The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) honored five public officials for their leadership in promoting clean energy alternatives, including solar power. The awards were announced at last week’s National Solar Energy Conference in Austin, Texas.Austin, Texas – June 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Solar energy is cleaning our air while enhancing our nation’s energy independence and security,” said Glenn Hamer, Executive Director of SEIA. “These leaders see the promise of clean energy alternatives, and are working to expand consumer choices to speed deployment of these nonpolluting, renewable energy sources. We applaud their hard work on behalf of their constituents.” The winners are: Governor James E. McGreevey of New Jersey NJ Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne M. Fox Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago California Senate Republican Leader James L. Brulte “Each of these leaders has taken path-breaking steps to expand consumer access to clean energy technologies like solar power,” Hamer said. “Businesses, families-and our environment-are the winners.” SEIA commended New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey and Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne M. Fox for turning New Jersey into a vanguard state promoting solar power. The state has instituted a large and successful buy-down program; sought input from renewable energy stakeholders in developing a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard that includes solar; and they are working to make net metering and interconnection simpler, which will mean homeowners, businesses and farmers will be able to connect their solar systems to the electric grid without needless red tape. Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) was honored for having figured out years ago that in order for solar, fuel cells and other point-of-use clean energy technologies to take off, users had to be able to connect to the utility grid without hassles and punitive charges. He introduced cutting-edge legislation to create uniform rules for net metering and interconnection that remain the ideal solution today. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has developed and instituted the Chicago Solar Partnership, an innovative model that has created a blossoming solar market in the Windy City. By bringing together a diverse variety of partners, Chicago is well on its way towards becoming the “green city” that the Mayor envisions. California Senate Republican Leader James L. Brulte lent his voice towards the successful effort to convince the California Public Utilities Commission not to tax solar power users in the state. Senator Brulte is also the author of California’s tax credit for solar electric installations on homes. His steadfast support for clean energy will help California solve its energy challenges in an environmentally friendly manner.