Most people who follow the solar industry closely believe the focus of solar policy decisions is no longer at the federal level. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) agrees, which is why is forming a Midwest State Committee to expand its state-level solar advocacy network.
According to SEIA’s announcement, the committee, will focus specifically on seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The association chose these states because they installed significantly more solar capacity in 2016 than in 2015. They have also been identified by GTM Research as fertile solar ground, which could install 1 GW of capacity by 2021.
“Over the next few years, the Midwest has the potential to become a hotbed of solar growth, with all the benefits that brings,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “This committee will provide a platform for solar companies to come together and help drive the industry’s messaging and stance on key policies that can transform Midwest power markets into a national leader in innovation and modernization.”
In the recent past, with the fight for the federal investment tax credit (ITC) taking center stage, SEIA has focused primarily on policy in Washington D.C. But with the ITC at least temporarily stable, the association’s move to the Midwest reflects the acknowledgement that the next solar battles will take place at the state level – and current activity proves the theory.
In the past three months, the industry has seen:
- a bill introduced in Indiana that would effectively kill net-metering;
- Gov. Jerry Brown insisting California will carry on with its clean-energy revolution despite potential opposition from the current administration;
- New Hampshire’s Public Utilities Commission’s staff suggested tweaks to its net-metering policies;
- Hawaii’s electric utility filed its latest plan for integrating solar on its grid;
- Minnesota’s solar incentive under attack in its legislature;
- Maryland’s legislature reinstating its Clean Energy Jobs Act by overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of it last spring.
- Arizona’s decision to effectively dismantle the net-metering infrastructure there.