And the Winner Is: Professionals and Corporations Recognized for Outstanding Work in Solar at SPI

Solar Power International served as a perfect stage for several organizations to honor industry professionals for their hard work and dedication to the solar industry.

David Bissell of Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative was named Utility CEO of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). Bissell was recognized for his hard work in bringing solar power to the island of Kaua’i with creative financing strategies. Not only is he promoting more solar projects, he also established a laboratory for innovation in engineering and utility finance, which developed plans to help cut the cost of Kaua’i utility-scale solar in half – a $200 per MWh in 2011 is now close to $100 per MWh.

“We are proud to honor David for his long-term vision, and his accomplishments in driving down costs and bringing the benefits of solar to all residents of Kaua‘I,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO.

Several U.S. companies were named Solar Champions for their utilization of solar energy by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Those awarded, which include Costco, Walmart, IKEA, General motors and FedEx, are among the Top 25 Corporate Solar Users in the U.S. that have collectively increased their solar capacity by 48 percent in just one year.

“Corporate use of clean solar energy is step forward in America’s efforts to become energy independent, while creating jobs and boosting local economies,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “We’re proud to salute these companies as Solar Champions.”

On the show floor, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) hosted an awards extravaganza at Solar Central for their 3iAwards, which recognize exemplary people, projects and programs in renewable energy. Eight awards were given in several different categories.  

The State & Local Government Project of the Year was given to the California Public Utilities Commission for its Rule 21 Interconnection Tariff, which simplifies interconnection for distributed generation projects. Community Renewable Project of the Year was awarded to Solar San Antonio in Texas for its Bring Solar Home Campaign, which combines public outreach, marketing strategies and financing options into a program that makes going solar easy and affordable. The Clean Energy Training Program of the Year is the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, Penn., which works to promote sustainable and socially equitable energy for those in the Mid-Atlantic region by offering green job training, weatherization services and educational workshops.  Clean Energy Trainers of the Year went to Clay Sterling of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) and Tomothy Wilhelm of Kanakee Community College (KCC) for their work in clean energy education.

Four special recognition awards were given to Roy Swift, Ph.D., American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and senior program director of Personnel Credentialing Accreditation Program for his commitment to building a skilled green workforce; David Clements, International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI)CEO for his work to ensure safety and quality training for inspectors of solar PV installations; Commissioners Hermina Morita, Lorraine Akiba and Michael Champley of the The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, who shepherded a plan to enable more rooftop solar systems to connect to the grid; and the County of San Bernardino, California, for reinforcing the need for clean energy training credentials.

Lead image: Trophies via Shutterstock

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Former editor of I hold a MA in Professional Writing and BA in English from the University of Massachusetts and a certificate in Professional Communications: Writing from Emerson College.

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