Solar Guru In Washington Target Of Ethics Complaint

Apr 17, 2012

A man some call the “father” of Washington’s solar industry faces a state ethics complaint. Former Washington State University employee Mike Nelson is accused of using his state position to help a solar company win an important state certification. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports Nelson then went to work for the company.

Republican State Senator Jim Honeyford filed the complaint against Nelson earlier this month. It charges the former WSU employee with using his position to help a company called Silicon Energy win a coveted “made in Washington” certification. This meant Silicon’s customers could get a higher rebate if they bought Silicon’s solar inverter system. After retiring from WSU, Nelson went to work for the company. But he says while at WSU he recused himself from the Silicon certification. Nelson offers this testimony to his ethical character.

Mike Nelson: “I’ve got a solar electric system on my roof. Okay. I could apply for the incentives for that system. I never have. Why not? Because I didn’t want to take anything out of a program that I was responsible for creating.”

Washington’s Executive Ethics Board is currently investigating the complaint against Nelson to see if there is evidence of a violation.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network