Solar Advocates Gather For “Solar Panel Discussion”

Media Contacts
Anusha Narayanan

Environment Washington

Olympia, WA – On Thursday evening, representatives from the solar industry, Evergreen students, environmentalists and Olympia residents convened at the Evergreen State College for a “panel discussion” to determine the future of solar power in Washington State.

The night commenced with a Powerpoint presentation on how solar power works, led by Dever Kuni, Vice President of South Sound Solar, followed by questions from the audience of how accessible solar is to the public.  One of the panelists was a homeowner with solar PV systems who was able to speak to the success of solar power, as well as the affordability of it.

“I’ve consistently received over 90% of my energy from the sun since 1980,” said Ed Kenney, one of the homeowners on the panel. “Solar is about 75% less expensive now than when I upgraded it in 2009.”

According to Environment Washington, a state-wide environmental advocacy group, Washington currently receives half of one percent of its energy from the sun, despite vast solar potential. “East of the Cascades, the sun shines as much California. Even in the often cloud Puget Sound region, the sun shines more than Germany, the world’s leading solar market,” said Anusha Narayanan, Field Associate with Environment Washington.  

“ We need to enact bold solar goals and policies that can make solar more accessible and affordable for Washingtonians. When we look at other states like Minnesota and New Jersey, we see that their huge solar growth in the past year was not due to the climate but due to a commitment from decision-makers and policies that incentivize more people investing in solar power.”   

Dever Kuni,  vice-president of South Sound Solar discussed the huge growth in solar installations here in Washington.

“We are very excited to see that solar is experiencing exponential growth, in installations and jobs. There is huge potential for continued growth, and we hope that solar quickly is the source of more and more of our state’s energy. Education will really help solar expand.  The more people know that solar works in cloudy Washington the better. The more people know the local installers and manufacturers are helping our economy the better. We still have a long way to go, but solar is a very easy thing to get behind. The positive impacts of solar will remain as long as a system is installed,” said Kuni.

The Mayor of Tumwater, Pete Kmet, also sat on the panel, highlighting ways local municipalities can help grow the state’s solar industry.
Environment Washington, who pulled the panel together, wants to see Washington get 150,000 solar rooftops by 2020.

“By bringing together the voices of solar businesses and community members, we know that we can give our state leaders the support they need for Washington to go big on solar,” said Narayanan.

staff | TPIN

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