Chat with Karla Loeb | The Sunnyside Podcast

Chat with Karla Loeb

• Published on September 7, 2022

Episode Summary:

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.

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”

Episode transcript:

Sharon Lee:

Welcome to the Sunnyside, the podcast that makes solar energy relatable, accessible, and attainable. Join us as we journey behind the scenes with women taking amazing strides in all parts of the solar industry. I’m your host, Sharon Lee. Thank you for joining us today.

Welcome back to the Sunnyside. I am your host, Sharon Lee, with Velo Solar. I am so excited about my guest today. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time in Sharon’s Corner, so we can get right to her. Although, it does relate what I have been up to. So we will be talking about the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act today. Yesterday, I was in Piedmont Park with Senator Ossoff’s team, as they were doing a media event to rah, rah the fact that this is not introduced legislation, this is actually passed law. So that was a great event. Jennette Gayer with Environment Georgia gave some remarks. Scott with Q-Cell announced some information about their expansion, which is going to turn into 500 additional jobs. We’ll get into some of that piece of this legislation as well. And Senator Ossoff did a fantastic job of fielding questions. We were just able to celebrate together. So that was a fun event.

And then I came straight down to Savannah. So I am recording here today from my hotel room in Savannah. I’m going to be going to a chamber of commerce event. There’s been a great little buzz about the passing of this law. It’s just fantastic. I think that people feel like this is within their reach. So they’re really wanting to find out more details. So that’s going to be what this is about today. But before we get into it, let me introduce my guest Karla Loeb. She is the head of government affairs for Arcadia. Everybody say hi to Karla.

Karla Loeb:

Hi.

Sharon Lee:

Welcome, Karla. Before we get too much into the weeds about what you all have been doing in DC, tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get here?

Karla Loeb:

Long and winding story. As Sharon mentioned, I’m with Arcadia. Arcadia is a technology firm. We focus on enabling and deploying clean technologies to help undo the bad things that have happened for generations and generations. I am personally originally from New Orleans. Born and raised in uptown New Orleans, a block off the street car line, and went to University of Texas.

Sharon Lee:

[Inaudible 00:02:35] to wrong UT. So I had to get that little gig in there.

Karla Loeb:

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Sharon believes this is the wrong UT. I’ll just say, when people say, “Where did you go?” I say, “Texas.” They’re like, “Which one?” I was like, “There’s only one Texas.”

Sharon Lee:

I love it.

Karla Loeb:

But spent a lot of time in Texas growing up. But generationally, my family has been in Louisiana for a super, super long time. So in some way, shape or form, my background story and youth was spent around the oil and gas industry in a meaningful way. The majority of fossil fuels is processed in the state of Louisiana. Most policy has been dictated from Louisiana to DC for more than a hundred years. So it’s interesting to be in DC now doing it in the reverse capacity.

Went to Texas. Ultimately got recruited to develop utility scale wind and solar facilities in Texas, in the middle portion of the United States. I was kind of lost. I just thought that I was going to be a lawyer, or something along those lines. I was a government and history major and wanted to help and figure that out. I thought I was going to go into constitutional law. So not really high yielding money maker, et cetera, but more about fighting the fight and doing good work for good people to make sure that we are preserving the values that our democracy was founded on.

Instead, I got recruited to be essentially a wildcatter for wind and solar. Called myself a landman. I ended up in West Texas developing my first wind facility. Was talking to the land manager for the Scottish Rite Hospital in Texas. His name was Gary Nease. Gary was explaining that they had tens of thousands of acres under management, and it was his responsibility for that property to be as profitable as possible, to help support the mission of the Scottish Rite Hospital, which supports children in orthopedics. He said a word that just resonated with me. And for the first time, I was like, “I get it. This is what I want to do. This is what I’ve been looking for forever.” He was like, “It’s my job to be a steward of this land.” It just was like this aha moment for me. And I’ve really carried that with me ever since.

See, my job, whether people know it or not, is to be a steward of this cause and steward of preserving and helping to sustain what’s out there. I think it’s the quintessential definition of conservationist. It’s that we got to take care of what we have so that we continue to have it. And again, being from South Louisiana, I mean that includes crawfish. It includes seasonal tomatoes. It includes soft shell crabs and oysters, and all of these things that I love and that are in constant threat of being just wiped off the planet. So it is personal. It is my career, but it is also my passion, because it helps me to help everyone.

