microphone on table background

Episode 55: Live at SPI 2019

In this very special live episode of Experts Only, Jon Powers of CleanCapital hosts a panel of guests at the Solar Power International convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Guests include:

Bill Bush | CFO, STEM
Bill drives project financing efforts and corporate funding initiatives at Stem, which builds and operates the largest digitally connected energy storage network.

Adam Browning | Executive Director, Vote Solar
Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Adam co-founded the organization in 2002 and leads Vote Solar’s team of advocates, experts and staff working to bring solar to the mainstream across the U.S.

Emily Fritze | Director of Strategy & Business Development, Powerhouse
Emily manages strategic partnerships, programming, and business development at Powerhouse, a network-driven venture fund that backs entrepreneurs building the future of energy and mobility.

Jon and the panel discuss some of the exciting milestones the clean energy industry reached in 2019 and what’s on the horizon in 2020.

Appreciation to Nico Johnson of Suncast for hosting us at the North America Smart Energy Week Podcast Lounge.

Listen now

Full Transcript:

Jon Powers:

Welcome to Experts Only Podcast sponsored by CleanCapital. Learn more cleancapital.com. I’m your host Jon Powers. Each week we explore the intersection of energy, innovation and finance with leaders across the industry. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jon Powers:

This is Jon Powers, the host of Experts Only Podcast. We’re here at Solar Power International doing a live recording of this week’s episode and for those in the audience that are not familiar with Experts Only, we focus on the intersection of energy, innovation and finance. And for those in the audience that are online, the Solar Power International is also lovingly known here as SPI. It’s now part of North America Smart Energy Week and for those unfamiliar it’s put on by the Smart Electric Power Alliance and Solar Energy Industry Association. It’s the largest gathering of solar smart energy, micro grid and energy storage efforts and professionals in North America.

Jon Powers:

We’re recording live in the podcast lounge, which was put together by my good friend Nico, who you heard from earlier. You probably recognize him from his podcast Suncast. CleanCapital is honored to be sponsoring the podcast lounge this year and look to be involved in it again in the future. Our theme at CleanCapital this year along with both Vote Solar at SPI is about changemakers, highlighting the people and organizations that are driving America’s shift to the clean energy economy. Earlier this month, our team at CleanCapital put out its first annual changemakers report, highlighting the growth. We don’t often talk about CleanCapital here on this podcast. I’m going to do it for a second because we are sponsoring today. You can find more information about CleanCapital and our other episodes of Experts Only at cleancapital.com.

Jon Powers:

What we did at CleanCapital this year is really focus on growth and we’ve seen our hockey stick of growth in 2019 quadrupling our assets under management to nearly half a billion. And since last year is SPI, our megawatts under management grew 390%. We’re going to keep this momentum. We’ve got another a hundred billion we’re trying to put out the door, 100 million by the end of the year. We’d love to put 100 billion out, but 100 million by the end of the fiscal year. And we’re looking for both operating assets, storage, and new build within the distributed market.

Jon Powers:

So we came up with the changemakers theme because we recognize that our company’s growth is part of in some ways helping to drive a much larger wave of momentum in the clean energy industry. And on our show today, we’ve got some returning guests and some new guests that are really making a big difference in the industry. We’ve got Bill Bush, the CFO of STEM, Adam Browning, the CEO of Vote Solar, and Emily Fritze, the Director in Strategy and Business Development at Powerhouse Ventures. So our show is going to take a look back at what’s happened since last year’s conference and how we see the market continue to evolve in the future.

Jon Powers:

So the first round of questions while we’re recording here live, if you look back specifically over the last few weeks, this summer, we’ve not just witnessed the first ever international climate strike where millions of people came out in London and Melbourne, New York and Buffalo where I am. We had two presidential forums on climate. Here we are with 20,000 of our closest friends in Utah talking about the future of the clean energy industry. At the same time there’s a Climate Summit happening in New York City. This moment is I think relatively unique and hopefully helping to drive the transition to a clean energy future that we all work at. So what I want to do is talk a little bit about the way your organizations view this and view how this moment is helping to drive the future of the industry.

