Russell Seifert Chairman's Remarks - "GA Solar Elects a New Chair"

GA Solar Elects a New Chair - Russell Seifert

These are exciting times in the solar industry. Ten years ago, in 2008, the cost of a solar panel installation was $8.82 per watt.

The solar industry today looks very different: in addition to solar panel efficiency increasing dramatically, solar panel producers have significantly improved their manufacturing processes. Solar installers, too, can deploy solar PV across the United States more efficiently now than they could 10 years ago.

The result: the price of solar has fallen by over 60 percent, to just $3.14/watt. This market has followed the pattern of Moore’s Law in the computer and semi-conductor industry.

Solar energy is creating more jobs than any other sector of the economy. Plus, energy storage is becoming more mainstream. Homeowners and business owners alike see the “Real Value” in a sustainable product that lasts longer than most other investments they make in their lifetime.

That being said, a new phase of our work as a maturing industry has begun. We cannot just sit back and let the market do its thing. We have seen surrounding states’ (e.g., North Carolina, South Carolina) newly initiated programs rise and pass Georgia’s progress in just a matter of a few short years.

The next 12 months will bring us some of the most critical political challenges we have yet faced as an industry: the IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) and the “Rate Case.” These two major milestones are part of the regulation the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) is mandated by Georgia law to provide as overseers of our power generation.

By the way, there are two seats on the PSC up for election this November. So, when you vote this year, (Why Your Vote Matters) we ask you to pay careful attention to these races. Your vote can make a dramatic difference in who gets elected to these two seats and, therefore, to the future of solar in our state.

This month I assumed the position of Chair for the Georgia Solar Energy Association, taking over after Don Moreland’s two successful years as Chair. Don remains a member of the board and will continue to be active in our policy initiatives. I have been a solar installer since founding my company, Creative Solar USA, in 2008, and have been on the GA Solar Board of Directors since 2014.

Last year, as GA Solar's Vice Chair, I travelled to Washington, D.C., with a delegation of solar professionals from Georgia to meet with our congressional leaders about the detrimental effects tariffs on imported solar cells and panels would have on our industry. I delivered a letter with signatures of more than 150 Georgians on this subject to our elected members of Congress. Now, I look forward to continuing the progress we have made as an industry over the past ten years despite several challenges ahead.

The Georgia Solar Energy Association Board is a “Working Board,” which means that each board member is an elected individual with a full-time job, some in the industry, along with volunteering their spare time to GA Solar. This Board’s mission is to educate, advocate and support local solar businesses. We want to see solar grow in all forms: utility scale and behind the meter (i.e., rooftop solar), creating jobs, and a more sustainable and stable grid.

In saying this as a member and the Chair, the Georgia Solar Energy Association operates on donations, grants and your membership. For the organization to move forward at an even stronger pace, we ask for your continued support for our mission to create a sustainable and more stable energy future for our families, businesses and the State of Georgia. You may not have the time to get involved, however, your financial contribution is essential to the future of solar in Georgia. Join as an individual, corporate, or municipal member, whatever your finances permit.

We want you to know we appreciate your support for the continued growth of Georgia’s solar market.

Thank You!
Russell Seifert

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