The California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) released a new report titled Shovel Ready for Recovery: A Blueprint for Jobs and Economic Recovery Through Local Solar and Storage Investments, highlighting the benefits of job creation, clean energy, and energy security Investments in line with CALSSA’s ten-point action plan are highlighted by local solar and storage systems.
California’s local solar and storage industry is helping the state move to clean, renewable energy while turning on the lights for everyday consumers and businesses. Today, one million solar systems in schools, farms, businesses, homes, and low-income homes across California produce nearly 13 billion kWh of clean energy each year, saving 5 million tons of CO2 annually. More than 30,000 energy storage systems are connected to a growing number of these solar systems, which are connected to the grid and offer a storage capacity of 1 million kWh. Local solar and energy storage projects are labor intensive.
The industry receives tens of thousands of local jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity within the state. 60 full-time jobs are supported by every megawatt of local solar power, and California built 1,200 MW of local solar power in 2019.
“As California seeks ways to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, solar energy can create jobs, reduce customer electricity bills, and help make the grid more resilient to forest fires and other extreme weather events,” said Ethan Elkind, Director of the Climate Program at the Law, Energy, and Environment Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “The sun’s fuel is free and clean, so the upfront cost means more jobs and less pollution.”
COVID-19 and the resulting macroeconomic standstills across the state temporarily brought a burgeoning, distributed solar and storage industry to a standstill. The small and medium-sized enterprises that make up the majority of the industry, as well as the large manufacturers and national aggregators, are regaining a foothold as customer activity increases. With the right policies and investments, California can bring back a resilient solar and storage industry stronger than ever to advance California’s clean energy goals, create local jobs, build a more reliable power grid, and give consumers choice and control over their energy choices give.
CALSSA’s Ten Point Action Plan calls on Heads of State to:
- Start the “One Million Solar Batteries” initiative
- Start the initiative for resilient schools
- Protection and extension of the guidelines for measuring net energy
- Cut bureaucracy through automated approvals and virtual inspections
- Enable customer batteries to help with power emergencies
- Unlock the power of existing Ratepayer Storage & Equity programs
- Remove the supply barriers for connecting solar and storage systems
- Increased efforts to reduce natural gas consumption in buildings through solar hot water technologies
- Expand and expand Federal Investment Tax Credit
- Protect investments in clean energy from unnecessary local taxes
“The commitment to expanding distributed solar energy and battery storage in California is an unfortunate investment that is a legacy that will remain,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, General Manager of CALSSA. “The benefits of solar and energy storage technologies are shared across the state in terms of local jobs, community savings, and economic opportunity.”
Implementing CALSSA’s Ten Point Action Plan would add an estimated 250,000 solar job years and nearly 50,000 additional storage-related job years – jobs that are inherently local in the communities where workers live. It would bring an estimated $ 1.6 billion in energy savings for homes and $ 2.4 billion in energy savings for non-residential buildings annually. California would add nearly 16 million MWh of solar energy to California’s energy portfolio each year and avoid 12 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
During a virtual briefing, industry leaders and energy experts discussed the findings of the report and the benefits of government incentives expanding local solar and storage capacity to help California’s economic recovery while meeting the state’s clean energy needs.
“In 2019, our partnership with Grid Alternatives helped 238 low-income families save over $ 5.6 million in energy savings from solar roofing,” said Devin Hampton, CEO of UtilityAPI. “We’re saving consumers money during the economic downturn.”
“Distributed energy storage solutions will continue to be viable and resilient options for consumers given the dispersed workforce,” said Catherine Von Burg, CEO of SimpliPhi Power, a California-based manufacturer. “Our sales have increased by 40% due to the increased demand for energy storage and helps us create new jobs every week.”
“We started CED Greentech with four people and now have 12 people,” said Troy Carroll, operations manager at CED Greentech Bakersfield. “Half of our employees have switched from oil to solar. This is a testament to how big the Central Valley market is, but also how solar and storage are becoming more affordable and convenient.”
Message from the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA)