Phew. That may have been the longest election season in history. Even I’m glad it’s over, and I’m a political junkie.
We’ve spent much of the last 18 months (didn’t it seem like a decade?) debating, arguing and sometimes fighting about which candidate would be best for the solar industry. I made my position abundantly clear, and those on the opposite side of the political spectrum did, too. It was an incisive, spirited debate, and I’m glad to have taken part in it.
Now, the American people have made their decision. Now, at long last, we can all get back to doing what we do best — working to further the best interests of the solar industry.
Here is my five-point list of items that should top our agenda in 2013:
- Many of you may know that I’ve been on the subsidy bandwagon for months, and I’ve taken a lot of heat for it. But I had a conversation with Peter Lynch, a board member of the Principal Solar Institute, who made a compelling case for a feed-in tariff instead. I’m now on board, and I think getting a national FiT should be our top priority in 2013. Scrap the subsidies.
- We must find a (relatively painless) way to accelerate the industry’s inevitable consolidation. The slow drip of high-profile bankruptcies is drowning out the good-news message of our industry. It needs to end sooner rather than later.
- The Chinese tariff decision, for better or worse, has been decided. It split the industry, and blood was spilt. Now it’s time to bind those wounds and unite again to push our industry forward with one voice.
- We must have national licensing for solar installers. I’m not sure what body would be the most appropriate to do this, but the barriers to entry for this industry are too low. As my friend Yann Brandt articulated so well on his blog (and our website), “solar schemers” have the potential to sink the industry. We can’t allow that to happen.
- We must hold the president’s (and Congress’) feet to the fire to make sure they build policies that support our industry, now and in the future. They won’t support what they don’t understand, so make your voices heard. By the time you read this, the election will be over — but advocacy on behalf of our industry should never stop.
I’d love to hear what’s on your solar priority list in 2013. Please drop me a line at [email protected] or call me at 440-234-4531 (Ext. 110).
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