Two solar officials exit as trade group shuffles priorities

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Solar Energy Industries Association recently removed two senior officials as part of a shift in “strategic priorities.”

The trade group ousted Tom Kimbis, executive vice president and general counsel, and Christopher Mansour, vice president of federal affairs, late last month. Both are well-known in Washington solar circles.

In 2016, Kimbis became SEIA’s interim president prior to current President Abigail Ross Hopper coming on board. He joined SEIA in 2010 after working on solar and renewable programs at the Department of Energy for nine years. He frequently commented on solar issues in the press, slamming an organization that put out a report critical of the solar industry last year (Greenwire, Dec. 7, 2017).

Mansour has been at SEIA for five years and once worked for former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

In a statement, Hopper said the organization is “grateful for the contributions Tom and Christopher have made to SEIA and to the solar industry.”

“They have been highly effective advocates for solar. With new strategic priorities came the need for personnel changes, and I made difficult decisions I think are in the association’s — and the industry’s — best interests,” she said.

Hopper also told that SEIA is shifting its focus more toward state battles and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission now that the solar tariff issue is finalized.

President Trump inked an executive action in January establishing a 30 percent tariff on solar panel imports, set to decline in increments over the next four years.

A SEIA spokesperson said the group would make new hires, although “not necessarily in the same roles. “