Jon Powers:

So Adam, can you talk a little bit about, first of all, what Vote Solar does and what the role that you sort of see this broader cultural moment having is setting the stage for policy changes of the last year. And if it’s helpful to put on the headphones, feel free to do so.

Adam Browning:

Sure thing. First, thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be a part of this group of awesome change makers. So Vote Solar, we’re a nonprofit public advocacy organization focused on state level policy change to really supercharge this transition to renewable energy. Solar in specific, but in a collaboration with the full suite of clean energy solutions. We’ve been doing this since 2002. I think my first SPI was in a dingy ballroom in Reno. Really, we’ve made a huge amount of difference and growth over the years. So you asked about like-

Jon Powers:

Wait, the first one you went to was in Reno?

Adam Browning:

That’s my memory.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, that’s probably true. It sounds dingy. Nothing against Reno, but it was Reno.

Adam Browning:

As this industry has grown, and that’s part of my point that I’d like to make here, is we are at a point right now where there is a trifecta of really compelling economics, good politics and winnable venues that’s really driving this growth. And so when I think of like the first 10 years that I worked on solar policy, it was about how do we make solar cheap? And that was through economies of scale. We had a theory of change that what you needed to do is incentivize the industry, build the economies of scale in order to bring down the cost. That worked. Now we’re at a situation where we’re able to have a much larger conversation around how do we deploy this at such massive scale in order to completely solve much larger problems like climate?

Adam Browning:

So one thing that has been unique about solar in specific and renewable energy as opposed to climate is that we have super majorities of Americans that really want to see this transition to renewable energy happen on both sides of the aisle.

Jon Powers:

Right.

Adam Browning:

Climate continues to be a really divisive issue in this country. And so what I’m seeing right now is you have this convening of really compelling economics combined with some examples of real success and what this transition looks like and so that it’s not so scary and it’s really about something that is making your life better rather than having to go through sacrifices in order to have success with climate. And I think that that really is at the root of a lot of the energy of this moment right now. At the same time, we also have a situation where we’re feeling the impacts of climate in ways that we haven’t ever before.

Adam Browning:

So I just want to take a moment to talk about the fact that right now one in four people in this country live in a state where 100% clean electricity is the law. Six states have passed that requirement and of those six, five came in the last 13 months.

Jon Powers:

Wow.

Adam Browning:

So while things in DC are really depressant on the federal level, I think what we’ve-

Jon Powers:

It’s a good way of putting it.

Adam Browning:

What we’ve achieved over the past year is really focusing on state level policy is really the biggest, most important string of climate successes that this country has ever seen. And it’s really been focused around this transition to 100% clean energy.

Jon Powers:

That’s fascinating. Bill, to turn into storage for a second. So Bill Bush is the CFO of STEM. The last time we talked, it was almost a year ago, I think you said very wisely that storage was sort of solar in 2000, 2008 right? But what storage didn’t have at the time was someone sort of plowing through, putting in place these state level initiatives that could really accelerate it that we’re seeing today. How is that helping what you guys are doing on the storage front? And have you guys seen a leap of storage in 2009 to maybe or solar in 2009 to storage to maybe we’re caught up to 2012 or where do you see the industry today?

 Bill Bush:

Yeah, no, I think where storage is right now is that it’s becoming a strong partner to solve it. And so I think what’s happened generally storage on a standalone basis only works in a relatively small number of states, particularly when you compare it to the number of states that solar works. And I think in pretty much all of the cases that we see storage is additive economics to essentially an industry which has seen declining gross margins at the project level. And storage gives a solar developer really a path through to be able really to develop a project which they might not have been able to do in the past. And I think there’s plenty of examples of that on the social storage front. I mean I think there’s been a lot of work that done in Massachusetts as an example. You’re seeing a lot of that in California.

 Bill Bush:

And so to me, I think that’s really where you’re going to start seeing… And I think those aren’t, well certainly California was the first solar state. Massachusetts wasn’t, but certainly has been historically one of the most aggressive in terms of rolling out incentive programs that allow the development of really renewable energy. Certainly, there’s other states that have been active. New Jersey now you certainly to see Maine, Rhode Island, a whole bunch of States on the Northeast. And of course there’s a lot of solar stuff happening in the Southwest and the Southeast.

