Connect with us


Energy Storage: The Next Step For Our Renewable Future



Energy Storage: The Next Step For Our Renewable Future

By Joe Wallace, CEO, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership | May 21, 2019

The Coachella Valley has long been a leader in renewable energy in California. The region has year-round sunshine for solar power and ample wind to keep turbines spinning.

The renewable energy industry has become all but synonymous, visually, with the valley over the past few decades. The wind turbines along Interstate 10 at the San Gorgonio Pass, one of the state’s windiest areas, has become an iconic image for local residents and a tourist destination.

As CEO of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, I am intimately familiar with how renewable energy has strengthened the local economy and brought jobs to the region. Riverside County’s unemployment rate is now a full 10 points lower than it was at the height of the Great Recession. Local investments in renewable energy have been a big part of that economic recovery.

Last year, the state established an ambitious goal of reaching 100 percent zero-emission electricity by 2045 along with aggressive renewable energy targets for 2030. The goals could give the Coachella Valley and its renewable energy industry a big boost by creating jobs, developing our workforce and improving our economy.

Renewable energy is intermittent by nature. For example, solar power isn’t available at night. To keep California reliably supplied with electric power 24/7/365 as the state moves toward 100% renewable energy, energy storage is an absolute necessity. We need this not just to support our climate targets but to support our businesses that count on reliable energy.

Energy storage makes it possible to draw on reserves of excess renewable energy — generated when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing — and supply it to customers when the sun goes down or the wind is light. The California Public Utilities Commission says energy storage is essential for meeting 2045’s zero emissions goal.

Just outside the Coachella Valley, the Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project could turn lost jobs of the past into future opportunities.

The long-duration bulk energy storage project will convert an abandoned iron ore mine east of Indio into a facility that could provide enough stored energy to power nearly 1 million homes. While small-scale energy sources like batteries will be an important part of our energy future, utility-scale projects like Eagle Mountain are cost-effective and necessary to operate a grid using 100 percent carbon-free energy.

Eagle Mountain will pump water from the old mine to a higher-elevation reservoir whenever excess power is available. Then, whenever renewable energy is unavailable, that water will be released to flow through turbines and produce clean hydropower. The project has already undergone a thorough environmental review and has state and federal approval to move forward.

The best part — the Eagle Mountain project will invest $3 billion in the local economy and create more than 4,300 jobs. This facility not only provides for workforce development but broad community benefits by creating a tax base that will pump approximately $328 million in income into the local and state economy.

Getting energy storage built will take regulatory fixes, including a new process for procuring energy storage projects. Senate Bill 772 (Bradford-D) directs the California Independent System Operator, which operates the power grid, to establish a procurement process for long-duration bulk energy storage projects, allowing developers to move forward with several projects throughout the state.

SB 772 signals an ongoing commitment to investing in renewable energy storage technologies and represents an important opportunity to bring more good-paying jobs and economic development to the region. By taking advantage of the state’s increasing need for clean energy and investing in innovative local projects, the Coachella Valley can continue to build a resilient and prosperous economy for years to come.

Joe Wallace is CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.


Eco Friendly

California Does Not Need to Choose Between Post-Pandemic Economic Growth and Reducing Carbon Emissions, New Analysis Finds



State Has Demonstrated The Ability To Generate Green Jobs…; And If Current Trends Hold, Green Jobs In CA Will Outpace Nation By End Of Decade

Surprisingly, environmental leader California has a smaller ‘green economy’ than the average U.S. state and would need to add many thousands of environmentally friendly jobs to catch up. The good news is it’s on track to do just that, according to a new analysis released today by the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

The study projects that California will outpace the United States as a whole in its concentration of green jobs by 2030. Moreover, the state will be close to attaining a specialty in green jobs by the end of the decade, a workforce condition that is key to attracting investment, innovation, and further job creation.

While a greener economy will require phasing out employment in traditional energy industries such as oil and gas, an analysis of the entire labor force indicates that replacing those jobs with green energy jobs can be a net-positive, adding to California’s total employment and improving average wages.

“The transition to a greener, cleaner economy is not at odds with job creation,” said Dr. Patrick Adler, Research Manager at the Center for Economic Forecasting, and one of the report’s authors. “This is critical to understand because California is facing dual generational challenges right now – ensuring economic resilience following the shocks set in motion by the pandemic and decarbonizing the economy.” The state needs to reduce carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels in order to meet its own mandated reduction targets by 2030.

