04: Micah Gold-Markel

micah gold-markel

Notes:

  • Solar-States started in 2008

  • Imputes was a speech by Van Jones about the Green Collar economy and why solar and renewable energy needs to be more inclusive to succeed

  • People all all education levels work for Solar-States and in the solar industry. Solar States employs individuals without a high school diploma up to individuals with master’s degrees.

  • Did a solar installation in 1400 N. American St., the Second State Press building. 16,000 sqft roof. 440 panels, 60% of building’s electrical load.

    • One of the three largest solar installations in the downtown area

  • Have a partnership with YouthBuild and Philadelphia Energy Authority

    • Youthbuild:

      • Teach solar track for students

      • Provide solar installation education coupled with GED

      • They hire some of the students that really excel in that class.

  • Solar States discovered early on that people with lower socioeconomic background need more support systems and resources.

    • They provide all of their employees with a work phone to stay in contact with them

    • Talk to them about their life situation outside of work and financial literacy

  • Solar States is a certified “B-corp,” This means

    • Triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit

    • Social Sustainability

    • Environmentalism

    • Transparency requirements

    • Certification audits every 2 years

    • There is an associated cost, but Micah says it’s worth it

  • Solar States started offering healthcare this year

  • Micah is from Powelton

    • Growing up, he saw:

      • Crack hit hard

      • Disenfranchisement

  • Solar States also works in Philadelphia public schools

    • Worked with Ben Franklin High School and Philadelphia Energy Authority

    • 95% of students passed the course

    • One student was offered a job with Solar States

    • Also work with Workshop School

  • Micah didn’t go to college

  • 40% of Solar States employees are minorities, 17% are women and they are looking to hire very soon and bump this number to over 20%

  • Have 7 or 8 graduates from their programs working for Solar States

  • VALUE: Biggest mistake — Knowing what you don’t know. Micah was younger when he started Solar States without a lot of experience and was a little bit over confident. Fell on face for a couple projects.

    • Got his NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certification

    • Gold standard certification for solar installers

  • PLUG: Solarize Philly through Philadelphia Energy Authority — group purchasing program.

    • For residential installation, get a discount for group paying.

    • Excellent example of collectivist action

    • Over 50 contracts signed

    • Over 1900 leads

    • 3 Installers in program:

      • Solar States

      • Moore Energy

      • Kiss Electric

  • Benefits of solar:

    • 30% Federal Tax credit

      • Dollar for dollar

      • Ex: If you owe $3,000 in taxes, but have a $3,000 credit — you owe $0.

    • For businesses:

      • Acceleration Depreciation / Bonus Depreciation:

        • Can get 50%-60% for the cost of solar back in tax credits

        • Much shorter payback periods than in past

    • Cost of equipment and installation is way down from a few years ago due to increased productivity

    • Ways to increase benefits:

      • PA Solar Jobs Bill

      • Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs)

        • Worth a lot in other states. $200 in NJ, $200 in MA, $450 in D.C — and only $3 in PA.

        • There is a bill in front of the state legislature to fix this

      • Promote practices like “net metering”

        • Requires utility to buy back at the same rate they sell it to you

  • Trump’s Administration has not changed anything regarding solar policy

    • Micah thinks the way to sell solar to those not interested in climate debate is the jobs aspect. Solar is a booming field with huge potential for job growth.

    • More jobs, lower crime, safer communities, better educational outcomes

  • Suniva Case before the International Trade Commision

    • US based solar panel manufacturer named Suniva went bankrupt

    • Before going under, filed petition to impose a tariff on all foreign made solar panels

    • This would double the cost of solar panels

    • Estimated job loss of 88,000 to 100,000

  • Solyndra is commonly used as a reason not to invest in solar, but it’s misleading

    • The loan program that funded Solyndra also loaned to approximately 80 other companies, the vast majority of which were successful

  • Micah sees Philadelphia continuing its upward trajectory

    • Mayor Kenney has been great

    • Councilman Darrel Clark founded the Philadelphia Energy Authority

      • Goal is to create 10,000 energy sector jobs

  • Philly needs to improve on:

    • Diversity in the workforce

    • Giving back to the community and the long time residents who weathered the hard times

  • Solar States’ future:

    • Continue growing

    • They are getting into projects of 1 megawatt and above

    • Looking to break into utility scale projects of 5 megawatts and above

    • Considering opening offices in PA counties where Trump won

    • 100% year over year growth for past 3 years. Both in revenue and employees

 

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