The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the solar energy industry, announced recently that it has officially merged with the Solar Alliance, an advocacy organization committed to establishing solar policies at the state level. Effective immediately, the Solar Alliance will operate under the SEIA brand in an effort to present a unified solar industry voice in all advocacy efforts at the state level. Carrie Cullen Hitt, president of the Solar Alliance, is now Vice President for State Affairs at SEIA, and the Solar Alliance team joins Hitt as part of SEIA’s new department for State Affairs.
“The solar energy industry is expanding and it is critical for SEIA to mirror this growth and put our resources and expertise into developing state policy that expand markets for solar energy,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Adding Carrie Cullen Hitt and her top-notch staff to the SEIA team is a critical step as we continue to scale the U.S. market and move toward our goal of installing 10 gigawatts of solar annually by 2015.”“We have tremendous opportunities for opening markets for solar across all regions,” said Hitt. “With the Solar Alliance now a part of SEIA, we have the unified voice that is necessary on the policy front ? both in Washington and in the states ? to really take the U.S. solar industry to the next level.”
Additionally, SEIA has established more formalized, collaborative relationships with nearly a dozen state and regional SEIA chapters to coordinate efforts. While the state and regional SEIA chapters remain wholly independent entities, this partnership brings additional resources and coordination on efforts that align with SEIA’s policy goals in the states.Current SEIA staff and resources dedicated to federal legislative and regulatory work will continue at the same level to direct policy efforts in Washington.“The focus on state-level policy allows SEIA to speak as the voice of the solar industry in all government arenas. We have important work to do to ensure solar energy has access to energy markets across the country and that solar is cost competitive in all 50 states. This is a major step in that direction,” added Resch.
In 2012, SEIA will present a unified voice in policy issues ranging from international trade, extension of the Section 1603 Treasury Program, and improved access for solar developers on public lands to the policy efforts in the states. State efforts will entail a number of different policy efforts including net metering, a financial tool for recognizing value of distributed generation on the gird, and removing barriers to grid interconnection and permitting.The combination of state and federal policy has driven access to energy markets for solar project developers across the country. In 2010, 17 states installed more than 10 megawatts of new solar capacity compared to only four in 2007.