Solar Energy Industries Association

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Solar Energy Industries Association
SEIA 40th Anniversary Logo.png
Formation January 24, 1974; 41 years ago (1974-01-24)
Legal status association
Purpose national association of the U.S. solar industry
Headquarters Washington, D.C., United States
President and CEO
Rhone Resch

The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®), established in 1974, is a national nonprofit trade association of the solar energy industry in the United States. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar power in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.[1] SEIA is the only organization that advocates for solar public policy on both the state and national level.

SEIA's membership includes companies from all dimensions of the solar industry, such as residential, commercial, and utility scale installers of solar photovoltaic (PV), solar thermal energy (STE), and concentrating solar power (CSP). Member companies also include manufacturers, distributors, financiers and other service providers.[2]

SEIA played a pivotal role in the initial adoption of the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), which was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), signed by President George W. Bush. The association also advocated for the extension of the ITC in 2007 and 2008,[3] and continues to fight for its inclusion in the federal tax code.

In collaboration with an extensive network of industry partners and solar experts, SEIA provides widely-read regional and national data including the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report®,[4] the Solar Means Business report,[5] A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools,[6] a national database on solar companies across the U.S.,[7] and ongoing research about solar energy’s role across the country, including in the military[8] and in professional sports.[9]

Geographic and sector-specific interests have founded separate advocacy groups that are more focused in scope than the national organization. There are fifteen state-level, autonomous industry associations, not officially connected to the national organization. The largest of these is CalSEIA in California. A number of groups have formed around market segments. The residential distributed generation segment largely advocates through The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), a group formed in 2013.[10] The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) was formed to fight against SolarWorld's trade petition and includes around 80 members from a broad spectrum of the industry.[11] The American Solar Energy Society provides a leading forum for solar advocates and gives individual solar professionals a place to share ideas and innovate together.[12] Other national advocacy groups include Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Large Scale Solar Association (LSA), and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).

Utility-scale solar photovoltaic (plant) in Sacramento, CA

Federal & State Policy Involvements[edit]

Investment Tax Credit Extension[edit]

SEIA played a pivotal role in the initial adoption of the 30-percent federal ITC as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. In 2008, SEIA was active in leading efforts of the solar industry to extend the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit for eight years, through December 31, 2016. The ITC was also expanded to allow utilities to take the tax credit. It removed the $2,000 cap for residential systems. This policy significantly contributed to the industry's exponential growth.[13] The association continues to fight for its extension, launching a formal campaign in 2014.[14]

Department of Treasury Section 1603 Extension[edit]

In December 2010, SEIA's lobbying efforts helped persuade the United States Congress to extend the United States Department of the Treasury Section 1603 program, which gave commercial solar investors a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). As of December 2013, the Treasury Department had awarded more than 9,000 grants totaling $18.5 billion, $4.4 billion of which went to solar projects in all 50 states.[15]

Clean Air Act Section 111(d)[edit]

In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan,[16] which limits carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants. The regulations assign each state a target rate of carbon pollution that states will be required to meet. SEIA works with states, providing assistance on how they can cost-effectively meet Clean Air Act (United States) requirements by incorporating solar energy into their energy portfolio in light of the 111(d) regulations.[17] In March of 2015, SEIA and the American Wind Energy Association released a handbook for states that details how to incorporate renewable energy into state compliance plans under the new proposed rulings. [18]

State Policy Involvement[edit]

In January 2012, SEIA officially merged with the Solar Alliance, an advocacy organization working to establish solar policies at the state level. SEIA’s state affairs division works to preserve Renewable Portfolio Standards throughout the country, as well as maintaining state-level incentives for adding solar energy generation. Other state policy priorities for the solar energy industry include:[19]

  1. Access to net metering and best practice rate design for distributed generation customers.
  2. Maintaining and expanding renewable portfolio standards or their equivalents, specifically distributed generation and solar carve outs, and pursuing recognition for solar’s capacity value and other grid/market benefits.
  3. Inclusion of solar heating and cooling (SHC) to in state Renewable Portfolio Standards.
  4. Reducing soft costs and promoting best practice interconnection and model permitting rules.
  5. Maintaining and improving cost-effective incentive programs, including tax credits/exemptions, rebates, and performance-based incentives.
  6. Increasing investment vehicles and reducing risk by encouraging long term financing and contracts for renewables; promoting third party financing and power purchase agreements (between customers/developers and developers/utilities).

