Another #SolarTechTalk episode is here! As always, our hosts Aaron Bingham and Kate Collardson — who spend their days as Product Managers at BayWa r.e. Solar Systems — are here to bring you us timely technology overviews and forecasts of the residential and commercial solar products market.

In this episode, Aaron and Kate talk federal policy with Erin Duncan, Vice President of Congressional Affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), checking in on what Erin has been tracking with the new presidential administration, and what developments she’s excited about. Then, Carter Lavin, Director of Membership at the California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA), dials in to discuss the latest battle around net energy metering in California, how to get involved, and the broader implications for the rest of the country if it passes.

(Quick Note for Listeners: We recorded this episode in early February — and as you can imagine, a few things may have changed since then. The information is still very relevant, but we want it to make sure that no one was confused by any specifics in our guest comments.)

Finally, in our new “Tales from the Roof” segment, Kate shares a wild story from the early days of solar installation.

If you also have a memorable, fun, or even scary story to share from your time out in the field, let us know! Dial into our Solar Tech Talk Storyline at 541-635-2747‬ and leave us your anecdote on voicemail. We’ll pick the best ones to play on a future show.

Enjoy our latest episode — and be sure to check out past Solar Tech Talk shows in our archives!

— Tom Miller, Marketing Director

In This Episode:

  • RAPID ROUNDUP (00:40): Kate touts a Netflix pic pick and mentions a Barry Cinnamon piece on roof orientations and other 2021 solar trends.
  • DEEP DIVE 1 (4:41): A&K catch up with SEIA’s Erin Duncan on the Biden Administration’s forward movement related to renewables, including the appointment of Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary and Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representative. We discuss what might be next for tax credits for carbon free energy generation; an ITC versus a PTC and where solar is missing out; tax structures that might support U.S.-based manufacturing. We pull at the potential side benefits of a “Build Back Better” plan, including environmental equality efforts that could boost solar jobs training and making rooftop solar more accessible to communities, more widespread solar deployment, and other exciting steps ahead.
  • STATION BREAK (28:30): A&K reflect on the shifting policy landscape at the state level, such as the Net Energy Metering 3.0 (NEM3) rules in California; Hawaii’s experience with zero export; and Nevada’s policy switch — as told in “Property Brother” Jonathan Scott’s documentary Power Trip broadcasted on PBS.
  • DEEP DIVE 2 (34:32): A&K visit with Carter Lavin of CALSSA to explain the issue around Net Energy Metering (NEM) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) — whether solar projects will be valued at more or less than what they are now — and the ripple effects of the switch from net metering to net billing. Carter explains why California is a critical stand as policies evolve in states around the country; why Californians should visit www.savecaliforniasolar.org and solarrights.org; and why solar professionals need to energize the community benefits aspect of this conversation, both in the sense of collective benefits for members of the consuming public, and the collective of solar businesses from small shops to large companies.
  • TALES FROM THE ROOF (48:17): Gather around the campfire to hear this story from Kate from the “Wild West days” of solar’s early beginnings, when contractors everywhere were still figuring things out. Things get a little sparky and a little scary, to say the least — a little reminder of how far contractors and inspectors have come along in learning on site and on the job!
Kate Collardson has worked in the solar industry since 2006 as an installer, designer, project manager, trainer, and program manager; she is currently a Product Manager for BayWa r.e. Solar Systems.
Aaron Bingham has worked in the solar industry since 2008 as a Senior Engineer and Program Coordinator.  He has been a Product Manager with BayWa r.e. Solar Systems since 2017.

SOLAR TECH TALK is a new podcast series highlighting exciting developments in our residential and commercial solar products market, featuring timely technology overviews and forecasts, plus insights from manufacturers and industry observers. Hosted by Aaron Bingham and Kate Collardson for BayWa r.e. Solar Systems (USA).

BayWa r.e. Solar Systems LLC supplies residential and commercial solar installers in the United States with quality solar + storage components, forecasting, business planning advice, and a community of experts. Visit www.solar-distribution.com to read our industry insights articles and stream our Solar Tech Talk and Solar Town Hall podcasts on YouTube and Spotify. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay connected. Ask us about our Split Pay financing program and use our industry-leading Webstore to save time, get gear shipped, and get jobs done! Part of the BayWa r.e. Global family of renewable energy companies.