Tag: "jobs"

07/30/18

  08:45:00 pm, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 500 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, Residential Solar, Ranting

Think Your Solar Investment is Safe? Think Again!

Those of us involved in solar in sunny Southern California generally think that we have it pretty good.  The climate is just about perfect for solar - and by that I mean the political climate, every bit as much as our abundant sunshine.  From the Governor, to the legislature, to the CPUC and the CEC, generally those forces support the growth of not just solar power in general, but distributed, on your own rooftop solar in particular.  But we become complacent at our peril - both to the jobs of those in the industry as well as the investment value of all of those solar installations out there.

A recent story from Columbia, South Carolina brought this peril to mind.  As portions of the state edged closer to the existing 2% cap on net metering installations, the legislature was working on a compromise to lift the cap,  allowing more residents the opportunity to install solar and take advantage of net metering.  The utilities had other ideas - from the Greenville News:

Deep-pocketed power companies outspent the solar industry nearly $3 to $1 as part of an intensive lobbying effort during an S.C. legislative session that included efforts to curb rooftop solar’s expansion in the state.
Electric utilities spent nearly $523,000 from January through May to hire more than three dozen lobbyists to advocate for them at the State House as lawmakers decided what to do about solar incentives.

Yikes.

The result of all that lobbying?  The effort to lift the net metering cap was defeated - and local solar companies are going to be laying off employees (if not closing altogether) while affected residents will either have to forego solar, or find it far less financially viable.

Solar Rights AllianceWe delude ourselves if we think that it can’t happen here.  Utility lobbyists are in Sacramento just as they are in Columbia, and the recent forced change to net metering 2.0 in SCE territory is a reminder that our progress is not guaranteed.

Which brings me to the Solar Rights AllianceWe have written about this important organization before, and will do so in the future.  But I wanted to use this post to show how we are putting our money where our mouth is.  Starting today, we are modifying our solar installation contracts to provide an opt-in checkbox for new clients to be signed up for the Solar Rights Alliance, with Run on Sun making a donation in their name to help support the important work of organizing solar clients statewide.

We are never going to be able to match the money coming from the utilities and their allies.  But what we do have is tens of thousands of happy solar owners all across the state.  If we can organize even a fraction of them, we will be able to speak directly to policy makers and let them know that the value of installed solar power systems must be protected.  That is a fight that we need to take on, and the Solar Rights Alliance (along with our wonderful trade association, CALSSA) is key to winning that fight.

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01/07/13

  07:40:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 394 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar Economics, Solar News

How Solar Boosts the Economy

Since cost-benefit analyses appear to be the rage in the New Year, particularly regarding solar, we were struck by a piece over at Greener Ideal documenting three key ways in which the solar industry boosts the overall economy - here’s hoping these are being factored into those analyses!

Jobs

More US solar jobs than in coal!The most significant way is that solar power means jobs - actually more jobs in the U.S. than does the coal industry! Indeed, the U.S. solar industry employs 119,000 people compared to just 86,000 working for coal companies.  Moreover, job growth in the solar industry far outpaces that in the coal industry.  In 2012, solar jobs increased by 13% while the overall U.S. economy was growing by just 2.3% and the fossil fuel industry lost jobs overall.

Of course, most coal-related jobs are with large corporations whereas many solar jobs are found in small businesses, like Run on Sun, which might explain the disproportionate impact that the coal lobby has over the solar industry trade groups like SEIA.

But seriously, if you were advising your child about where to look for work in the 21st Century, would you want to send them toward a coal mine or a solar farm?  While the solar industry is not without its risks, cave-ins and Black Lung are not among them.

Energy Independence

All fossil fuel is finite; we aren’t making anymore during our lifetimes or those of our offspring.  By contrast, energy from the sun will be around as long as humans inhabit this Earth - it is clean, abundant, and free.  Every solar-powered kilowatt-hour that we generate means that much less coal to be mined, natural gas to be “fracked” or barrel of oil to be imported from unfriendly regions of the world.  A stable supply of renewable energy frees our country from a host of problems both natural and man-made.

Saving Money

Last, but by no means least, solar saves people money.  Serious money, in fact.  For commercial building owners, that savings can translate into the ability to hire more workers.  For residential clients, the savings are more money to spend in the local economy, boosting employment in your home town.

Put it all together and it is easy to see that solar power is a boon to the economy - and we haven’t even touched on its environmental benefits!  (Did someone say, “Climate Change"?)

Just three reasons why 2013 is the Year to Go Solar!

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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