It’s time to double down on solar power

More and more Americans are going solar, meeting more of our energy needs in a way that’s clean, local and independent. 

  • Solar power has tripled in the U.S. in the last two years, with another American family or business going solar every four minutes.
  • That’s in part because the price of solar has dropped more than 50 percent since 2011. 
  • The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything ... It could double every two years.”

Who's so afraid of a little more sun?

Unfortunately, solar’s rapid growth has some dirty energy companies alarmed. Now they’re putting up new roadblocks to solar at every turn—so they can keep solar generating less than 1% of our power, even if the consequences are more pollution and more global warming.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Charles and David Koch, owners of the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, and their allies have spent heavily to impose new taxes on homeowners who go solar—in effect, penalizing those who reduce their pollution and their carbon footprint.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, which represents electric utility companies, has teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council to dismantle state pro-solar laws in Kansas, North Carolina and Washington State, amid others.
  • Oklahoma, Arizona and Ohio already have moved to scale back their solar programs

Fending off dirty energy attacks 

The good news? People from all walks of life are standing up for solar, from environmentalists to Tea Party activists, from solar entrepreneurs to Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the former Republican nominee for president.

Our challenge now is to not only fend off the attacks of the dirty energy lobby, but to keep the surge in solar power growing strong.  

Our research shows that the cities and states with the most solar power aren’t just the ones with the most sunshine; they’re also states with smart pro-solar policies.

  • Arizona, Hawaii and California made the list of the top 10 states for solar in our 2014 report. But so do Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, all thanks to smart policies.
  • The top 10 solar states, with only 26% of the nation’s population, were responsible for 89% of the nation’s solar power.
  • Our report found all or nearly all of the states shared a set of smart policies in common, from strong clean energy standards to policies that let solar homeowners sell their extra power back to the utilities.

10% percent by 2030: A bold but achievable goal

We need more pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re urging our state leaders to make commitments that will help Missouri generate 10% of our energy from the sun by 2030. 

Our national federation is working in 14 states to set bold solar goals that together will make sure we get 10% of the nation's energy from solar by 2030. Achieving this goal would have produce immediate and long-lasting benefits, generating enough clean energy to replace half of our nation’s coal-fired power plants and more than half the energy we use today to fuel our cars. 

If we take the right steps today, even the dirty energy lobby won’t be able to stop solar power. The sky really is the limit.


Issue updates

Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

10 Ways to Help Your City Go Solar

Last month's Shining Cities report detailed how cities are good for solar and solar is good for cities. We've seen some impressive strides across the nation to momentously expand our solar capabilities. But we're not where we need to be yet. To obtain a clean energy future your cities and towns need to do even more. Here's how to push them in the right direction! 

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Report | Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center

More Wind, Less Warming

American wind power already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 15 million homes. Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

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News Release | Environment Missouri

New Report: Solar Capacity in Missouri Tripled in 2013

JEFFERSON CITY – Today, Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center released a new report, Lighting the Way: The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013, showing strong solar growth across the nation, including a more than triple increase in Missouri in 2013. The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun.

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Report | Environment Missouri

Lighting the Way

Solar energy is on the rise. Over the course of the last decade, the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States has increased more than 120-fold, from 97 megawatts in 2003 to more than 12,000 megawatts at the end of 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, solar energy accounted for 74 percent of all the new electric generation capacity installed in the United States.

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