The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) released an eight-point economic stimulus plan of action to bring the benefits of solar and storage to more consumers and support thousands of local jobs.
In a recent industry survey, 92% of solar and energy storage businesses reported negative impacts on their operations as a result of COVID-19. Businesses reported laying off or furloughing 21% of employees, indicating a loss of 15,600 solar and storage jobs in California during the first six weeks of the pandemic.
At the same time, interest in solar and storage from residential, government and commercial consumers looking to save money and secure reliable clean energy remains high, the organization said in a press release. Solar and storage companies in California reported a pipeline of projects and a general sense of optimism in the future if steps are taken now to support this emerging industry.
“Local solar and battery storage projects are the most ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects around,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CALSSA. “Even though COVID-19 dealt our industry a heavy blow, we are ready to put people back to work, open up new career opportunities to thousands more, and help grow our economy around clean energy.”
Recovery and growth of the state’s most promising clean energy marketplace will require that policymakers remove barriers and encourage consumer investment.
Prior to the pandemic, the state’s local solar and storage industry supported more full-time jobs than the traditional fossil-fuel dependent utilities combined. CALSSA’s eight-point plan of action is aimed at helping to guide and inform policymaking in the next six months with short and longer-term steps including:
- Expand and Extend the Federal Investment Tax Credit
- Launch Resilient Schools Initiative
- Cut Red Tape Through “No Touch” Permitting
- Launch One Million Solar-Charged Batteries Initiative
- Unleash Power of Existing Ratepayer Storage & Equity Programs
- Remove Utility Barriers for Connecting Solar & Storage Systems
- Increase Efforts to Reduce Natural Gas Usage in Buildings
- Protect Clean Energy Investments from Unnecessary Local Taxes
“Our solar and storage projects occur in every part of California bringing the promise of jobs and consumer savings to every part of the state including the Central Valley,” Del Chiaro said. “What’s more, our projects take anywhere from a few days to a few months to complete, can be done safely outdoors and have the added value of making our communities more energy resilient to future disasters or planned electricity outages.”
News item from CALSSA