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As the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) ramps up its efforts to reverse state-level renewable portfolio standards (RPS), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) will no longer be a member.

ALEC, which describes itself on its website as a coalition of elected officials and private-sector members working to advance "fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism," recently partnered with climate-change skeptic group Heartland Institute to make the case that RPS mandates are economically harmful to states.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, initially told the Washington Post that group intended to remain a part of ALEC, in spite of a difference of opinion over RPS' costs and benefits.

"We're committed to work with conservatives, and ALEC is a vehicle to do that," he explained to the newspaper in an article that appeared online Nov. 24 and immediately made the rounds in the solar sector.

Many solar sector executives questioned SEIA's membership in ALEC, especially given its newly expanded pushback against a critical component of pro-solar policy. 

In a Nov. 30 blog post, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) publicly wondered whether SEIA and other renewable energy industry associations would follow Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola and other high-profile companies in leaving the group.

As it turns out, the day before EDF posted its article, SEIA had announced it was formally parting ways with ALEC.

Carrie Cullen Hitt, vice president of state affairs at SEIA, told members in a Nov. 29 email that after joining ALEC at some point earlier this year in order to "promote bipartisan energy policies that would help all Americans," SEIA has not renewed its membership.

Hitt further described ALEC's plans to roll back RPS as "a rallying cry for solar" and urged association members to join in the fight to oppose those efforts.


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