Industry statistics[edit]

The SEIA-GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight® report is published quarterly with a year-end summary released in the spring. The report covers all major trends for the national industry, including total installed capacity and growth over prior quarters or years.[20]

In 2014, the solar industry reached 20 gigawatts (GW) after installing 6.3 GW of photovoltaics and 767 megawatts (MW) of concentrating solar power (CSP), a 30 percent increase over 2013.[21]

The residential market has been the fastest-growing industry segment, gaining at least 50 percent in each of the past three years, as cheaper panels and growing consumer awareness of climate change spurred interest among homeowners.[22]

SEIA also maintains comprehensive information on solar companies operating in the U.S. through the National Solar Database.[23] SEIA also tracks grid-connected, utility-scale solar projects over 1 MW through its Major Solar Projects list.[24]

Census on solar jobs[edit]

Since 2010, The Solar Foundation has produced an annual National Solar Jobs Census, as well as data on state-by-state solar job growth.[25] According to the 2014 edition, the solar industry is creating jobs nearly 20 times faster than the overall U.S. economy.[26]

Meetings and events[edit]

As a solar energy authority, SEIA works to provide its members with forums and opportunities to expand their businesses, learn and exchange ideas. SEIA provides educational seminars, webinars and networking events to connect solar professionals with their peers and key industry leaders.

The Solar Energy Trade Shows, LLC (SETS) was formed in October 2009 by SEIA and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) to organize regional, business-to-business trade shows for industry professionals working throughout the value chain of the U.S. solar energy industry. Proceeds from these events are invested in the continued growth of the U.S. solar energy market through SEIA's and SEPA's research and education activities, as well as SEIA's advocacy, research and communications efforts.

Solar Power International is the largest event with an International, North American focus. More than 15,000 solar energy industry professionals from 75+ countries attend. More than 700 leading manufacturers, service providers, and vendors exhibit on the Expo floor.

PV America is focused on the Northeast region of the U.S. solar industry, bringing together manufacturers and service providers. Thousands of PV industry professionals attend, with nearly 100 exhibiting companies.[27]

Solar Power Southeast is a new trade show, with its first annual event occurring in May 2015, focusing on the rapidly expanding Southeastern U.S. solar market, with a particular focus on Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.

Public and Public Outreach[edit]

Political action committee[edit]

The SEIA Political Action Committee (SolarPAC) enables the solar industry to support candidates who are committed to expanding the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace.[28]


The solar industry employs approximately 174,000 Americans across all 50 states and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy. As of 2014, the industry had installed enough to solar to offset 22.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking 4.7 million vehicles off of American roads.[29] The America Supports Solar webpage, an informational project of SEIA, shares installation and jobs data, statistics, and answers to frequently asked questions.[30]

The Solar Generation USA Road Trip is a public service announcement and webisode series that travels the country to meet the people embracing solar energy. By giving voice to project developers, manufacturers, installers, and customers - the series showcases people using solar power for their homes, businesses and public buildings.[31]

International efforts[edit]

SEIA has worked with the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and a coalition of international solar and renewable energy organizations to participate in the United Nations Climate Change conferences, starting in Copenhagen in 2009.[32]

SEIA has also advocated on behalf of U.S. solar companies to reach a negotiated solution to trade disputes between the U.S. And Chinese governments in regards to solar module import tariffs.[33] In 2014, SEIA drafted a proposed settlement between the two countries that aims to maintain a fair and transparent global trading system for solar modules.[34]


  1. ^ "SEIA Homepage". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  2. ^ "About SEIA". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  3. ^ "Federal Solar Tax Credits Extended Until 2016". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Solar Market Insight". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  5. ^ "Solar Means Business Report". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  6. ^ "Solar in Schools". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  7. ^ "National Solar Database". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  8. ^ "Solar in the Military". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  9. ^ "Solar in Sports". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  10. ^ "The Alliance for Solar Choice Homepage". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  11. ^ "CASE Homepage". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  12. ^ "ASES Homepage". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  13. ^ "The Case for the ITC". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  14. ^ "SEIA Launches New Campaign to Extend Solar Investment Tax Credit". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  15. ^ "1603 Treasury Program". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  16. ^ "Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  17. ^ "Clean Air Act Section 111(d)". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  18. ^ "A Handbook for States:Incorporating Renewable Energy into State Compliance Plans for EPA's Clean Power Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  19. ^ "State Solar Policy". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  20. ^ "US Solar Market Insight Report". SEIA. 
  21. ^ "Solar Market Insight Report 2014 Q4". SEIA. 
  22. ^ "U.S. Solar Jumps 30% as Residential Installs Exceed 1 Gigawatt". Bloomberg. 
  23. ^ "National Solar Database". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  24. ^ "Major Solar Projects". SEIA. 
  25. ^ "State Solar Jobs Census". The Solar Foundation. 
  26. ^ "Solar Jobs Census". The Solar Foundation. 
  27. ^ "PV America". 
  28. ^ "SolarPAC". 
  29. ^ "U.S. Solar Market Insight". Retrieved 2015-03-26. 
  30. ^ "America Supports Solar". 
  31. ^ "The Solar Generation". 
  32. ^ EPIA Publication GMO 2013, 2013
  33. ^ "U.S.-China Trade Case". 
  34. ^ "Draft Recommendation to Governments for the Establishment of a U.S.-China Solar Agreement". 

External links[edit]