Q-and-A: Paul Israel shines a light on solar

Sunlight Solar's Paul Israel.

The future's so bright for renewables that Sunlight Solar's Paul Israel has to wear shades.

The Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association has a new member president, and, by all accounts, he’s ready to make his mark.

Sunlight Solar Energy owner Paul Israel will oversee the 32-year-old group that promotes and advocates for renewable energy usage. OSEIA is Oregon’s only solar industry trade group.

Sunlight Solar has offices in Oregon City and Bend. We caught up with Israel for an email question-and-answer exchange in which he outlines his goals, which bills he’s following in Salem this legislative session and his faith that the industry will remain a vital renewable energy cog.

Sustainable Business Oregon: What are your immediate goals in your new post?

Paul Israel: Continue the great legislative work that our 501(C)6 has been involved with since 1981. Reinforce the notion that a solar system on an Oregonians home is economic democracy and empowerment for that person. Oregonians by nature are independent.

SBO: To what extent will the manufacturers’ recent struggles (SoloPower, Sanyo, etc.) affect the group’s mission?

Israel: It reinforces our need to create a strong domestic Oregon solar industry. Low utility rates and attractive tax incentives need to be coupled with a strong domestic market. If we can create a strong residential and commercial solar market, here in Oregon, it will continue to lure manufacturers to Oregon.

SBO: What’s the future hold for the solar industry, either from the manufacturing or the installation side, in Oregon?

Israel: On the installation side, an extension of the Feed In Tariff, which is pending in the Oregon Senate, and a strong Energy Trust of Oregon will continue to grow our domestic installation base. I see a slow but consistent growth which bodes well for the long term. Recent research by PGE shows that Oregonians want solar.

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