Recently, we held a roundtable discussion at Tigercomm headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia with former Virginia Governor (now Senator-elect) Tim Kaine, as well as 10 clean economy business leaders from the mid-Atlantic region. One of those leaders was Tony Clifford of Standard Solar, a company whose goal is to "become the industry leader in the full-service design, installation and financing of solar electric systems for residential and commercial customers, helping them achieve their goal of energy independence by offering the most efficient turnkey solar solutions." Here's a brief description of Tony Clifford's work in building the clean economy.
Since 2007 Mr. Clifford has led Standard Solar’s rapid growth into a nationally known PV developer/ EPC. Mr. Clifford began his career at Solarex Corporation, later acquired by British Petroleum and known as BP Solar. Throughout his career, Mr. Clifford has served as chief executive officer or chief financial officer of three high growth technology companies that were acquired by major corporations. He is an elected board member of the national Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), serves on SEIA’s Executive Committee and is also the president of the regional chapter of SEIA, MDV-SEIA. Mr. Clifford is the author of a DOE report entitled Tax-Advantaged Investments in Renewable Energy Projects; and received a “Special Achievement Award for Technology Demonstration” from the U. S. Secretary of Energy. He was awarded the 2011 Industry Leader Award by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), for his contributions to the advancement of solar and other clean energy resources in the state.
In the Tigercomm clean economy forum, Clifford discussed his work in building a successful renewable energy startup, as well as about the public's overwhelming support for solar power. He noted that solar has "really gone mainstream," with some of the most successful companies in the country now doing a significant amount of solar power. In sum, Clifford argues (correctly) that "solar is a broadly supported industry, it is not just a sound bite."
As for what the industry needs going forward, Clifford urged Congress not to change to the current, 30% investment tax credit. If possible, he'd also like to see "master limited partnerships," currently applicable to financing oil and gas projects, allowed for solar projects as well. That, in Clifford's view, would be a way to "level the playing field" with fossil fuels.