In this episode, Sharon Lee talks with Karla Koeb about the latest advances in the Clean Energy Industry to accomplish two purposes: take what we have so we continue to have it and make energy not a privilege but a right. Karla talks about how she was exposed to the energy industry from a very young age, how she got involved in the clean technology industry, and the projects she currently takes part in. She emphasizes SEIA and The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which have helped business owners and ordinary people access energy in a more reliable and clean way.
Sharon Lee taps over a decade of solar sales experience, having led the creation of a solar division for a leading manufacturing/construction firm, resulting in over 17 MW of solar in its portfolio as well as solar ultimately becoming its highest-grossing revenue vertical. Lee has been involved in the GA Solar Energy Association, serving on the board of directors as the marketing chair, organizing the annual conference, as well as vice-chair, and ultimately the first female chair of the organization in 2015. She is also a charter member of the Professional Women in Building chapter of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and Women in Solar Energy (WISE). Lee earned her B.S. degree in communications with double minors in marketing and psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, after spending three years at the University of Tennessee in the pre-health curriculum. Lee is the mom of two boys, ages 14 and 11, and a rabid college football fan. She and her husband, John, spend most of their free time at the baseball or football fields unless they can steal away for a quick round of golf.
Karla is a veteran of clean energy policy and business development. As the Chief Policy & Development Officer at Sigora Arcadia, Karla oversees legislative, administrative, and regulatory efforts at the local, state, and national levels, as well as coordinates and manages strategic development partnerships. Karla's clean energy expertise is extensive and diverse. Karla is an industry expert on issues relating to low to moderate (change to hyphens) income (LMI) access to clean energy and has resulted in the creation of LMI solar and energy efficiency policies in Virginia, Louisiana, New York, Mississippi, and Connecticut. Additionally, on a federal level, Karla has worked to extend the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and on a state level has worked with coalitions to establish and preserve net metering and expand third-party financing and ownership policies in more than a dozen states. Karla served as a collaborator and contributor in the publication of the CESA & DOE Sun Shot's study "Bringing the benefits of Solar to Low Income Customers- A guide for States & Municipalities”, as well as the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's "Energy Efficiency Financing for Low- and Moderate-Income Households" in which she presented the case for leveraging solar to increase deployment of energy efficiency specifically for low-to-moderate income households. Karla is a member of the Vote Solar Low-Income Solar Policy group and a former adviser to the Department of Energy's Clean Energy for Low Income Communities Accelerator (CELICA) group and the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. She has presented on low-income solar access at NARUC, Innovations in Clean Energy Finance IV: Market Successes and Lessons for Lower Income, as well as ACORE and SEIA-affiliated conferences. Karla’s clean energy experience also includes substantial utility-scale wind and solar energy development including the development and construction of 1400+ MW of wind energy projects. During that time, Karla served as co-chair of the Central Texas WOWE chapter, now WRISE, from 2007-2012. Additionally, Karla helped to find both the New Orleans and Charlottesville WRISE chapters. Karla previously served on the board of the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association (GSREIA) at which time she was a member of the planning committee and presenter at the 2017 Gulf Coast Power Association's MISO South meeting and the 2016 and 2017 SEIA Southeast conferences. Karla currently serves as an elected alternate on the SEIA Board of Directors advocating for expansive clean energy and distributed generation policies and a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive industry.
Insights from this Episode
- Karla’s background
- How Karla got introduced into the solar industry
- Karla’s professional journey
- How Karla’s contribution to helping people live in a better world has become personal to her
- Karla’s work and projects with SEIA
- How business owners can benefit from The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
- The principal purpose of IRA and how it seeks to give equal access to energy
- Karla’s thoughts on mentorship
Quotes from the Show:
- “Community Solar should be a right, not a privilege because it actually creates equitable access for everyone to clean energy, and so that was kind of the impetus for me getting involved”- Karla Loeb in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “[About the benefits of IRA] I think for the Solar Industry, I mean the biggest things I would point to are the tax provisions as it relates to the investment tax credit, production tax credit, the manufacturing tax credit”- Karla Loeb in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “[About the transition to clean technology with the help of SEIA] There are very few companies that are gonna be sophisticated enough and have the time, energy or resources, either financially or figuratively, to be able to do this on their own”- Karla Loeb in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
- “Mentorship for me is about empowering people in the community who take an interest to care and ask questions”- Karla Loeb in “The Sunnyside Podcast”
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.