The study’s authors estimate that California’s current green labor force includes an impressive 372,984 workers but the state would need to add over 58,000 more green jobs by decade’s end to reach the U.S. state average in terms of concentration. However, if current trends, which show employment curving upwards in key green industries such as Motor Vehicles, hold, the state will realistically achieve that and more. The Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) industry in particular could bring more than 63,000 jobs to California.

Additional Key Findings:

  • California already has the advantage of being a leader in green jobs, allowing it to build from a position of strength. The state has added a full 44,000 green jobs since 2010.
  • While other states seek to attract high-tech green firms, more of these companies are already headquartered in California than anywhere else in the world. The analysis recommends that the state focus on growing the labor force of innovative firms already based here, but with an important caveat: average employment at these firms is low because they tend to focus on research more than prototyping and small-run manufacturing. California leaders should work to scale-up those operations.
  • Due to technological and efficiency advances, solar and wind generation will increasingly downshift into a less reliable source of green employment even as these industries expand. To grow its Green Economy, California needs to create green jobs outside of energy. Sectors showing strong future job growth include Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Fuels; Energy Efficient Manufacturing; and Motor Vehicles.
  • The state has a burgeoning ZEV cluster in Southern California that could potentially employ hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers.
  • The state’s ‘Circular Economy’, a sector that attempts to shrink reliance on global supply chains through waste diversion, could add tens of thousands of jobs over the decade.
  • The analysis introduces the idea that California will have to forge its own unique green jobs strategy given the state’s unusually high cost of living. For one, operations that are viable elsewhere, may not be here, and secondly, many traditional engines of the Green Economy, such as solar energy, have already reached a level of maturity in California, significantly diminishing returns. But according to Adler and his co-authors, this presents an opportunity to expand the scope of the state’s green labor force into new areas.

“The green jobs agenda has captured the imagination of many California policymakers because, in theory, it allows workers to benefit from a green energy transition,” says Adler. “This analysis suggests that mission is anything but naive.”

The full report, Greening the Golden Workforce: Progress and Pathways Toward Green Jobs Leadership, is available here.

This research was generously supported by Next 10. The analysis was authored by Adler, Research Associate Andrew Yu and Senior Research Associate Brady Allardice.

Continue Reading


Q&A with Brett Bouchy, CEO of Temecula based solar energy leader — Freedom Forever



Q&A with Brett Bouchy, CEO of Temecula based solar energy leader — Freedom Forever

Brett Bouchy is the CEO of Freedom Forever, based in Temecula, California. He has had a successful career as a private equity leader has a storied track record in cultivating businesses across a diverse set of industries. He was drawn to the solar market due to his passion for businesses that sit at the intersection between a social good and a smart investment. He has helped grow Freedom Forever into one of America’s fastest growing businesses through a commitment to a unique vision for renewable companies – one driven by unparalleled service, partnership with homeowners and a passion for green energy solutions.

Brett Bouchy, CEO of Freedom Forever

You have now been listed in the Inc 5000 for two years running – what is your advice on how to sustain such a high rate of growth?

When we began Freedom Forever, we knew we wanted to be a mission driven company – and that mission was to make sure that clean, reliable solar energy was available to as many homeowners as possible. We knew that meant we would need to grow – and grow quickly. But to do that meant ensuring we have the right team in place and that’s what really makes our company stand out.

We’ve made sure to put together a smart, diverse team of people from a number of backgrounds who share a similar set of values – a dedication to delivering the very best service possible to our customers, to thinking critically about our industry and a commitment to building not just a great company, but a better, cleaner future.

The other thing that has helped us sustain our rapid growth is making smart choices about where to position ourselves. Solar energy is taking off in a big way – but it’s not distributed equally around the country. Some markets, like here in California, are very mature with a deep competitive landscape, but others are just beginning to understand the benefits of solar and we know that those are ripe targets for growth. This is why we made the choice, for instance, to open an office in Chicago, because Illinois has created great incentives for solar energy but homeowners have only begun to embrace it there.

Why makes home solar energy an exciting industry to be in these days?

One thing is clear – we absolutely need to move away from fossil fuels and solar energy is going to be a major part of that equation. In states like California, where we have set ambitious clean energy targets and begun mandating things like solar panels on all new construction, we’re getting a preview of what the next decade and beyond will look like if we commit to a clean energy future and it means there’s nothing but opportunity for smart players in the solar industry.

But beyond the environmental benefits, we’re seeing homeowners realize that there’s a practical, economic benefit to solar energy as systems become more affordable and they’re able to cut their spending on power significantly while adding huge value to their homes.

What makes Temecula a great home for a company like Freedom Forever?

