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RECAP: “Solar State of Play” Panel Covers Climate on Solar Policy, Financing, Technology and Market Adoption


Two Thursdays ago, solar specialists and enthusiasts crowded the WNYC Jerome L. Greene Performance Space for the Clean Energy Connections, Solar State of Play forum. This was the 14th installment of the Clean Energy Connections partnership between Solar One and NYC ACRE, to discuss clean energy topics before live and streaming web audiences. Greentech Media joined us again as our primary press sponsor and Managing Editor of the publication’s “Breaking Energy” platform, Conway Irwin, served as the moderator for the evening’s panel discussion.

Alison Kling, NYC Solar Coordinator at Sustainable CUNY, welcomed guests with an overview of her program and role in NYC’s solar scene. Since 2009, Kling has worked with Sustainable CUNY to lead the day-to-day implementation of NYC Solar America City Partnership initiatives, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and NYSERDA.

Then, Conway Irwin, Managing Editor of Greentech Media’s “Breaking Energy”, graciously introduced the evening’s panel speakers. With a wide range of professional energy perspectives, the discussion quickly took off with competing voices covering policy, financing, technology and market adoption. The lively panel contributors were Richard Klein (President and Founder of Quixotic Systems) on solar business; Ellen Honigstock (Founder of Sustainable Kensington Windsor Terrace and Lead Organizer of Solarize Brooklyn) for the community perspective; Michael DellaGala (Managing Partner of DG Energy) on solar financing and investment; and Dana Hall (Attorney) specializing in clean energy law.

Panelists and audience members discussed the local, state and federal solar policy climate, particularly on how incentive structures can encourage or inhibit solar investment in the years to come. One panelist offered that the difficulty behind selecting projects for state funding rests in the anticipated longevity and viability of the proposed projects. This assessment spurred further dialogue on the longevity of solar installations, as well as financing options for investors who choose to build complex ventures with current solar financial incentives.

Another speaker even received a special surprise. When Dana Hall offered her take on examples of successful community solar projects, she referenced one specific pioneer in Denver, Colo., Solar Gardens. Little did she know that Joy Hughes, Founder of the Solar Gardens, happened to be in New York City for the evening and was particularly excited when an event organizer pointed to Joy in the audience. We were glad that Joy could witness the unplanned commendation by a leading industry peer.

If you missed the event and would like to hear more on the discussion, catch the twitter conversation by searching #cleanNRGx or viewing the recorded session here: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/live-event-distributed-solar-in-nyc

Also, below is also a link to the “Solar State of Play” policy primer, developed by Energy Solutions Forum: http://www.energysolutionsforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ESF-Solar-Policy-Primer.pdf

Follow Clean Energy Connections on Twitter at @CleanECNYC.