On a webinar about the implications of coronavirus on the U.S. solar+ value chain on Friday, March 20, SEIA urged all solar industry workers to fill out a survey to help the group understand priorities in the coming months. More than one person from a company is encouraged to complete the survey, and multiple submissions are appreciated as this is a rapidly changing situation.
“The heart of our advocacy efforts have been around the 250,000 people who work in this industry and are supporting families, paying mortgages and taking care of each other through the industry that we’re all so proud to work for,” said Erin Duncan, SEIA’s VP of congressional affairs.
Duncan said the combination of economy-wide plus solar-focused measures will help bring some stability to the industry in this time of crisis. SEIA wants to make sure member companies are able to keep their workers employed. Duncan said the group is supportive of broad-based economic stimulus proposals that help all small businesses because the vast majority of the solar industry is made up of small businesses.
On the state level, Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s VP of state affairs, said most state legislatures have suspended for now. He said states are focusing on public health responses instead of economic recovery proposals at this early stage in the pandemic. In the meantime, Gallagher said SEIA is working on finding ways to increase access to solar financing. Some states have green banks that may be able to help like they did in the 2009-2010 recession period.
John Smirnow, SEIA’s general counsel & VP of market strategy, said a priority issue for the group is getting solar included as an essential service for states so work can continue.
John Marciano, partner at Akin Gump, said COVID-19 delays on projects that were started in 2019 have no bearing on 30% ITC eligibility if those projects are online by the end of 2023. Supply and labor shortages will be the biggest challenges in meeting that 2023 deadline.
From the installer survey results so far, SEIA found the greatest overall concern is construction delays, followed by customer acquisition in the residential solar sector especially.