March 21, 2014
Vote Solar, a national non-profit solar advocacy organization, announced its 2014 Solar Champion Award recipients. The annual awards honor policy and utility leaders for outstanding efforts to make solar power a mainstream American energy resource.
'With Americans plugging into solar power at record rates, it's an exciting time for energy. Both the opportunities and the challenges for continued solar growth loom large in this rapidly changing electricity landscape. The three champions we honor are leading the charge to embrace innovation, find solutions and drive progress so we can repower our grid with sunshine. We applaud them for their vision and leadership,' said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar.
Vote Solar's 2014 Solar Champions are:
Governor Jerry Brown, State of California:
Since returning to office in 2010, Governor Brown has championed policy that has kept California at the forefront of our nation's growing solar market. In 2011, Governor Brown signed SB 2, codifying the nation's strongest renewable portfolio standard, a 33% by 2020 renewables goal. Last year the Governor signed a number of bills that will further expand and strengthen solar in the state, including: AB 327 to advance net metering policy and rate reform, SB 43 to establish new shared renewable energy programs, and AB 217 to expand the state's low-income solar program expansion. Governor Brown also recently established a Reserve Fund to allow promising residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs for energy and water efficiency upgrades to move forward in the state. Due to policy leadership, California has enough solar installed to power 1.26 million homes, sets new solar production records almost daily, and supports more than 47,000 local solar jobs statewide.
"We have to do everything possible in California on solar, on renewable energy, on reducing our carbon footprint," said Governor Brown. "We're still in the fight. It's only round 1 of a 15 round battle to get our climate excesses under control."
Former Commissioner Mark Ferron, California Public Utilities Commission:
Ferron spent three years at the California Public Utilities Commission working to implement and strengthen the state's commitment to clean energy. Through his tenure Commissioner Ferron served the interests of California ratepayers first and foremost, a commitment that was demonstrated on issues including natural gas pipeline safety, utility ethics violations and consumer solar rights.
His final Commissioner Report eloquently illustrated the utility regulators' critical role in the current era of rapid solar growth and electricity market innovation: 'The Commission will come under intense pressure to use (its) authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness. You - my fellow Commissioners - all must be bold and forthright in defending and strengthening our state's commitment to clean and distributed energy generation.'
Green Mountain Power, Vermont:
Green Mountain Power (GMP), Vermont's largest electric utility serves 75% of the state and is leading with exciting initiatives to increase solar use. Led by President and CEO Mary Powell, GMP is a shining example of a utility that is working to find new ways to meet strong customer demand for solar. Unlike many of its utility peers, GMP has set a precedent for recognizing the full value of increased private, distributed solar investment on its grid. The company has the goal of making Rutland, Vermont the solar capital of New England and the result is the development of a new Energy Innovation Center and new investments in economic development and renewable energy in the area. GMP has championed raising the state's net metering cap to ensure that energy customers continue to be fairly compensated for the valuable local power they deliver to the utility. Net metering is one of a number of programs GMP has championed to achieve its goals of delivering low cost, low carbon, reliable power.
'It is such an honor to be recognized by Vote Solar for this award,' said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. 'Our company believes very strongly in the future of solar and the deeper connection to energy that it fosters with our customers. In addition to working hard to deliver reliable, clean and cost effective power, we are embracing a future that has more customers powering their own homes and businesses and we want to be a catalyst and strong partner in that transformation. That is why we are working so hard to continue the important work we are doing to increase the availability of solar power."
The 2014 Award recipients were honored at Vote Solar's annual Equinox Celebration and Fundraiser held yesterday in San Francisco. The event drew more than 800 attendees from the U.S. renewable energy industry, finance, advocacy and policy communities. San Francisco Mayor Lee provided welcome remarks for the Solar Champion Award ceremony.
About Vote Solar:
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to foster economic opportunity, promote energy independence and address climate change by making solar a mainstream energy resource across the United States. Since 2002, Vote Solar has engaged at the state, local and federal levels to remove regulatory barriers and implement the key policies needed to bring solar to scale.
For more information: