BREAKING NEWS ANALYSIS: Does This Move Silence Critics?

This article appeared in The Hill newspaper this afternoon, and I must admit it took me a little by surprise. But one criticism I’ve heard of the Solar Energy Industries Association was that they didn’t do a good job of fighting on state issues.

Consider that problem, at least partially, solved.

I’m intrigued by the announced merger with the Solar Alliance, a group of several dozen manufacturers that was founded to help those manufacturers work on state-based solar issues. This infusion of talent (Carrie Cullen Hitt, current president of the Solar Alliance, will come on board at the SEIA as the vice president of state affairs), will invigorate the country’s biggest industry association and focus on state issues in a way that they haven’t been able to do to this point.

And this is good news. I credit Rhone Resch (president of the SEIA) and Hitt with driving this merger. As Hitt said in The Hill story:

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.

I’ve been calling for a national policy on solar since the first day I took this job (here, here and here), so I’m glad to see these associations merge. I look forward to seeing what aggressive moves will now happen on both the national and the state levels. This could get mighty interesting — and bodes well for the industry as we start 2012 off with a bang.

 

  • SolarFanatic

    It is true Frank, that SEIA was doing a terrible job of supporting state solar efforts. SEIA has built a large organization lobbying effectively on a national policy level, while non-utility solar companies across the naton were getting very little attention and very little political traction.

    Given SEIA is now funded and run by Utility companies, SEIA has sold out to the vision of rooftop solar in support of national policies that benefit the Utility companies, excluding nearly everyone else in the value chain. I understand their motivation; follow the market with the deep pockets and help them achieve their RPS but in the meanwhile, the rooftop solar market languishes because we have no lobby effort to support us. In the meanwhile we see the utility companies doing things like this: “PG&E CEO lays off solar investor group” http://bit.ly/yxWxnp.

    Hopefully the merger between these organizations provides an even voice across solar market segments and ensures solar power is in the hands of home and business owners where it belongs, not in the hands of the utility companies who produce energy using any source, at any cost to humanity!

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