.

Energy policy doesn’t make itself: we are proud of the role we’ve played in all this success. Vote Solar has 13 staff, working every day (and too many nights), on our goal of bringing solar into the mainstream. In 2013, we intervened in 28 dockets to improve solar regulations in 13 states; ran high profile public campaigns in six states to secure important solar wins; rallied citizens to submit over 76,000 messages to key local decision- makers in support of pro-solar policies; hired new staff in Boston to ramp our work on the East Coast; helped deliver three innovative new shared solar programs; launched a new campaign to reduce permitting soft costs; brought on GroupEnergy to reduce customer acquisition cost by organizing group solar purchases; and went big prepping the future for renewable grid-integration, working on electric vehicles, storage, and energy imbalance markets.

It was a busy year for us, and – not coincidentally – a busy year for our opponents. It’s worth noting: despite the all the attacks on solar in 2013 — both wholesale and distributed — the good guys remain undefeated. But the challenges ahead loom large: in 2014, we expect a redoubling of efforts to roll-back progress, backed by the deep pockets of the Edison Electric Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council, amongst others. To take them on, we have a plan to double in size over the next 3 years. Our theory of change remains the same. We’ll use our tried-and- true combination of technical expertise and grassroots organizing to focus on reducing solar costs and increasing solar access.

Finally, we’d like to express our continued gratitude for the collaboration and camaraderie of our funders, partners, and friends along the way. The task we (and that’s the collective ‘we’) have taken on is a big one — essentially, create a new industry to fundamentally change how the world is powered. But given the stakes, there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.


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