Sunrun Appoints Mary Powell, Utility Veteran, CEO

Many energy and climate experts believe that the United States needs an urgent need to increase the use of solar power to combat climate change. Still, utilities and businesses that install rooftop solar panels have long wondered how that power is generated and who should make money from it.

now, Japan’s largest rooftop solar installer We have decided to hire a CEO from the utility. The company’s Sunrun said Thursday that it hired Mary Powell, who previously ran Vermont-based Green Mountain Power.

Sanlan chose Powell to help expand the company to the types of businesses that until recently were in the territory of regulated utilities such as Consolidated Edison in New York and Pacific Gas and Electric in California. Said that. Sunrun is about to become a new kind of energy company that not only installs panels in the home, but also sells electricity to the power grid while supplying customers with solar and storage products.

This appointment indicates that Sunlan and other rooftop solar companies are intended to play a greater role in the transition to renewable energy. Bipartisan infrastructure bill What the Senate is considering now. Sunrun and Ms. Powell are calling for increased investment in rooftop solar, batteries and other regional power sources rather than the approach preferred by large utilities seeking construction. Thousands of miles of new power lines Large wind and solar power plants in remote areas.

Rooftop solar and other small energy devices are faster than large utility projects, in an interview with Powell, who headed Green Mountain when he built Vermont’s largest wind farm and began installing batteries in his homes. He said he would participate in the sun run because it can be installed in. It takes more than 10 years to build. She also said that too many people in the energy business are too obsessed with systems that never considered the two-way relationship between utilities and consumers.

“My passion for climate change is why I’m so passionate about the company,” said Powell, who ran Green Mountain for over a decade before leaving at the end of 2019. Year. It’s very shocking to me that people have a firm grip on the system 100 years ago. “

Powell, who has been a board member of Sunrun since 2018, will replace Lynn Julich, the founder of Sunrun, who will be co-chairman of the board.

“This is very motivated by both our strong feelings that climate change needs to move faster,” Julich said. “Climate change is not waiting for us to build large power lines.”

Some energy executives and climate activists argue that the country needs an “all of the above” approach to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause climate change. The country needs large and small energy projects, power lines, household and commercial batteries. These are as small as a large TV and can be as large as a shipping container. According to activists, these investments need to be made quickly as wildfires, heat waves, hurricanes, winter storms, and other extreme weather events associated with climate change have disrupted the power network.

“This is bigger than the utility,” said Pedro J. Pizzaro, CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, in a recent interview. “This is bigger than one industry.”

Still, utilities and rooftop solar companies Fierce political battle in the state capital.. Many utilities and their allies are calling on regulators and lawmakers in places like California and Florida to reduce the cost of electricity generated by rooftop solar panels. Or you are trying to charge a new fee for the roof panel.

Power companies argue that these changes are necessary as more homeowners buy solar panels and fewer people share the cost of maintaining the grid. However, homeowner groups and solar installers like Sunrun claim that utility-led efforts will reduce the number of people who can buy rooftop panels. And the power plant.

Abigail Ross Hopper, chairman and chief executive officer of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement last week, “Solar energy is growing four times faster than it is today to achieve the required emission reductions. Must be done. “

In addition to utility opposition, the rooftop solar business faces other obstacles.The cost of installing solar panels is much higher in the United States Than a country like Australia, Because getting permission from the local government is more troublesome here, in part. Many rooftop solar companies that spend a lot of money on sales and marketing Consistently unprofitable..

Sunrun said Thursday that it lost $ 41 million in the second quarter from $ 14 million in the year-ago quarter.Last year’s company Acquired Vivint, Is one of its biggest competitors and is expanding its lead as the country’s largest rooftop solar installer. However, stock prices have fallen in recent months, dropping from about $ 80 in February to about $ 50 now.

Powell needs to convince investors that Sunlan’s plans to extend beyond the installation of panels are beneficial. (Her brother Michael Powell is a New York Times reporter.)

VikramAggarwal, founder and chief executive officer of Energy Sage, a rooftop solar comparative shopping service, said Powell’s experience at Green Mountain could be useful to Sunrun.

“I think Mary Powell is a very well-regarded utility executive,” he said. “She is very consumer-focused. She knows the climate crisis and everything.”

Sunrun recently announced an agreement with Ford Motor Company. This will allow the electric version of the company’s F-150 pickup truck, which will be available next year, to power the home for up to 10 days in the event of a power outage. Such approaches are becoming more and more common as power outages and power outages become more common due to extreme weather events and wildfires caused by utility equipment.

Sunlan also wants to expand the use of so-called virtual power plants, which utilize the power generated by rooftop solar panels stored in household batteries to support the power grid when demand is high. Such a system played an important role during a power outage in California last summer.

“This is the way customers and businesses work around the world,” Powell said. “From my point of view, that momentum cannot be stopped.”

Sunrun Appoints Mary Powell, Utility Veteran, CEO

Source link Sunrun Appoints Mary Powell, Utility Veteran, CEO

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