 Bill Bush:

But I think the biggest difference to me is not so much that storage is becoming more predominant. I think it’s that the, and this is maybe where my focus is in some ways, is that the financeability of storage has increased dramatically. And I think you kind of see that… I don’t remember, I have to admit, I didn’t look back and see when we talked, but certainly within the last year or so we had an investment from a Canadian pension fund, both on the equity side and on the project side. And I think it took years for that to happen in solar. I mean I think I started in solar in 2007 or 2008, I’m not sure. And we didn’t start seeing pension money until like 13, 14 kind of time period.

Jon Powers:

Right. It’s game changing.

 Bill Bush:

So yeah, that’s a huge… Certainly if you look at GTM or any of the various pieces, lot of cost down over the next period of time. I saw something yesterday actually kind of reading in advance of this, that the cost curves for batteries are almost steeper than what we saw in panels. And that happened true in solar as well. But I think the true change was when pension funds and large industrial managers like the guys that go back in you. I mean once you start seeing large multibillion dollar funds coming into the market, you know that it’s a real thing. And so to me, I think that has actually been a massive change. Even though storage doesn’t work in nearly as many states as solar does. I think the acceptability and the financeability of the product is going to really accelerate growth pretty dramatically.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. We had a theory when we started CleanCapital that if we could work in the yielding of solar… Our mission has been to bring new capital into the marketplace, and if we could work in operating solar and keep people familiar with what it is and how these assets work and how they’re, it’s really a yielding asset that we could move into other asset classes. That is great to hear this is happening in storage.

 Bill Bush:

Yeah. I was explaining something with somebody this morning. I was like, it’s a lot like real estate. It has the same kind of basic tenant of you’ve got a customer contract, maybe you have an incentive, maybe you don’t, but that’s kind of what like what a real estate asset is. I go and I buy a building. It has a certain rent roll and my hope is that one of two things or maybe both are going to happen that the property is going to appreciate and I’m going to be able to charge more rent tomorrow rather than today. Storage has those same dynamics associated with it. You have a customer contract, you have an incentive of some sort and you have market participation, which is the ability to appreciate that asset over some period of time. So to me that’s the most exciting part of this where solar kind of has that but not nearly to the level that the storage side does.

Jon Powers:

And I might want to turn it to the venture side for a second. And can you talk a little bit about what, first of all, for folks who aren’t familiar with what Powerhouse Venture does and then how I think there is a phenomenal sort of momentum a lot internationally, but also here at home for folks to be investing in climate solutions. For instance, we just had Melanie Nakagawa who has a really great climate metrics they developed for their firm for instance. So how is that affecting what you’re seeing in the technologies coming forward?

Emily Fritze:

Yeah, definitely. So Powerhouse is an Oakland based seed fund. We invest in clean energy startups, mostly software and digital technologies. We started off as a coworking space about five, six years ago just offering space for the energy startups to basically co-locate and work alongside one another. Since then, we’ve housed 70 startups in the physical space, including some notable startups that are now in the growth stage like Mosaic, the solar loan financing company, PWH Analytics, Powerhive among others. And as we all know undoubtedly what is still-

Jon Powers:

Do you have to kick them out the door at a certain point, be like, “Listen, you guys are too big”?

Emily Fritze:

We do. We do.

Jon Powers:

“Go pay rent somewhere else”?

Emily Fritze:

It’s a positive transition when that happens. So what we all undoubtedly know is that what is still needed in the market is early stage capital that is prepared for the risk associated with that very early stage and in the nature of our industry. And as we all know, there was a lot of venture capital that came into clean energy and unfortunately some not so smart investments, a lot of investors lost money. I think the exciting thing in the last couple of years, certainly we’ve seen at Powerhouse, is that there is a reemergence of venture capital and an interest in investing in this space and clean energy and in climate more broadly. Some of course motivated by impact investing, but also others returning with interest in the clean energy and transportation sector at large. I think one-

Jon Powers:

Is there a sector you’re finding people are more interested in than others?

