Meet the fixer: This policy wonk shows state leadership on solar. - Grist


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Grist 50

California Energy Commission

Meet the fixer: This policy wonk shows state leadership on solar.

Today, California has 100,000 solar jobs, by far the most of any state. You can credit David Hochschild for some of that. In 2001, Hochschild cofounded the advocacy group Vote Solar with Adam Browning, who previously ran a pollution prevention program at the Environmental Protection Agency. The duo built out the program’s finely tuned combination of policy advising, public engagement, and coalition-building.

Vote Solar is now 60,000 members strong, operates in 25 states, and has helped spur initiatives like California’s 3,000-megawatt Go Solar California program — enough capacity to power roughly 650,000 homes.

Hochschild is now a commissioner for the California Energy Commission, the state’s main energy policy and planning agency. He and his team have funded early-stage biofuel projects, crafted emergency policy responses to California’s drought, and released energy standards for next-gen light bulbs. Hochschild embraces the idea that more and more states will look to California as a leader in clean energy. “You can’t stop rooftop solar now,” he says.

Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.