Solar Companies: Top 10 Key Points When Dealing with Elected Officials
1. Temper Your Personal Politics. Look at Governor as business partner and investor, not as a politician.
2. Every state wants a clean tech economy, so if you're doing clean tech you're in a good position for money compared to other manufacturers in the state.
3. Job retention vs. Job creation - If you are creating jobs you are in a better position when trying to impact politicians.
4. Already in state vs. moving into state - larger opportunity for those moving into a state. Again think in terms of job creation vs. job retention.
5. Remember that you are creating of a new industry and government officials like that.
6. Have Realistic Expectations - There is only $117M in DOE stimulus money, and you have to be realistic about how much of that money you can get. For example, if you need $50M, you may not get all of it from government money.
7. You will get more money out of government for building manufacturing facilities than you will for Research & Development
8. Think of Federal Government incentives when looking for assistance with R&D, and think of the State and Local Government incentives when looking for assistance with Manufacturing and Factory building.
9. Try to target some of these R&D programs, and when possible meet with program managers before you look at an RFP. These RFPs are very cumbersome, and it may be more worth your time to speak with these program managers about your project and see if you have a project that potentially can fit when an RFP actually does become available.
10. Congressional Appropriations and Earmarks - Dollar Amounts vary and more powerful members have a better opportunity to secure an earmark.
This was taken from Chris Fish's lecture at this year's Intersolar Conference. Interested in more? Watch Chris Fish's full lecture on Government Incentives for Solar Manufacturers.