The Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association, commonly referred to as OSSIA, is a prominent trade association founded in 1981 with a clear and compelling mission: to advance the cause of clean, renewable solar technologies. Over the years, OSSIA has grown to encompass a diverse membership base that includes businesses, non-profit organizations, and various stakeholders within the solar industry. With a focus on fostering a sustainable future and promoting solar energy adoption, this association has become a respected voice within the solar energy landscape.
A Unified Voice for the Solar Industry
At its core, OSSIA is dedicated to providing a unified and influential voice for the solar industry. Its scope encompasses the entire solar value chain, from workforce development to regulatory advocacy, policy formation, and permitting. The association actively engages in activities related to residential, commercial, community, and utility-scale solar projects, operating not only at the local level but also on the state and regional stages.
Vision and Mission
Vision: OSSIA’s vision is to ensure universal access to solar energy while contributing to the creation of sustainable communities. This ambitious vision underscores the association’s commitment to making clean energy sources accessible to all.
Mission: The mission of OSSIA is to elevate solar energy to a significant position within the energy mix while expanding solar markets. To achieve this, the association focuses on two key pillars:
- Strengthening the Industry: OSSIA strives to fortify the solar industry by advocating for favorable policies, fostering collaboration, and nurturing a skilled and stable workforce.
- Developing a Sustainable Workforce: Recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce, OSSIA actively engages in training initiatives and policy efforts to ensure a stable and proficient solar workforce.
Key Activities of OSSIA
OSSIA’s impact on the solar industry is multi-faceted and encompasses several key activities:
- Advocacy: OSSIA serves as a strong advocate for solar industry interests by actively engaging in policy and regulatory discussions. The association aims to create an environment that fosters the growth of solar technologies and facilitates efficient project installations.
- Workforce Development: Recognizing that a skilled and stable workforce is essential for the industry’s growth, OSSIA is deeply involved in training initiatives that empower individuals to become proficient in the solar sector.
- Networking and Business Development: OSSIA organizes events and opportunities for its members to network and explore potential business collaborations within the solar industry.
- Information Dissemination: The association collects and disseminates relevant information to educate policymakers, industry professionals, and consumers about the advantages of a robust solar energy economy.
- Ethical Standards: OSSIA places a strong emphasis on upholding high ethical standards and a code of quality among its members, promoting integrity within the industry.
- Collaboration: OSSIA actively partners with other organizations that share compatible missions, fostering a sense of community and cooperation within the clean energy sector.
Supporting Good Policy
OSSIA firmly supports progressive legislative and regulatory structures that facilitate the development of solar technologies and the efficient installation of solar projects. Good policy, according to OSSIA, has several key attributes:
- Predictability: Effective policy should provide businesses with the predictability needed to plan for future hiring and expansion, driving economic development and job growth.
- Simplicity: Programs should be straightforward to administer, ensuring ease of use for both government agencies and customers, with built-in accountability and transparency.
- Measurement: Policies and programs should incorporate metrics that measure progress and effectiveness, enabling continuous improvement.
- Incentives: If incentives are used, they should be meaningful and sufficient to drive the desired outcomes.
- Regulations: Regulations designed to facilitate projects should result in safe and efficient installations that benefit businesses, consumers, and job growth.
Code of Ethics
OSSIA’s commitment to ethical conduct is underlined by its Code of Ethics. This set of principles emphasizes the fundamental values and standards expected within the solar industry, with a particular focus on the installer community. Members are not only expected to adhere to these ethical standards but also encouraged to support them.
Respectful Meetings Policy
To ensure that all OSSIA meetings and affairs are conducted in a professional, thoughtful, and respectful manner in alignment with the association’s mission, the Respectful Meetings Policy has been established by the Board of Directors. This policy outlines the expectations for members’ conduct during OSSIA meetings, emphasizing respectful and productive interactions.
Strategic Direction and Theory of Change
In 2023, OSSIA, in collaboration with the Oregon Solar Energy Education Fund, approved its joint Strategic Direction and Theory of Change documents. These documents serve as guiding principles for the organization’s activities over the next two to ten years, outlining its strategic objectives and the envisioned path toward achieving them.
The Board of Directors
OSSIA’s leadership is provided by a dedicated Board of Directors, responsible for the governance and oversight of the association. The board members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table, contributing to the association’s success.
Some notable members of the Board of Directors include:
- Mark Farrell (A&R Solar): Serving as the President, Mark has extensive experience in selling solar photovoltaic equipment and promoting solar energy and battery storage.
- Amy Berg Pickett (Sunstone Energy): As the Vice President, Amy specializes in utility solar scale development and permitting, with a focus on sustainability.
- Katie Martin (Elemental Energy): Katie, the Secretary, has a background in sustainable construction and extensive experience in commercial system design and installation.
- Ryan Sheehy (Fleet Development): Serving as the Treasurer, Ryan focuses on bringing solar benefits to affordable housing projects and has a background in organizational leadership and structure consulting.
- Marie Barlow (NewSun Energy): Marie, a renewable energy attorney, contributes her expertise in advising on various energy-related issues.
These dedicated individuals, along with others on the board, play a pivotal role in shaping the direction of OSSIA and advancing its mission.
Much of OSSIA’s work is carried out through its various committees, each with a specific focus:
- Policy Committee: Charged with developing policy positions on issues affecting the solar industry, this committee plays a key role in shaping the association’s advocacy efforts.
- Community Solar Sub-Committee: This sub-committee engages with Oregon’s Public Utilities Commission and other stakeholders to develop policy and program positions that impact Oregon’s solar industry, with a particular focus on community solar.
- Utility Scale & Land Use: Focused on engaging utility solar PV developers, this committee sets priorities and develops initiatives to support large-scale solar PV development in alignment with Oregon Solar Plan goals.
- Energy Storage Committee: Charged with addressing storage technology and its coordination with solar technology, this committee gathers technical experts to guide OSSIA’s approach to storage needs in Oregon’s solar markets.
- Technical Committee: This committee reviews technical issues related to codes, permitting, and other matters and advises staff on changes that would benefit the solar industry.
Through these committees, OSSIA ensures that a wide range of issues impacting the solar industry are addressed comprehensively.
The Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association, or OSSIA, stands as a formidable force in the promotion and advancement of clean, renewable solar technologies in Oregon and the Northwest. With a clear vision of providing universal access to solar energy and a mission to expand solar markets while developing a skilled workforce, OSSIA’s impact reverberates throughout the industry.
Through advocacy, ethical standards, collaboration, and a dedicated Board of Directors, OSSIA continues to make significant strides in its pursuit of a vibrant solar energy economy and a sustainable future. The association’s commitment to good policy, ethical conduct, and professional engagement ensures that the solar industry in the region thrives and contributes to a cleaner, greener future for all.