We have expanded the list of climate policies we assess company engagement with to incorporate land-use related policy, referring to legislative or regulatory measures to enhance and protect ecosystems and land where carbon is being stored. Assessments under this category are currently underweighted in terms of their contribution to the overall company metrics. This weighting will be progressively increased over the next 6 months.
We adjusted the terminology used to describe the queries running down the left-hand side of our scoring matrix and added additional explanatory text to the info-boxes. This has no impact on the scores and methodology. It has been done following user feedback to improve clarity.
Climate Lobbying Overview: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) appears to be actively and positively engaging on U.S. climate change policy. The group demonstrates strong support for federal renewable energy legislation and advocates for rooftop solar policies at the state level. SEIA's CEO has called for ambitious government policy to respond to climate change and consistently supported the climate provisions in the 2021-22 federal reconciliation bills.
Top-Line Messaging on Climate Policy: SEIA demonstrates active and positive top-line messaging on climate policy. In a February 2022 joint letter to Congressional Leadership, SEIA advocated for policies to achieve GHG emissions reductions in line with a 1.5°C target. The group's CEO Abigail Ross Hopper has consistently advocated for policymakers to increase the ambition of government regulation on climate change, calling for strong federal climate policies in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2022 and urging Congress to pass the climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act in November 2021. SEIA stated support for the COP26 conference in Glasgow, specifically supporting the “momentum with promises to finance investments in solar.”
Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: SEIA demonstrates mostly positive positions on climate-related policies at the state and federal level. CEO Hopper has consistently advocated for the renewable energy tax credits in the Build Back Better Act, especially the extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC): in a June 2022 press release, Hopper stated that SEIA was joining other solar industry representatives in Washington to urge Congress to pass the reconciliation bill's tax credits. Following the Supreme Court decision on West Virginia v. EPA, which rolled back the agency's ability to set ambitious GHG emissions standards, Hopper stated in a June 2022 press release that the ruling "added unnecessary barriers that will only slow clean energy development."
SEIA has also advocated for renewable energy policies, particularly in states where policymakers have proposed to rollback rooftop solar incentives. For example, CEO Hopper published press releases that opposed Florida House Bill 741 in April 2022 and California’s net metering program update in December 2021, both of which proposed to weaken incentives for rooftop solar. SEIA has also pushed for renewable energy deployment policies: the group supported a more ambitious Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard in Pennsylvania in September 2021 and directly advocated in support of Delaware’s Senate Bill 2 in June 2021.
However, SEIA has also demonstrated some opposition to state-level solar policy: in a May 2022 joint memorandum with several other New York trade associations , SEIA directly advocated to New York policymakers to oppose the Build Public Renewables Act, stating that "the bill is unnecessary" and that there was no evidence the state's 2019 climate law requirements "cannot be met by private developers."
Positioning on Energy Transition: SEIA appears to demonstrate positive positions on the transition of the energy mix. CEO Hopper has consistently advocated in support of the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, releasing press statements in August 2022 that urged Congress and President Biden to support the legislation. Hopper also praised Senator Manchin’s permitting reform proposal in a September 2022 press release, supporting the move toward accelerated clean energy deployment without commenting on its fossil fuel provisions. In a September 2021 joint letter to Congress, SEIA advocated for the passage of the Build Back Better Act’s electric vehicle tax credits, and in a press release following President Biden's March 2022 State of the Union address Hopper stated that the crisis in Ukraine emphasized "the urgency of our transition to a clean energy economy."