A thank-you letter to SEIA members summarizing some of the accomplishments of 2015

Accomplishments of the Solar Industry in 2015

Rhone Resch | SEIA

We stand in the early moments of the greatest era in American solar history. Together, we will witness growth in solar markets across the country at levels unimaginable at the start of this decade.

As we charge ahead, I invite you to reflect for a moment on how we got here.  Last year was the most productive, game-changing year in the history of solar policy. From extending the federal Investment Tax Credit well into the next decade, to expanding state markets and launching new initiatives to increase policymaker understanding of our industry, 2015 yielded unprecedented success.

None of this could have happened without support from our members. You participated in our action alerts, our lobby days and our calls for action.  You took action to urge Congress to extend the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and through SEIA sent more than 35,000 individual emails to Capitol Hill. 

Your support allowed us to expand our reach with the Obama Administration and with Congressional Republicans. It allowed us as an industry to speak with one voice, and open up markets throughout the country. So thank you!

As a result of all this hard work, 2015 will prove to be the industry's biggest ever with nearly 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity, giving the U.S. enough solar to power more than 5 million homes.

These accomplishments did not go unnoticed. We shaped the positive message about solar energy in numerous high-profile news publications this year, including the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, FOX Business and Bloomberg.

Perhaps most amazing is that we are only getting started. The next decade can firmly establish solar as America’s power source of choice. But we need to continue to fight with the unity, strength, and dedication that powered us forward last year. And we need all of you to stand together and push solar forward.

Today, more than 7,000 companies in the U.S. solar industry are sitting on the sidelines. They’re not SEIA members. Yet, they’re benefiting from the dedication of those who are. If you are not a member, or have joined a state affiliate, but not national SEIA, it is now time to step up and get involved. Why? Because SEIA is shaping the future of solar and we need you to be part of it.

Tough battles await in 2016 and beyond that SEIA can’t win without you. From working with Congress on a new energy bill, to ensuring optimal  “commence construction” rules, and from building energy infrastructure to better enable solar projects, to challenging utilities that are trying to slow solar development, there is much left for us to accomplish.

And the list goes on. In the states, the recent Net Energy Metering (NEM) ruling in Nevada at the end of 2015 demonstrates that we are increasingly under attack at the state level, and we will continue to fight for solar-friendly NEM, strong Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) and Clean Power Plan implementation that recognizes the value of solar energy in cost-effectively slashing carbon emissions.

To those of you who are already SEIA members, I want to personally thank you for everything you've done to help make 2015 solar's best year yet. And if you took action to urge Congress to extend the ITC, you were part of the groundswell that pushed the ITC over the finish line.

To those who have not yet joined SEIA, now is the time. We will continue to deliver concrete results, and you can play a role in this winning team.  A team that extended the ITC against long odds and widely-held doubt.

We have massive opportunities and challenges ahead. Whether your interest is in federal or state policy, understanding how to enter or expand in these unprecedented U.S. markets, or simply being better informed by the voice of the solar industry, join us now. 

Here is a sample of our accomplishments in 2015:

  • First and foremost, we secured a long-term extension of the ITC. This success will make every company more profitable and pump more than $150 billion into our industry. Our analysis shows the ITC extension will quadruple solar generation in America in the next six years, creating more than 220,000 NEW jobs by 2020. How has the future of your company changed in the last month with the extension of the ITC?
  • SEIA shaped the final Clean Power Plan to include much more aggressive goals than originally proposed and to prioritize solar as a compliance option for states. The solar targets in the final plan will open up massive markets for our industry across the country.
  • We helped create RPS policies in California and New York that mandate that 50% of the states' electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. SEIA’s state committees were influential in shaping the debate in these states as well as achieving big RPS victories Colorado, Hawaii and Vermont.
  • SEIA was in the trenches in more than 10 states fighting to protect and expand NEM policies, including big victories in CaliforniaColorado and New Jersey.
  • We worked with the Administration to ensure that the landmark international climate agreement, COP21 in Paris, generated another big win for solar, a win that will benefit U.S. solar markets for years to come.
  • And we helped create the Global Solar Council, an organization made up of national trade associations that will seek to create new markets, break down trade barriers and support the global solar marketplace.

Thank you and I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. 


Rhone Resch,
President and CEO, SEIA

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