On Tuesday, January 14th, we headed to Richmond so we could spend the day talking to our legislators about improved solar policy. There are many bills on the table that would have a positive effect, and we were there to make our voices heard in support of them.
Right now, solar in Virginia is in trouble. There are arbitrary caps on solar production that were put in place years ago. Now the cap for residential and commercial solar is almost tapped out, and the cap for Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs, has been met.
In the big picture this means that the Fairfax County PPA initiative cannot be accomplished at all. And soon, we will no longer be able to install solar anywhere in Virginia. We’re doing everything we can to get this changed so we can keep on doing what we’re here for: fighting climate change every day by installing as many solar panels as possible.
Ipsun CEO Herve Billiet (right) with solar advocate Luc DeWulf.
On Tuesday we met up with about 200 grassroots clean energy advocates at the Clean Energy Lobby Day organized by Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Sierra Club Virginia Chapter. After a pre-lobby breakfast and inspiring send-off by Delegate Rip Sullivan, we headed to the Pocahontas Building for appointments with Delegates Mark Keam and Patrick Hope as well as Senators Chap Petersen and Dick Saslaw.
Delegate Rip Sullivan, patron of HB1526, the Clean Economy Act.
Delegate Mark Keam’s Solar Freedom bill and Delegate Rip Sullivan’s Clean Economy Act address all of Ipsun’s goals and many of the most pressing issues the solar industry is facing. The plan was to advocate for all of the great clean energy bills that are being discussed, and to especially highlight these bills which address solar.
When we met with our legislators, we thanked the ones who support our cause and asked them to bring others on board. For the ones who needed convincing, we explained how the arbitrary caps imposed on solar power production are literally bringing our business to a halt and killing the Fairfax schools PPA project, and this really got their attention. We also talked with each of them about the importance of updating solar policy to allow our industry to continue creating jobs, helping people own their power, saving non-profits money and helping low-income families with their power bills. Not to mention the most important mission of all: fighting climate change.
Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, climate champion and a main co-sponsor of the Clean Economy Act.
We were also thrilled and proud to have a chance to tell our story at the post-lobby rally alongside Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, Delegate Jay Jones, Geran Lorraine, Faith Community Outreach Coordinator of climate group Interfaith Power and Light, and Gundrun Campbell, an amazing 12-year-old Fridays For Future School Striker from Charlottesville. It was inspiring to hear the other speakers encourage everyone to keep fighting for what’s right.
We’re hopeful that there will be change, but the effort needs all of us to pitch in. Our legislators need to know that this issue matters to all of us and that we demand action. You can be a solar advocate right now by contacting your legislators and letting them know what you think. Check out our policy page to learn more about the bills we support and to find quick, easy ways to take action!