Randy Bishop, CEO, Verengo Solar
I see the internal fighting among solar companies as the most troubling issue facing the industry today. The conventional oil and gas companies and utilities must love the fact that the industry has been fighting each other in the media over the onshore vs. offshore panel production and what constitutes “unfair” competition. At a time when our relatively new business is just beginning to take off, this infighting is damaging, distracting and destroys the credibility of the entire solar industry.
Let’s keep our eyes on the big picture: the sun provides usable energy every day that also generate jobs for Americans. The U.S. economy is struggling with a current unemployment rate of 8.2%. The solar industry is one the fastest growing industries in the nation. Unfortunately the media and many of our politicians ignore the job growth and successes, and instead focus on the failures and fighting in our industry.
The strategy for moving forward is obvious. The companies currently fighting over solar panel tariffs should work to negotiate an industry-wide resolution as suggested by SEIA last May. Cooperation and collaboration, not government intrusion, is what our industry needs.
It’s time to stop issuing negative press releases and get back to talking about the good news we all see in our jobs every day. Verengo recently held a job fair in Fresno, an area with an unemployment rate of over 20% and some of the worst air pollution in the state. Three hundred fifty people showed up, and our hope is that 40 or 50 of those attendees will be working in the solar industry by the end of year. That’s the kind of story our industry should be telling.
Randy Bishop and the co-founder and CEO of Verengo Solar, a residential solar installation company that operates in California and New Jersey.