Emily Fritze:

Yeah, I think certainly the rise of electric vehicles is for the first time requiring that or allowing customers have to think about electricity. And as a result, we’re seeing all sorts of interesting innovation in business models. But I also think that it is in some cases gives venture capital the types of market opportunities that they’re looking for as they see the fusion of electricity with transportation. So that’s one particular area. But I also think that investors are just a little smarter. A lot of people lost money in biofuels and refineries and large scale material processing. And what you now see is folks doing a little bit like what we’re doing at Powerhouse Ventures, which is investing in the what is still needed, which is that digital transformation of the clean energy sector and all of the many opportunities and business models that are emerging in that space.

Jon Powers:

Yeah, I mean we talk about actually a lot of this show with guests about how in the venture space today people are looking at how to bring multiple verticals together. Right? We’ve had Brooke Porter on who talked about how they’re tying to tie the internet of things into the broader sustainability piece. When you look at the sort of the state of play in venture for clean energy, you’ve got breakthrough and the stuff that they’re doing. How do you guys sort of differentiate yourself from sort of the broader market that’s excitingly developing, right? Because a couple of years ago people were like, Oh we tried this before and it failed. It’s not going to work.”

Emily Fritze:

Yeah. So one, we operate at the earliest stage possible. So we are that first check-in pre seed rounds or seed rounds for the energy and mobility startups. We also are focused on and historically have been on this cutting niche area of the smart home FinTech business model innovation. So a lot of the accompanying technologies whereas we have those great players like Breakthrough who are supporting the high risk hardware innovation. And three trends. So far, we’ve made eight investments and the fund will make another 25 to 30 over the course of the next four years. Some of the trends in our portfolio so far. Of course the rapid deployment of distributed generation and a lot of really interesting creative software approaches to integrating and optimizing DRs. A couple investments in companies who are looking to optimize infrastructure assets and predictive maintenance both for wind and solar. And then we’ve actually made a couple of investments in startups that are working in emerging markets who are enabling technologies for micro grades or attempting to tap into all of the unlocked potential in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. Interesting. So I’m going to take a minute to sort of look out here and if you sort of fall back from the last few years at SPI, right? You had sort of the post-Trump election fear that the world was going to fall. You had the tariffs on solar fear that that was going to crush the industry. I think it didn’t smoothly go over it, but it continued to grow. Our industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds. We’re getting the highest new employees in the workforce are solar installers and wind technicians. Storage is making incredible trends. There are policy uncertainties ahead, the investment tax credit, what’s going to happen to that? How new markets are going to kind of open up.

Jon Powers:

But if you sort of looked out over the course of the year, there are some great macro trends as well. You’ve got corporate procurement growing in unbelievable ways, more educated procures and not just in the Googles and Apples, but even in the smaller corporate leadership. What are some of the views that for instance, STEM takes of these macro trends and where do you see the market going over the course of the next year? It’s a lot there.

 Bill Bush:

I guess if I knew that answer, I probably wouldn’t be sitting right here. But I think there’s going to be a couple of trends that we would expect to see. And I think one of the biggest ones is this continued pairing with solar plus storage. I mean, folks have been predicting that for a little while. We announced this morning that we signed a 61 megawatt hour deal with Kearsarge developer in the Northeast. That’s twice as big as any deal we’d ever done before. It represents about, I think it’s 200% of bookings from three years ago. So it kind of gives you some sense of, and that’s just one deal we’ve signed this year. And that’s a solar plus storage deal.

 Bill Bush:

And so I think that is really going to be a trend where I think you’re going to see more states figure out how batteries can harden their infrastructure. And it’s a little scary for a lot of regulators I think because the batteries represent an asset class that they’re not used to. And just like they went through solar very difficult time on the interconnection side of things, how much generation equipment they were going to need to have their whether it was all sorts of issues around there. I think those questions are going to be starting to be answered. So I think it’s kind of a question on some level of continued progress is what I think you’re going to see over the next year. I don’t see any really big things happening really. I don’t think… Certainly the-

Jon Powers:

Do you any uncertainty around the ITC or…

 Bill Bush:

I mean I think the ITC is a political football all of it. And certainly the Trump administration has been very vocal about being in favor of infrastructure. Storage is absolutely an infrastructure investment.

