For Immediate Release -- Oregon’s statewide solar trade association sharply criticized the process that led to today’s release of a draft report, comparing a state utility regulatory agency to “a student who procrastinated on a school assignment.”
The Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association’s (OSEIA) comments came on the heels of a draft report released today by the Oregon Public Utility Commission that suggested “potentially radical” changes in Oregon’s solar energy policy. The commission is developing the report in response to House Bill 2941 passed in the 2015 session of the Oregon legislature. The legislation directed the commission to evaluate a range of solar programs and submit its report by September 15, 2016.
In an effort to empower energy deficient communities with a reliable energy source, Portland-based non-profit Twende Solar (Twende) is embarking on two off-grid solar installations in 2016. Seeking to revolutionize the academic capacity of two rural schools, Twende is installing a 6.6kW solar PV system on a high school in a remote rainforest community of Guatemala and a 26kW system on a middle school outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. In partnership with three other Oregon-based organizations, these projects are indicative of the forward-thinking and socially-minded values Oregonians hold true.
This is the first of a series of interviews in my exclusive column series on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a solar professional, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might choose to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Jordan Weisman, owner and founder of Sunbridge Solar, which, at the time of the interview, has eight staff, with one team of installers. I chose Jordan because he is a company founder, and through my work with him and his team, it is clear that Jordan holds a strong commitment to creating and maintaining a thriving culture at Sunbridge.
The year 1999 was pivotal for Oregon energy policy. The Oregon legislature adopted Senate Bill 1149 that year that has provided the basis for energy and utility regulation since. The bill was a wide-ranging piece of legislation that dealt with lots of issues. But perhaps most important, the bill created a stream of funding for increased energy efficiency and renewable resources and also gave the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) the authority to contract with “an independent third-party nonprofit organization” to administer those funds.Read more
My solar story starts in the “dial-up” days of the internet when I stumbled upon something called Earthships. Intrigued by the idea of a completely self-contained home built from waste tires, I took off for Taos New Mexico to check them out...I have come to realize how important our tax credits and incentives are to my business and the Oregon solar industry.
So along with my membership in OSEIA, I have decided to put my money where my future lies and support the Oregon SolarPAC with a monthly contribution.
Although organized political giving is new for Oregon’s solar industry, it has long been standard practice for many, if not most, other Oregon professional trade organizations and businesses to lobby the legislature. Here’s a sampling of several other groups’ political giving to Oregon candidates and campaigns during the 2013-14 election cycle:
POLITICAL GIVING IN THE 2013-2014 ELECTION CYCLE
(Source: Oregon Secretary of State’s ORESTAR Database)Read more
On Tuesday, July 19th through our newly formed Oregon SolarPAC, OSEIA met with Oregon's Governor Kate Brown to discuss the importance of clean energy, especially solar energy. Joined by a consortium of renewable energy stakeholders at the Vestas offices in NW Portland, the solar industry comprised of at least 30% of all those in attendance.
The Obama Administration announced the Clean Energy Savings for All Americans Initiative, a suite of new programs that are aimed at increasing access to solar energy and energy efficiency across the United States. In the video below, President Obama describes how the flagship program, an expansion of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, will allow more Americans to go solar, including those in low income communities. By doing so, they can save money on their electric bills while helping fulfill the U.S. commitment to combat climate change. The President's message is clear: solar is a choice available to all Americans.
OSEIA is increasingly interested in ALL aspects of the solar industry including issues surrounding business ethics and consumer protection. Stay tuned for more information on how we plan to handle these issues!!!
OSEIA has two electrical code trainings scheduled for September 2016. Check out the schedule here.
The news that Governor Brown publicly proposed ending Oregon's RETC program sent shockwaves through our solar industry last week-- and for a good reason. The RETC program has been run responsibly by Oregon's Dept. of Energy, is functioning well, and is no less than crucial to our solar industry. OSEIA seeks to tell RETC's story every time we meet with policymakers. But often those opportunities occur during brief lobby meetings about pending legislation when the legislature is in session. To increase the number of policymakers who truly understand solar, OSEIA needs to expand the opportunities it has to meet and build relationships with policymakers, ideally outside the time frame of the hectic legislative session. Ultimately, our goal is for the solar industry to build legislative champions to advance the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon.
Last week, OSEIA staff alerted us to Gov. Kate Brown’s letter to the Joint Legislative Committee on Oversight of the Oregon Department of Energy. In her letter, she suggested that the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and some other tax credits be allowed to sunset. Please take a moment to write out a few of your experiences with the RETC. We need your stories to include in communications and lobbying activities over the next few months. You can send your write-up to Jeff Bissonnette at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 10.Read more
Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!
OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>