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

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Solar Homes webinar highlights leadership opportunity for cities and states | Emma Searson

On February 20th, a group of 45 city and state decision makers and clean energy advocates joined us for our webinar, “What a Solar Homes Policy Could do for Your Community.” Environment America’s Go Solar Campaign Director Bret Fanshaw summarized the findings of our recent report, Solar Homes: The Next Step for Clean Energy. Representatives from the California Solar and Storage Association and the City of South Miami, Florida, then spoke to their communities’ successes in making solar the default on new construction through statewide and municipal Solar Homes policies, respectively.

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