Jon Powers:

Absolutely.

 Bill Bush:

So it should fit kind of right in there, but frankly they haven’t been the nicest to renewables in general. And so there’s a little bit of a kind of a dichotomy there. And I think Adam said that the best is that I think it’s a state problem. The states have always led on the renewable side. The federal government really never has. They’ve come in a little bit late, a couple of times, first with the grant and then with the ITC. And certainly helpful to the industry, for sure. I mean, I’m not denigrating that in any way. But if you think about it, it was like really California and New Jersey, which really got solar started, not the federal government.

Jon Powers:

Totally. Yeah.

 Bill Bush:

And so from that standpoint, I mean, to me it’s heartening to see, and I didn’t actually know the stat that Adam mentioned earlier today and heard that so that I think you hear things like that. And to me, every time there’s a solar facility built, that means there’s another opportunity for storage because everybody’s familiar with the California duck curve or probably everybody here at least is familiar with that, maybe not everybody.

Jon Powers:

My dad listens to the show. He has no idea what that is. But now I’ll have to explain it to him.

 Bill Bush:

Yeah, he’s like, “What is that duck thing? I don’t know if you’re talking about.” Yeah, so certainly, and I heard this morning, which I think is kind of true, is that storage is the friend of everyone. Utilities like it. Solar customers like it. Solar developers like it. States seem to like it. So from that standpoint we’re kind of in the sun-

Jon Powers:

That’s great.

 Bill Bush:

We’re in a happy little spot right there and hopefully we’ll be able to stay there.

Jon Powers:

So Adam looking at you, put some great stats out about the growth of the hundred percent goals and the states, but have you worked on the federal side? One of the things we were able to do is create a lot of best practices to share and I think we’re seeing each of these states is trying to tackle things differently, whether it be the changes we’re seeing in Massachusetts or in North Carolina or in Illinois. What do you see any sort of coming together of best practices amongst these states that are really putting some really aggressive goals out? And I’m going to follow this to Emily about how do companies start to look at that. But I’d love to get your thoughts on how we can sort of charge our drive so there’s a little more synergy across those 50 fiefdoms that we’re wrestling with.

Adam Browning:

That’s a great question. I could take that a lot of different ways, but I think I’ll just start by saying, if the early days of policy advocacy were around making this stuff cheap, now it’s really about making it work and also making it work for whom. And really the pathway to winning on a lot of these a hundred percent clean energy was really around having them centering equity, thinking about who benefits and really having a very broad coalition at the table. So what does that mean from an investment? And I’m really glad to hear a lot of Emily’s talking about seeing like ventures investing a lot of places that I think that the policy conversations going as well, which is first make it cheap then it could all work. And the conversation here is really around grid reliability and this is where we really do have many different conversations amongst the different regional transmission organizations, the different organized and unorganized markets of like how do you really design markets so that you in the end have a reliable grid? Grids going down are career ending problems for policymakers.

Adam Browning:

So a really interesting report out recently by Rocky Mountain Institute that looked at the next 68 gigawatts of natural gas that have been proposed. And if you look at that, I did the economic analysis and said 90% of those could be beat economically by clean energy portfolios. You look underneath that, what is a clean energy portfolio? If you limit that to solar storage and wind, that 90% number drops to 25%. So demand response, energy efficiency, really all the ways of turning the knobs on the load side are crucial to really making this grid work, making it work for individuals, the customer centric vision and making it work really efficiently, lowering the overall capital investment that we have to have. So that is really where I see a lot of the trends happening right now going forward to the future. It’s not just the solar, it’s like everything else that’s in service of it that matches our demand and our load.

Jon Powers:

So, I mean that’s a super complicated challenge that we’re trying to address. And I think-

Adam Browning:

Welcome to my world, yeah.