Sharon Lee:

Well, and you had said it really well when we talked before, that you had said that this is a way to thread and connect. It connects the past and present, the old and the new. So you were not seeing yourself necessarily in this light, as you took that, and then you had the aha moment. I think that’s fantastic.

Karla Loeb:

Yep. No, I mean, again, my dad worked at One Shell Square as a kid. So, I mean, Shell, Shell Oil. While he wasn’t in the oil business, he certainly was adjacent in many different capacities and ways, and generationally, my family’s been adjacent to it in many different capacities. When I was developing that wind farm out in West Texas, it ultimately, I named it the Santa Rita Project. It was in the exact location where the original Santa Rita well was drilled in Big Lake, Texas, which is in Reagan County and uber West Texas. It actually was the oil well that ultimately ended up sustaining the University of Texas’s endowment for a generation. So it was very symbolic to have the original well’s name ultimately be the wind projects name in that same place. It was bringing the past into the present.

Sharon Lee:

Mm-hmm. And then you went from Texas directly to DC, is that correct?

Karla Loeb:

No. I moved back to New Orleans. I got recruited after my time at the wind energy company. I was with them for almost five years. I moved back to Louisiana to work for a solar and energy efficiency company that focused on servicing low and moderate income households. Again, like another aha moment, wanting to help people, wanting to make things better, make things more equitable. Everybody should have access to clean energy. It shouldn’t be exclusively the Tesla driving folks. So I went on a bit of a campaign, not just in Louisiana, but nationally. Was a guest at the White House several times. Helped provide feedback on the Clean Power Plan, which, at the time, was the federal policy that folks were trying to develop to make sure that there was a clean energy transition. I worked in New York. I worked in Connecticut. Really advocated for equitable access.

A lot of the work that I did established policies that are still thriving today. I mean, it was a precursor to the Clean Energy fund, which is in New York, which is a multi-billion dollar effort to transition the entire state to clean energy, with huge allocations of resources to lower income households. It included a partnership with the Connecticut Green Bank that resulted in the state being the first one in the country to have equity parity. So what that means is there are basically an equal number of low income households having access to clean energy as there are higher income households. It was the first state to achieve it, and it was through the partnership that I helped to establish. So, super proud of the work that I’ve gotten to do and continue to do. Advocacy for energy equity continues to be a passion project, and certainly a professional policy position that I tend to thread in every component, whether that was through the Inflation Reduction Act or policies that I helped to work on in Virginia. It’s been with me always.

Sharon Lee:

This is probably jumping forward, but can you talk a little bit about your role on the SEIA board? I guess we should say what SEIA is before getting into that.

Karla Loeb:

I can. Before we hop to that, I’ll just say, from Louisiana, I actually joined a company that was based in Virginia, then I moved to DC. That’s how I got to DC, was the company wanted me to move to Charlottesville, Virginia. I said, “Hard pass. It’s a lovely town, but I’d rather be in the center of it.” I knew that I could fundamentally help more people from DC, in Louisiana and Texas and everywhere, than I could from Virginia. So it was an active decision. When people asked me if I moved to DC for my job, I said, “No, I’m moving for my career.” It was a super intentional decision for me.

I concurrently, when I made that move, got elected to the SEIA board of directors. I sit on the Solar Energy Industry Association board of directors, which is the national trade association that represents the entire solar industry, and particularly, competitive providers in the solar industry. I’m now in my fifth year on the board. So I’ve gotten elected three times now. And I have also been elected as a board member. Most of the board seats are paid-for memberships. I’ve been elected by all of my peers to serve on the executive committee. And then I also was elected to be the state policy chair for the entire association. So covering all of state policies and budgets for the organization. I’m the elected member, how I ended up on the board in the first place, of the distributed generation division. That covers residential solar, commercial solar, and community solar.

Sharon Lee:

Your state policy director position, is that why you were a part of Georgia’s IRP testimony or …

Karla Loeb:

I actually started doing some work in Georgia. My company Arcadia is very interested in diversifying, and particularly, to more challenging markets. As somebody who has done a lot of work in super, I would say, hostile environments to distributed generation, it’s just something that I know how to do. I have been successful. I continue to be successful. Community solar should be a right, not a privilege, because it actually creates equitable access for everyone to clean energy. So that was kind of the impetus for me getting involved. So I participated behind the scenes and provided feedback on the Georgia IRP and several other dockets, as well as some legislative campaigns. So, yeah, that’s how I have made my appearance in Georgia.

Sharon Lee:

Nice. Now, are you following the rate case that will go?

