SEPA 51st State Initiative Now Open for Submissions SEPA51.org Website Goes Live

Launched at Solar Power International last month in Las Vegas, the 51st State is aimed at challenging a broad range of energy industry stakeholders -- from think-tank analysts and utility staffers to electric-bill-paying consumers -- to come up with new ideas for building a clean, affordable and resilient power system.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Electric Power Association is today releasing guidelines and opening up the website for its 51st State Initiative to kick off a three-month submission period.


Launched at Solar Power International last month in Las Vegas, the 51st State is aimed at challenging a broad range of energy industry stakeholders -- from think-tank analysts and utility staffers to electric-bill-paying consumers -- to come up with new ideas for building a clean, affordable and resilient power system. The starting point for these ideas is a hypothetical 51st state where no market structures or rules exist, SEPA CEO Julia Hamm said during her keynote at SPI.

As of today, individuals and groups will be able to download the 51st State guidelines at www.SEPA51.org and start a two-step process for submitting their ideas. By Dec. 17, participants will need to complete a simple online form with a brief description of their ideas. Fully developed proposals will be due Feb. 27, 2015 and will be reviewed by an independent, five-member Innovation Review Panel. A webinar on the initiative and submission process is schedule for Dec. 8.

The members of the review represent a cross-section of energy industry thought leaders. They are:

*Ron Binz, a former member of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and now a principal at Public Policy Consulting
*Nancy E. Pfund, founder and managing partner of venture capital firm DBL Investors
*Jim Rogers, former president and CEO of Duke Energy
*Jigar Shah, author, entrepreneur and founder of SunEdison
*Susan Tierney, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Energy and now senior advisor at Analysis Group in Boston

SEPA will showcase the most innovative, comprehensive proposals at a 51st State Summit set for April 27 in San Diego, in conjunction with the organization's 2015 Utility Solar Conference.

A 51st State Facebook page is now live to promote crowdsourcing and brainstorming of ideas in any and all forms, from short, quick-hit pitches to videos or infographics.

"We launched the 51st State Initiative to help find workable alternatives to the policy logjams now causing uncertainty for solar and other forms of distributed energy in a growing number of states." Hamm said. "We are looking for detailed proposals that can be turned into real-world policies or pilot programs, but you don't have to be an expert to participate. We also want the initiative to serve as a platform for a community of creative thinkers who will push the boundaries of what many people think is possible."

A download of the 51st State submission guidelines and the on-line form for initial submissions can be found at www.SEPA51.org. Full bios of the Innovation Review Panel members are attached.

About SEPA: The mission of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is to support utilities' integration of solar energy to the benefit of themselves, their customers and the public good. As a nonprofit, SEPA provides research and educational and networking events -- including webinars, conferences and fact-finding trips -- to stakeholders across the industry. Visit SEPA online at www.solarelectricpower.org.

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