Jon Powers:

But going back to sort of the heart of the question now, how do you take that into the policymakers and all these different states and try to at least bring some alignment so the companies that Emily’s investing in are able to come up with solutions that can work probably but not for one specific market?

Adam Browning:

Yeah. Like it or not, we do have 50 different states and I don’t think that we’re going to have a one state fits all one template fits all scenarios for good reasons and for bad reasons. So I think partly, in some states we have policymakers and really companies that are interested in really trying to pioneer new solutions.

Adam Browning:

So let’s just take very recently in Oakland, home to at least two of us here, three of us maybe, you had a local community choice aggregator, East Bay Community Energy sign a contract with Sunrun who is doing behind the meter storage on low income housing. And those batteries are going to be put into service for those customers most of the time, except for when there’s a CAISO demand response proxy event. And then it’ll be really a grid service at that time. So there’s no reason why PGNE couldn’t have done something like that. Partnered with a low income community to really drive more reliability into the system except for they didn’t. They didn’t want to. When you have a policy situation where you put a more responsive grid operator in control of decisions, you get new solutions like this.

Adam Browning:

And this is something… Sorry. I didn’t… I name checked the competitor here. But broadly speaking I think the more that we get these examples of people that are willing to pioneer new innovative programs that solve for grid problems in new ways, we’re going to see new solutions. And again, this wasn’t just the state, this was also a CAISO situation where you have sort of state and regional policy coming together to make it all work.

Jon Powers:

So Emily, when you’re coaching new companies that are developing interesting technologies that will hopefully go to solve some of these challenges, how do you get them to think about sort of the policy and regulatory environment? Because it’s always been a barrier to a lot of entry for energy company.

Emily Fritze:

Yeah, it’s a great point. Having also been on the policy side prior to being at Powerhouse, something that I’m very personally invested in. I think honestly we could be doing a better job of helping coach startups to think about the policy and regulatory framework as they’re developing their products. Most of them, not surprisingly, are pretty heads down developing technology and in some cases where if they’re developing software where that needs to be attuned with reach structures and time of use or whatnot, they’re a lot more in line with policy trends and regulation. But I don’t think that we’re probably doing enough to involve some of the policy leaders early on. And also in preparing them for that growth stage where they are going to very much so need to be aware and apprised of the policy framework.

Jon Powers:

All right. Interesting. So if we’re going to have this again next year, and you could sort of step back and take a sort of educated guess or a prediction at something that’s going to change the market or how the market’s going to grow, how do you sort of view the next 12 months for our space? And I’ll start with Emily.

Emily Fritze:

Well, I think something that seems so obvious but that is worth reminding us in the course of this conversation as we look forward is the fact that it’s good to be at SPI. Solar is doing extremely well. One third of global capacity is now renewables, 55% of that is solar. Cost of solar has come down to 85%. And what I was thinking about before jumping in the podcast is I think a lot of us listened to Greta’s really inspiring remarks yesterday and so much of our ability to meet those carbon reduction goals is our ability to deploy renewables broadly, but especially solar. So a lot to celebrate here this year at SPI. Going forward, I think certainly a lot of what happens in the next year is contingent on some of these big policy decisions like the potential decision around facing down ITC I think will predict the continued and maybe outpaced growth in residential storage, electric vehicle sales and continued proliferation of exciting technology around soft costs where there’s, as we know, huge opportunities.

Jon Powers:

Bill, I’m going to turn to you on this one.

 Bill Bush:

Boy, that is a pretty wide question. I would say-

Jon Powers:

From your perspective, from the storage side, what would the next year-

 Bill Bush:

Yeah, no, I think we’re going to see probably on the bad side, probably not as much price decline on batteries as we might hope for it. But I’ve always thought the best thing that could happen to the industry, whether they’re renewables, is that it doesn’t need the ITC. And so certainly… I listened to an interesting podcast, one of your podcast competitors, they interviewed Ed –

Jon Powers:

It’s a community, we don’t compete.