Karla Loeb:

I have been. As a member of the board of SEIA, I get to participate in regional committees. And then also, Arcadia, on top of being a member of SEIA, we’re also a member of Georgia SEIA. So I actually have been participating in the Georgia SEIA working group, as well as the national SEIA working group to provide feedback. So IRP, as well as the rate case, and will continue to provide input as needed. I just got really busy.

Sharon Lee:

You think?

Karla Loeb:

Yeah. A few weeks ago, I don’t know if you heard, this small piece of legislation just passed called the Inflation Reduction Act.

Sharon Lee:

Yes, very exciting. There’s a number of different components to it. I know you can speak to a lot of different components of it, but we had talked before about maybe focusing this conversation to what business owners can expect, what is that commercial solar piece to it? We can go as far as you want to, but anyway, just thought for this purpose, there’s just a whole lot that can kind of focus our conversation.

Karla Loeb:

Yeah. I would just start by setting the stage that, one, this is the largest investment in clean energy ever in the history of our country or world, period.

Sharon Lee:

Wow.

Karla Loeb:

It’s $369 billion, and we did it without having an impact on the budget. What that means is we actually reduced spending over the next 10 years to help pay for this initiative. So it is not a tax increase. It actually is going to be a reduction on overall the deficit for the United States. So it is going to generate substantial and significant savings, particularly on the healthcare side of our budget in the United States, because it’s going to enable bulk purchasing and negotiation power on drugs for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Why that’s important is that historically there were only 10 drugs that were bulk negotiated. So this is going to be able to control prices that the federal government is having to pay for these drugs for people. It’s also going to limit the costs for households to a maximum of $2,000 for our elderly, which is, I just think phenomenal. So while I operate in the climate space and clean tech space, I really operate in the clean tech space, I don’t talk about climate all that often, these are really critical things that are ultimately going to save us a lot of money. The average extreme weather event right now is costing billions of dollars every time they happen. So if we do things to mitigate that, we’re going to save money. It’s just a fact.

All that being said, the Inflation Reduction Act really touches on so many components of the clean tech space. It is electric vehicle incentives, and those could be for commercial or industrial purposes. So if you have a business and you are a tractor or a heavy duty truck, or whatever else, there is a $40,000 tax credit available that you can leverage. That because it’s a commercial vehicle and tied to a business, it does not have a salary requirement. The other tax incentives associated with electric vehicles are all tied to salary. So they’re salary limitations. They started at about $4,500 for a tax credit for a used vehicle, and go up to $7,500 for a used vehicle. There are, 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 credits, the enumerable adders that can be stacked on top of the base investment tax credits, the storage tax credit.

Sharon Lee:

It would be … I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but the longevity of all of this. So that is definitely something that I’d like for you to speak to.

Karla Loeb:

It’s 10 years. These policies are going to affect, and they will be in place for 10 years. There’s some exceptions on some grant funding or allocation fundings to the Department of Energy that need to be deployed by certain timeframes. But for the most part, particularly on the ITC and the PTC, and the related adders associated with it, they’re all 10 year tax credits. That’s the furthest we can go out. It is by far the longest runway we’ve ever had on a tax credit, whether you’re talking about residential households or businesses. And really going to create a massive amount of certainty to embolden and give confidence to the capital markets. That these investments are here. They’re going to be around. They’re not going to be subject to recapture. It’s not going to be the ebbs and flows of whatever’s happening.

So it’s a $369 billion bill, but that has trickle down effects in an exponential capacity, on what that’s going to do for jobs, what that is going to do for economic development in communities, particularly rural communities. I haven’t even touched on the USDA provisions, which is increasing the REAP grants, which help to support the Rural Energy Grant Program. It’s exciting.

There’s also more money allocated to the Department of Energy Loan Program Office. Right now, the Department of Energy Loan Program Office, which is headed up by Jigar Shah, former CEO and founder of SunEdison, who created the first PPA for solar, and then established Generate Capital, which is one of the largest investors in clean technology in the country. Has $500 billion to invest in clean technology, the Loan Program Office.

They’re loans, they have to be paid back. It’s legit, but there are dollars available to invest in creative solutions. He jokes that … It’s not a joke. I mean, he has to spend $200 million a day to spend all of the money while he’s in office. So this is an incredible opportunity. They’ve made a ton of announcements. He is bullish on virtual power plants and the benefits that distributed generation, coupled with other technologies like storage and electric vehicles, et cetera, are going to provide to our grid for resiliency in the face of extreme weather events.

