Action Statements

Several SOLAR 2017 participants offered the following action statements.

Delivering a clean energy future depends on the performance of RE systems that we put in today.  It’s not only about how many GW of solar we install, but equally important how those systems perform over a very long-time period and how they actually affect operations of conventional generation and utility systems.   Andy Walker

Governments, businesses, organizations, and citizens, among others, have realized the importance of taking action on climate change and the need to boost renewable energy generation.  Due to rapid development, the demands of comfort, and a growing world population, energy consumption is rising tremendously year by year.  Working to transition to a 100% renewable energy society, per the theme of SOLAR 2017, can subsequently help meet this energy demand while reducing air pollutants and other negative environmental impacts.  Solar energy systems are one of the most practical ways for folks to capture energy from the sun’s rays to provide electricity to a building.  Since this resource is renewable, there is a theoretically infinite amount of power that can be generated throughout the life of solar panels.  The speakers and sessions at SOLAR 2017 highlighted key strategies to accelerate solar energy investment and deployment, ultimately making progress toward a renewable energy world.  Gilbert Michaud

The energy transition is happening. Wind and solar prices have dropped to the point where renewables are the new energy resource of choice and soon it will be financially efficient to replace existing fossil fuel generation with renewables. Balancing the grid will remain a challenge but the price of storage is also dropping by half every few years, and adding electric vehicles to the grid, along with smart technologies to help manage loads, will allow for a 100% carbon free grid sooner than even the most optimistic experts predicted ten years ago.  Maggie Winslow, Professor, University of San Francisco

Freedom from Fossil Fuels. As an architect in the 1980's, I made a commitment to work towards a renewable energy society. Since then I’ve been continually working to implement that in my own life by building a passive solar home in New Jersey in 1984, and over time adding a solar hot water system, mini ductless heat pumps, two solar photovoltaic systems, and finally achieving a zero net energy home in 2016. What a great feeling to be free from fossil fuels ! And for the past five years I’ve been driving electric vehicles (Leaf and Bolt EV) – what a liberating feeling to plug in the car in my garage using solar energy from my roof top system. Alan Spector, AIA

The solar industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, as shown in our annual National Solar Jobs Census of the last seven years. In 2016, the solar workforce grew by 25%, meaning one in fifty new jobs in the US last year was a solar. However, with this rapid growth come many challenges in training and maintaining a qualified workforce. Reducing the difficulty that employers are experiencing in finding qualified workers, while also improving and standardizing training practices, will reduce the soft costs of installing solar and greatly benefit the industry.  Building the Solar Workforce: Colin Nackerman, The Solar Foundation