 Bill Bush:

A community of friends. A lot of friends. And it was interesting, he was talking about support for renewables generally. And he said it’s not like the Rockefellers and the whoever oil companies didn’t have massive government support when they got started. And yeah, they basically have a hundred year headstart on renewables, or maybe 75 or something depending on when you start the clock.

 Bill Bush:

So to me, I think what’s going to happen, and I think it’ll have an interesting impact is I think there will be a solar ITC. I think the Trump administration is going to pass that. And I think that is going to spur both more standalone storage and more paired storage. And so hard to predict how much, but I see that as a massive driver. It’s such a politically expedient solution that I don’t think the administration is going to be able to pass the fast ball on. And so I mean a year from now I would expect to see that. And that will have an interesting impact.

 Bill Bush:

Though in some ways, I’d say it’s probably good to be off the dole in same way. I think when industries become self-serving, I was thinking about for any company when they move out of mom and dad’s house or they start generating-

Jon Powers:

Solar powerhouses at mom and dad’s house?

 Bill Bush:

Or generating enough cash to feed themselves, that’s an amazing accomplishment. And I think you’re seeing that with solar companies today. I certainly worked for one in Perigo. We were feeding ourselves, we didn’t need an incentive in some markets. And I think that the storage companies need to be able to do the same thing.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. Excellent. 2020 election is going to be sitting right in front of us when we have our next Solar Power International. So how is the conversation happening at the presidential level going to affect the stuff that you guys are doing sort of at the state level?

Adam Browning:

So I think part of the reason for a lot of the recent success here is that A, there’s really good politics behind this. And state policy makers realize, look, there’s no cavalry coming to the rescue. I worry about this. My kids are looking at me funny and nobody else is going to solve this. It’s up to me. So going up to 2020… So 2016 elections, or sorry, 2018, we saw 1400 candidates run at different levels on some sort of 100% clean platforms. Eight of those winning ones became governors. We’re going to see that whole phenomenon doubled. We’ve broken the taboo on this being seen too hippy dippy. Now this is like where you have to be to be relevant to the conversation.

Adam Browning:

So I would say a lot of gubernatorial candidates, a lot of those races really will be a referendum on how renewable can you get. How much this plays into the presidential election? I think it will be a formidable issue. Climate broadly, renewables as a way of getting to it, but really focused on the state level and governors really matter. I see this is now an accountability issue and people will be held accountable to whether or not they support this. So I see they’re going to have to do that on the run up to the 2020 elections as well. So hopefully next year, knock wood, I hope I don’t jinx it. Another three to five states that have passed 100% clean laws.

Jon Powers:

Yeah. I’d love to see it. So first of all, thanks everyone for joining us. I know SPI is a really busy time. We appreciate you being here at the lounge. We’d love to do this again next year and sort of see where we’ve come up. I would just want to challenge the folks that are online listening, folks now I’m a huge fan of Vote Solar, go to Vote Solar and donate today because it’s the policies that they’re pushing that’s going to help our industry continue to grow. They can also donate to STEM if they want but I don’t know if you take their money. Or find clean energy investments to make. But thank you so much for taking the time. I hope you guys have a really successful couple of days out here in Salt Lake City and look forward to seeing you next year.

Adam Browning:

It was a pleasure. Thank you.

 Bill Bush:

Thanks.

Emily Fritze:

Thanks.

Jon Powers:

Thanks.

Jon Powers:

Thanks for listening to our live recording at Solar Power International 2019. I want to specifically thank Bill and Adam and Emily for being great sports and joining us on the floor for a really interesting conversation about where the market’s been and really where it’s going in 2020 and beyond. You can join us for another live podcast that’s going to take place at Solar Storage and Finance USA in New York City, October 29th and 30th. You can go to cleancapital.com and go to our podcast page for Experts Only and find a discount for registration. Hope to see you in New York.

Jon Powers:

And as always, I’d like to thank our producers, Carly Battin and Nicole Waddington for their help making this episode come together. I look forward to continuing the conversation. Thanks.

Jon Powers:

Thanks for listening in today’s conversation. Find more episodes on cleancapital.com, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe and leave us a five star review. We look forward to continuing our conversation on energy, innovation, and finance with you.