Monday, June 20, 2011

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Update from Harrisburg June 16, 2011

Representative Chris Ross continues to seek co-sponsors for House bill #1580. The good news is we hit a whopping 66 co-sponsors yesterday and that’s a lot of persistent work on your part! Keep it up.

Please check it against the House members you are in touch with and see if your Representative or ones you have spoken with are listed and if not, please get back to them. If you are a PASEIA member, you can email to request the updated co-sponsor list.

The legislative session will recess some time on or before June 30, 2011 and they are likely to pass the budget and pass a severance or impact fee on Marcellus Shale gas before they leave Harrisburg. There were about 325 people gathered in Harrisburg visiting legislators on the gas tax last week and I believe that effort has helped move the gas tax issue just as your efforts on May 24th and beyond has moved our solar issues. Once the budget is passed and the Marcellus Shale gas tax passed, I think we can get the legislature to move the Ross’s bill. It will be up to us to continue to seek co-sponsors to demonstrate to leadership and the Governor’s office that there is support for the Ross legislation.

We will need to work over the summer on building momentum for Fall passage which starts mid-September and usually runs to around Thanksgiving depending on what they are trying to accomplish before the end of the year. This gives us more time to expand our reaches to solar advocates, solar customers, supportive unions, students, business associations and anyone else we can get to support our legislative campaign. We will be working with Vote Solar’s Peter Olmsted to help expand on the “team leader” approach we established leading up to our May 24th lobby day. By working through a regional network, we can effectively work with interested solar businesses and advocates to continue to build awareness and work on “yes” votes for a swift Fall campaign.

We continue to get very strong press on our solar issue, particularly the Philadelphia Inquirer but other papers too. You can access these stories on this site, below. Over the summer, please try to get your local press to write articles and author letters to the editor which will serve to build awareness and keep the pressure on. Talking points, sample letters, press release and other materials are available on the site for your reference. In addition, Photon USA is doing a comprehensive story in their July edition of their magazine and several other solar trade magazines and on line services have covered the story.

Finally, these campaigns are expensive to run and are hard to finance with member dues alone. If you aren’t a PASEIA member or you or your customers would simply like to make a contribution without joining but want to stay informed, that information is also in the website and do so today if this victory is important to you.

Submitted by Maureen Mulligan
Government relations and lobbyist PASEIA

Recently Published Articles:

Allentown Morning Call
Published: June 12, 2011
Media: Op-Ed written by Ron Celentano
Title: “PA Proposal Would Boost Solar Business”
Central Pennsylvania Business Journal
Published: May 27, 2011
Media: Article written by Jason Scott
Title: “A Shadow Over Solar”
Philadelphia Inquirer
Published: May 24, 2011
Media: Article written by Andrew Maykuth
Title: “Pennsylvania’s Solar Industry Suffering from Success”
Published: May 30, 2011
Media: Editorial
Title: “Solar Makes Sense”
Published: May 31, 2011
Media: Op-Ed written Hal Marcovitz
Title: “Cloudy Day for Solar Homes”
Published: June 5, 2011
Media: Article written by Andrew Maykuth
Title: “Solar Energy Output is Outpacing PA Mandate”
Published: June 7, 2011
Media: Article written by Diane Mastrull
Title: “NewAge Industries Installs Rooftop Solar Energy System”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: May 24, 2011
Media: Article written by Laura Olson
Title: “State Not Using Available Solar Energy, State Rep Says”
Published: May 25, 2011
Media: Article written by Laura Olson
Title: “State Rep to PA Utilities: Buy More Solar Energy”
Pottstown Mercury
Published: June 11, 2011
Media: Op-Ed written by Ron Celentano
Title: “Now is the Time to Support Solar”
PV Magazine
Published: June 8, 2011
Media: Article written by Jonathan Gifford
Title: “Hershey’s Sweet PV Installation Soured by Poor Renewable Energy Generation Incentives”
Republican Herald
Published: June 1, 2011
Media: Editorial
Title: “Don’t Let Sun Set on PA Jobs”
Scranton Times-Tribune
Published: May 26, 2011
Media: Editorial
Title: “Don’t Let Sun Set on PA Jobs”
Published: June 12, 2011
Media: Article written by Eileen Godin
Title: “Fight for Solar Power Heats Up”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Action Item for Memorial Day week to advance solar in Pennsylvania

Please reach out to your area legislators, particularly the House members or ones you may have visited when in Harrisburg last week and take the following action:

Call your House Member district office and talk to them over the phone about supporting HB #1580 (Ross). Better yet, set up a short meeting with your legislator in their district office this week. If you were in Harrisburg, this may be a brief follow up meeting. If you can take another solar business or a customer or two with you, all the better but not necessary. Legislators are often more able to spend time with you when they are in their district office but they may be more willing to accommodate you without a lot of notice if they think you will only take 15 minutes of their time, although often meetings will go longer. The legislators will likely be in their district offices all this week and they will return to Harrisburg June 6th. We are nearing the end of the legislative session before they break for the summer and we want to move the bill as far as possible before the break.

One meeting with them will not get the job done.
It is important you follow up.
  • See if the Member has any questions or concerns about the legislation. Make a note of it.
  • Ask if they will be voting for the bill if it comes up. If not, find out why. We can design our responses around the "No Votes" to try to convince them to vote with us. A "no" can some times to turned into a "yes" although some will never change their minds.
  • Thank them for co-sponsoring if they have done so. We are now up to 39 co-sponsors. We had 30 before PASEIA's press conference and lobby day so your work paid off.
  • PASEIA is beginning to track "yes" "no" and "maybe" votes on a central spreadsheet. Please email your legislators response to Linda Johansson at, so PASEIA can track where to expend our efforts that will be most effectively move our agenda.
  • If you call your Senator, remember that there isn't a Senate version of the bill at this point. We hope to have one soon and will let you know via these email blasts. If you call your Senator along with your House Member, remember to let them know you understand there is no senate version at this time, but you are calling to inform them of the SREC problem and let them know about HB 1580. Ask them if they are likely to support a bill that would help the solar industry weather this market change.
  • Don't forget to make use of PASEIA's talking points, Q&A, sample letters and other materials. We will be developing another letter that will look at impacts of Marcellus Shale on solar, revenues lost to the state if solar stalls etc.
Please don't put off taking action. Time is very short.
The legislature could recess after they pass the budget in
both the House and the Senate and it has already passed
the House on May 24th.

Maureen Mulligan
PASEIA Lobbyist and Government Relations

For information about your House and Senate members:

Please read recently published articles in:
Philadelphia Inquirer: PA Can Do More To Promote Solar Energy,
Solar Makes Sense, Cloudy Day For Solar Homes
Scranton Times: Don't Let Sun Set On PA Jobs
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: State Rep to PA Utilities: Buy More Solar