I mean, we watched what happened in Uri, in Texas. It just crippled the state and almost broke the grid. We saw what happened at Ida, in Louisiana. Obviously, I’m touching on two states that are near and dear to my heart, where people were without power for over a month. Post-Katrina, which was the largest hurricane that had ever hit South Louisiana, I mean, there were people that had power after a month. We’re talking Ida, which was not even that bad of a storm, and people were without power for over a month. Entergy Louisiana announced, I want to say in July, that that should be the new norm. That people should have the expectation, if a storm hits again, that they’re going to be without power for a month, which I think is unacceptable. I mean, these folks were granted a monopoly to deliver reliable service at the lowest cost. “That’s not an acceptable answer, so you better figure out something else.”

I think distributed generation, I mean, going back to the segment of the industry that I work in most passionately, is the solution. Like, we need to deploy as much distributed generation as possible and distributed energy resources, which include resi solar, community solar. You have electric vehicles storage at your house. That could be a heat pump. There were huge credits associated with heat pumps included in the Inflation Reduction Act, which I like to call Ira. I’m not really into calling it the IRA because we already had that in our history and it didn’t look so good on anybody. So I’m going to go for the Jewish grandfather and call it Ira.

Sharon Lee:

I love it. I think you’ve coined that term. I think that’s perfect. I was going to ask you, with some of these tax credits, they are available immediately, right?

Karla Loeb:

Yes.

Sharon Lee:

Some of them are not, though, or maybe-

Karla Loeb:

It depends on the credit.

Sharon Lee:

Okay.

Karla Loeb:

25D, which is the residential solar tax credit that individuals can take, provided they have the tax liability, is retroactive back to January 1st, 2022. So if you installed your solar this year, if you’ve already installed it, if it was after January 1st, 2022, you were eligible for a 30% tax credit, because the ITCU for 25D was increased, in its totality, back up to 30%. That will be a 10 year runway on that. Section 48, which is the tax credit that businesses utilize. By businesses, I mean, that could be a residential solar company, like Sunrun or Sunnova, because they actually do contracts. They own the systems, ultimately, and then have contracts for the people to utilize the energy, but they leverage section 48. So they leverage that. Commercial entities leverage section 48. And utility scale folks leverage section 48.

So section 48 is a little bit wonkier. There are a bunch of different stipulations. A lot of them are tied to size. When I say this is for the ITC, there’s also a section 48 PTC for wind and solar. But the section 48 ITC, the provision is changing the structure of the credit to be tied to a variety of labor provisions. So the credit starts at 6%. If you meet labor prevailing wage requirements, as well as apprenticeship program requirements, you can get up to 30%.

There are also adders that can be leveraged. There is a 20% adder if your projects, that are below five megawatts, so think commercial or community solar, if more than 50% of the capacity services a low income community. Meaning, you could get a 70% tax credit if 50% of the financial benefits of your project, below five megawatts, services a low income community, which has been defined as 200% of federal poverty level or 80% of state median income. How that is going to be interpreted by the IRS and how we’re going to make things eligible will be determined through implementation, which we have six months for that, 180 days for implementation from bill signing, and bill signing was last Tuesday.

That is going to be a pretty intense process with Treasury. They’ve been massively understaffed for a really long time. We were actually just reconciling their staffing issues, IRS and Treasury through this legislation. There have been a lot of talking points about how the IRS is coming after people with guns. No, they’re just going to actually be staffed at a reasonable level for the first time in decades, for the number of people that we have in the United States. So it’s going to take a lot of implementation and collaboration with folks at Treasury, as well as SEIA and some of the other trade associations.

I will just give a personal plug for SEIA. They are “the” trade association. By the, I mean, in talking to staffers that worked on this tirelessly where … I mean, let me say first and foremost, thank you to all the staffers in Congress and the senators and the representatives who worked tirelessly on this for two years. This did not happen in two weeks. I worked on negotiations as far back as 18 months ago. Other people went so far back as two years. I mean, we’ve worked on these issues in some form or capacity for decades, but the culmination of this piece of legislation really has been a multi-year effort. Staff and our electeds really delivered on it.

