US Secretary of Navy, Apple, and First Solar Recognized for Expanding Use of Solar in Public and Private Sectors

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24

The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit organization seeking to increase the understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education, will recognize United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Jr. and Apple Inc./ First Solar as the 2015 Solar Foundation Award winners during the 5th annual TSF Summer Solstice event in Washington, DC.

“This year’s award winners were truly outstanding in their commitment to advance the use of solar energy,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of TSF. “Recognizing efforts to push the boundary of what can be achieved with solar in both the public and private sectors are what these Awards are all about, and I can think of no others more worthy of this honor.”

The Solar Foundation began honoring individuals and organizations for exceptional achievement in solar energy in 2013. Each year, potential Awardees are nominated by the public and competitively selected by a committee of solar energy thought and business leaders from across the nation. Awardees were selected from two categories: “Individual Achievement” and “Industry Achievement”.

The 2015 Solar Foundation Award for Individual Achievement honors U.S. Secretary of the Navy Raymond “Ray” Mabus, Jr. for his leadership in transforming the ways in which the Department of the Navy produces and consumes energy. Recognizing the risks that conventional energy sources can pose for military operations, in May 2014 Secretary Mabus set an aggressive goal for the Navy and Marine Corps to procure at least one gigawatt of their energy from renewable sources by the end of 2015. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the men and women of the Department of the Navy and want to thank The Solar Foundation for their efforts in highlighting solar energy,” said Mabus. “Achieving these goals will provide a diverse supply of renewable energy sources for our Navy and Marine Corps, making us stronger by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

This year’s Solar Foundation Award for Industry Achievement was jointly awarded to technology giant Apple, Inc. and project developer First Solar for their work on a corporate solar project previously unprecedented in size. In early 2015, the two companies signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) worth $800 million to provide Apple, Inc. with electricity from 130 megawatts of First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County. The PPA is the largest of its kind, providing clean energy directly to a commercial end-user and setting a precedent for corporate responsibility. “We’re honored to be recognized by The Solar Foundation for the historic partnership between Apple and First Solar to serve Apple’s new corporate headquarters and data center power needs,” said Brian Kunz, Vice President, Project Development for First Solar. “Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”

Due to the highly-competitive nature of this year’s Awards, more worthy nominations were received than could be properly recognized. As such, TSF selected one nomination from each category to be given an honorable mention during the award ceremony. Lee Peterson, Senior Tax Manager for CohnReznick’s National Renewable Energy Practice, will receive this year’s Individual Honorable Mention for his work to open state solar markets in the U.S. Southeast. Green for All, a nonprofit organization working to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, takes the Organization Honorable Mention for its efforts to ensure communities of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement.

“With the rapid growth of the solar industry over the past decade has come a flurry of activity to creatively expand the use of solar and to ensure the benefits of the technology are fully and properly realized,” noted Thomas P. Kimbis, Chair of TSF. “While we applaud the accomplishments of the 2015 Awardees and Honorees, we recognize and appreciate the innumerable efforts to bring our nation closer to a clean energy future.”
The Solar Foundation’s Summer Solstice is an annual event that raises awareness and support for solar research and education. Details and tickets for the 2015 Summer Solstice event held June 24th from 6-10pm on the Jones Day rooftop terrace in Washington, DC are available at www.thesolarfoundation.org/event/summer-solstice

About The Solar Foundation:

The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. TSF is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at www.TheSolarFoundation.org