SPI2009: Solar industry needs to come together and fight, urges SEIA president

Rhone Resch, president and ceo of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), has called on the solar industry to "enlist" in the fight to secure a policy environment that allows solar to compete with other forms of energy.

Speaking at the general session of Solar Power International 2009 (SPI), Resch also declared a "Solar Bill of rights" to allow "Americans the right to put solar on their homes or businesses", whose measures included:

  • a right to connect solar systems to the grid with uniform national standards;
  • a right to Net Meter and be compensated at the very least with full retail electricity rates;
  • a right to equal access to public lands.

Despite the successes enjoyed by the solar industry in the US over the past year (19 provisions in the stimulus - provisions that SEIA expects to create over 100,000 solar jobs in the coming years), the speech struck a cautionary and almost evangelical note, pointing to the vast sums of money being used to lobby against solar and other renewable forms of energy. And he also pointed to a "tyranny of policies that protect our competitors, subsidise wealthy polluters and disadvantage green entrepreneurs".

Resch also commented on the "crucial policy battles that are raging right now", namely the Clean Energy and Climate Bill currently with the Senate.

Amongst other things, the Bill would introduce a a national renewable electricity standard; a national cap and trade program that allocates 10% of all carbon credits to the States to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; measures to support the construction of new transmission, including expanded siting authority for FERC, new regional planning, and innovative regional cost allocation; and a Clean Energy Deployment Administration (or clean energy bank) to provide a suite of financing options to support renewable energy projects.

Resch also said he saw the solar industry at a crossroads, a moment of decision that would profoundly shape the history of the solar industry in the USA: "We can accept the tyranny of a century of policies that protects our competitors, or we can fight for a new century of policies that secure our rights", he concluded.


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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling