04: Micah Gold-Markel
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
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
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
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:
Benefits of solar:
Dollar for dollar
Ex: If you owe $3,000 in taxes, but have a $3,000 credit — you owe $0.
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
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:
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
Broad and Girard
Educate students who have dropped out of high school