The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) has released an eight point economic stimulus plan of action to bring the benefits of solar and storage to more consumers and support thousands of locals jobs.
In a recent industry survey 92 percent of solar and storage businesses pointed to negative impacts on their operations as a result of COVID-19. Businesses reported laying off or furloughing 21 percent of employees, indicating a loss of 15,600 solar and storage jobs in California during the first six weeks of the pandemic.
At the same time, interest in a solar and storage from residential, government, and commercial consumers looking to save money and secure reliable clean energy remains high, CALSSA said.
“Local solar and battery storage projects are the most ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects around. Even though COVID-19 dealt our industry a heavy blow, we are ready to put people back to work, open up new career opportunities to thousands more, and help grow our economy around clean energy.”Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CALSSA.
Recovery and growth of the state’s most promising clean energy marketplace will require that policy makers remove barriers and encourage consumer investment. Prior to the pandemic, the state’s local solar and storage industry supported more full-time jobs than the traditional fossil-fuel dependent utilities combined.
CALSSA’s eight-point plan of action is aimed at helping to guide and inform policy making in the next six months with short and longer term steps including:
- Expand and Extend the Federal Investment Tax Credit;
- Launch Resilient Schools Initiative;
- Cut Red Tape Through “No Touch” Permitting;
- Launch One Million Solar-Charged Batteries Initiative;
- Unleash Power of Existing Ratepayer Storage & Equity Programs;
- Remove Utility Barriers for Connecting Solar & Storage Systems;
- Increase Efforts to Reduce Natural Gas Usage in Buildings; and
- Protect Clean Energy Investments from Unnecessary Local Taxes.
“Our solar and storage projects occur in every part of California bringing the promise of jobs and consumer savings to every part of the state including the Central Valley. What’s more, our projects take anywhere from a few days to a few months to complete, can be done safely outdoors, and have the added value of making our communities more energy resilient to future disasters or planned electricity outages.”