California has positioned itself as the vanguard for the renewable energy movement with forward-thinking policies and bold commitments that set an example for the rest of the world on what renewable energy can look like – and Temecula gives us a chance to be in the very heart of the most exciting solar energy community in the country. With access to major cities and talent pools that understand and have a passion for not just solar energy but who come from diverse industries including technology, construction, engineering, and even the arts that make sure we’re assembling the creative, dedicated team that we need to fuel our growth.

What are your plans for the next year and beyond?

We are committed to becoming the country’s leading home solar energy installer and are confident we are on that path. In the past year we’ve expanded to Colorado and Illinois and we expect that we’ll be in several more states by this time next year. We also plan to keep innovating on what we offer to homeowners, with financing options that meet them where they are, maintenance and support plans that ensure they’re confident in their solar energy investment and new technology that makes solar more attractive and more affordable.

What is Freedom Forever doing differently than the rest of the home solar industry that has led to their growth?

We saw that the home solar industry was not fully living up to its potential and in many cases, there were installers who provided poor support, sold homeowners on plans that were not in their best interest, or used components that were subpar and that put a sour taste in the mouth of many early adopters of solar energy. We knew that there needed to be a better way – not just because we knew it would lead to business success if we could crack that formula but because convincing homeowners that solar was worth the investment and improving its reputation would go a long way towards breaking our ties to fossil fuels.

We were one of the first companies, for instance, that began pushing ownership of a home solar system through financing as opposed to leasing your system through what our industry calls a “Power Purchase Agreement” or PPA. While in some cases a PPA makes sense, for many it’s not a great deal because you do not own the system and cannot take advantage of many of its benefits including certain tax incentives. Now, we’re seeing the industry turn away from PPAs, but we were really out in front of that movement.

Similarly, we wanted to make sure that homeowners got the value they were promised, so we offer a unique 25 year production guarantee on our systems – that means that not only will we do all of the maintenance needed for the life of a solar system, we will also reimburse homeowners for power they need to pull from the grid if their system fails or needs repair. This means homeowners can be confident that they will save money on power, no matter what happens.

It’s this kind of commitment to service that has set us apart helped us grow by reputation in the markets we’ve entered.


About Freedom Forever
Freedom Forever is focused on residential solar installations that deliver best-in-class Engineering, Procurement, and Construction for its dealer network. Since 2011, Freedom Forever has enabled its dealer network to succeed with a premium offering and aggressive pricing flexibility. For more information, please visit

Continue Reading


Solar Energy Leader Freedom Forever Named to Inc. 5000 List for Second Consecutive Year



Home Solar Solutions Provider Continues to Expand Thanks to Unparalleled Customer Experience and Growing Consumer Interest in Renewable Energy

Temecula, CA, August 14, 2019  – Inc. magazine revealed today that Freedom Forever has been ranked at #142 in the 38th annual Inc. 5000, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This marks the company’s second consecutive year on the list, demonstrating their consistent, sustained growth in a competitive sector. Since its founding in 2011, Freedom Forever has enjoyed significant success and, over the past three years, has experienced a dramatic revenue growth, far outpacing competitors in the solar space.

“Freedom Forever’s continued growth is a testament to every single person who works at this company and their commitment to making solar energy as widely available and accessible as possible to America’s homeowners,” said Brett L. Bouchy, CEO of Freedom Forever. “While we’ve had great success over the past several years, this is only the beginning of our story, as we seek to expand into new states and offer innovative, affordable ways of bringing solar energy to more homes and doing our part to break our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Since their debut on the Inc. 5000 list in 2018, Freedom Forever has continued to grow and expand, opening offices in Colorado and Illinois and beginning operations in those states. In addition to these new markets, Freedom Forever delivers home solar solutions in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Freedom Forever brings a unique approach to home solar that prioritizes ownership, return on investment and reliable long-term support designed to increase home value. Freedom Forever offers a unique 25-year production guarantee that ensures that not only will the company fix solar systems when needed, they will compensate home owners for energy costs incurred while the system is not operating.

The 2019 Inc. 500 is featured in the September issue of Inc., available online and on newsstands today. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at


About Freedom Forever

Freedom Forever is focused on residential solar installations that deliver best-in-class Engineering, Procurement, and Construction for its dealer network. Since 2011, Freedom Forever has enabled its dealer network to succeed with a premium offering and aggressive pricing flexibility. For more information, please visit

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Inc. took home the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. The total monthly audience reach for the brand has been growing significantly, from 2,000,000 in 2010 to more than 18,000,000 today.  For more information, visit

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the remarkable achievements of these companies. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions.

For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit

Continue Reading

Business Journal Newsletter

Events Calendar

« June 2024 » loading...