I would just say that it is also the ultimate representation of what a piece of legislation should look like because it was a compromise. This was not just a big swath handout, the industry, meaning the clean energy industry, so whether that’s electric vehicles, solar, wind, offshore wind, energy efficiency, you name it, got stuff. You know who else got a ton? Utility companies. You know who else got a ton? Oil and gas companies. You know who else got a ton? West Virginia. Not surprising. So, I mean, it was the ultimate compromise because everybody got something. I think it’s the mark of real collaboration and real policy making when no one side or part wins, but everybody wins. I can tell you who is ultimately going to win. It’s the American people. The American people not just in the cities, but the people in the rural communities, because the amount of money that is about to be injected in our rural communities is enormous. There is going to be a revitalization like we have not seen in my lifetime.

Sharon Lee:

It’s amazing. I think that is the buzz that I am hearing, just from the average Joe, hearing that this is happening. It’s not just another something that went through Washington. I mean, people actually feel like it’s accessible to them, and it is. So I think that the more that we can talk about this and get information … That was the other thing, is we were talking about SEIA being such a fantastic information resource, because as the implementation process is happening over the next few months, they are going to be putting out things like maps and other resources. The summary that they came out with immediately after this passage was so thorough and helpful. I mean, I think that was a great start, but did you want to talk a little bit more about-

Karla Loeb:

Yeah, about the resources that are available. For as long as I can remember, I have heard from local energy folks, “What has my national trade association ever done for me?” I’m just going to say, my standard answer going forward, “$369 billion. What have you done for it?” My point to this is a fraction of all of the energy businesses in the United States are members of SEIA. A fraction of them. The resources, the time, the energy that it is going to take, and that we’re going to need to be able to properly implement this legislation, and win the win and make sure that it does exactly what it was intended to do, which is to reach every nook, cranny, and crevice of this country, and get clean energy and clean technologies into it, we’re going to need more resources. This is a lot of money. It is a huge responsibility and it’s going to take a lot of work.

You mentioned the summary that SEIA put together. There’s multiple summaries. There’s the summary that SEIA put together for the average layperson, that they could pick up. There’s the SEIA summary that they put together for members. Which is, one is seven pages, the other one is 25 pages. So you would imagine that the 25 page one has a little bit more detail.

Sharon Lee:

Right.

Karla Loeb:

SEIA’s working on a map that is going to have information about former energy communities, which is one of the big provisions is for utility scale and commercial, and community solar development, in transitioning communities. Communities that used to be energy communities that we’re trying to reinvest in those same areas to bring these communities back to life. There is a map that is being developed, that you’ll be able to … interactive map. You’ll be able to click on it and find out where every single energy community is in the country, so that you can start developing your projects.

There’s also a map of every single project above one megawatt that is in the queue, that is already interconnected. We’re just developing resource upon resource. I mentioned these labor provisions that are attached to section 48 for commercial projects and utility scale projects. Those are not going to be super easy. The prevailing wage is going to be relatively straightforward. Those numbers are published. Everybody will be able to access them. But the apprenticeship program is going to be a massive amount of implementation. You’re going to need to be able to document it or you’re going to be subject to recapture. Recapture of that tax credit that you’re leveraging to construct and develop your project. So you need a trusted source and ally. I’m going to tell you, it’s going to be SEIA.

We already have people that have been hired. We hired them two years ago to start working on this. This isn’t something that we just started today. We’ve been planning. We’ve been thinking. We negotiated out the language. We sat in a room with IBEW and other labor groups and sorted these details out. Again, it’s not going to be easy, but we can do it, but you need help. There are very few companies that are going to be sophisticated enough and have the time, energy or resources, either financially or figuratively, to be able to do this on their own. So, if there ever was a time to become a member, it is now. Because you need a shepherd, and SEIA is it, and will be the leading voice in the negotiations, whether it’s Department of Energy, whether it’s Treasury, whether it’s the Environmental Protection Agency, because all of those agencies are touched by this legislation. So I would encourage you to join. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them.

The entry level membership is $750. It goes up from there. So it’s reasonable if you’re a mom and pop shop, or if you’re a more sophisticated agency or group. Also, have your voice heard about what you need. We’ve got RE+ coming up in September. I’m going to be there. I’m going to be talking on a panel. I have a board meeting for SEIA. There’s going to be a lot of incredible content. I mean, it’s going to be a huge celebration. It’s an opportunity for you to have face time with people who are the experts, who know what’s going on, who can help you help your business be more profitable and sustainable.

Sharon Lee:

We were talking about that before from the standpoint of mentorship, but with everything that you have accomplished just across your career, but then also, what you do for SEIA, it’s amazing. You’ve talked about not having a specific formal program, but things like that. Being so accessible at shows like that, that SEIA’s putting on, is just phenomenal. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Karla Loeb:

Yeah. I mean, mentorship for me is about empowering people in the community who take an interest, who care, and who ask questions. I have not participated in a formal mentorship program, either as a receiver or as a giver. I will say, I have incredible mentors who happen to also be my friends, like Abby Hopper. I also have been a mentor to other people. Not in a formal capacity, again, but just as a ally, helpful hand, resource when people needed that. The first person that comes to mind is Chase Counts. He does a lot of policy for community housing partners, which focuses on low income energy efficiency programs in Virginia. But my door’s open, my phone line’s open. Whether it’s folks at Arcadia who I’ve worked with or people at previous companies, or just people who I’ve met along the way. I mean, I feel like in some ways I was just kind of picked out of a hat and people gave me opportunities and I just kept showing up.

I would just encourage everybody, if you’re looking for a way to get involved, 99.9% is just showing up. I’m sure you’ve all heard it, but if I’m not a testament to it, then I don’t know what is. I mean, my dad jokes all the time. He’s like, “Washington, DC is totally bureaucratic. Whatever else, you can’t have access to anything. This is absurd.” I was like, “If it were so absurd, why have I been to the White House a dozen times, meeting with congressional members on the regular? If it was so inaccessible, why do I, who has no entitlement to any of this, get to be in the room?” I think, again, it goes back to, I just kept showing up and just kept asking questions and kind of pushing for that. So if you want to come and ask me questions, you always can. And if you need help and support, whether it’s pointing you in directions or providing feedback on your career path …

I mean, a guy that I knew in New Orleans wanted to have cocktails with me while I was living there. He was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” He had worked on the city council and couldn’t figure out his next path. He ended up having a job at Uber, being the head of policy for the southeast, and whatever else. Did I do that? Absolutely not. But did we talk about what the opportunities were, and how and where he could end up? I remember those stories and will continue to remember it. I mean, it’s a very small industry. So my advice is show up, be authentic, which is a word people are somewhat overusing, but if anybody that’s met me knows, there is no version of Karla, but Karla. So I am the definition of authentic. And work hard. That’s it.

Sharon Lee:

Tell us how, if someone does want to reach you, how they can connect with you.

Karla Loeb:

Yep. Email is probably the easiest. It’s just Karla, it’s Karla with a K, dot Loeb, as in Lisa Loeb. For you younger folks, it’s L, O as in Oscar, E as in echo, B as in bravo. So karla.loeb@arcadia.com. Would be happy to hear from you. Happy to connect you with the right people, if you have a question and I can’t answer it. Just really appreciate the time to come on here, Sharon. I didn’t get to bring this up before, but as we close out … So, Sharon’s name is Sharon Lee. Well, my mom’s name is Sharon DeLee. So seeing it on a screen for a few minutes just kind of makes me giggle because it’s my mom’s name.

Sharon Lee:

Well, I love the fact that when you told me that story, I said, “Well, my middle initial is D,” so technically I’m Sharon DeLee as well.

Karla Loeb:

Exactly. Exactly.

Sharon Lee:

I think that is fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a wealth of information. And I know more things are going to be unfolding.

Karla Loeb:

Yes. I mean, I would love to come back and talk to you guys about specific provisions, and what’s happening on the implementation and whatever else. I mean, again, this is a work in progress. Getting it passed was the Herculean effort. I don’t know what could be more than that. I mean, climbing Mount Everest is now what we’re about to do. It’s a slow treacherous trek uphill the whole time. It’s going to be a lot of work. So we’ve got a lot of work to do to make sure that we get the implementation of this legislation correct.

Sharon Lee:

Well, we are going to put that time in and make it great. I’m so excited about that. And I look forward to seeing you at RE+. We’ll connect there and see where the conversation goes.

Karla Loeb:

Sounds wonderful. Thanks so much, Sharon, for having me on. Take care. Good luck to Velo in the near term.

Sharon Lee:

Sounds good. Thank you so much.

Karla Loeb:

Bye.

Sharon Lee:

Thanks for listening to the Sunnyside Podcast. If you liked what you heard, please give us a five star review. You can also email questions, suggestions, and compliments to sharon@velosolar.com. The Sunnyside is produced by the Podcast Laundry production company and executive produced by Sharon Lee.

Sharon Lee:

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 Loeb:

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.

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Sharon Lee
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Karla Loeb
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