It’s time for America to go big on solar power

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

  • 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 attacking solar?

Unfortunately, solar power’s rapid growth has alarmed some dirty energy companies. They keep putting up new roadblocks to solar -- so they can keep solar generating less than 3% of our power, even if it means 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.

Keep the solar surge going strong

Solar power might disrupt the business plans of dirty energy companies, but it makes a ton of sense for America.

That’s why people from all walks of life are getting behind solar, from environmentalists to Tea Party activists, from solar entrepreneurs to Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the former Republican nominee for president.

Our challenge is to not only fend off the attacks being led by the dirty energy lobby, but to keep the surge in solar power going strong.

How do we do it?

Our research shows the cities and states with the most solar power aren’t necessarily the ones with the most sunshine; they also include states with smart pro-solar policies. For example:

  • Arizona, Hawaii and California made the list of the top 10 states for solar in our 2014 report. But so did Massachusetts, New Jersey, Colorado and Delaware, all thanks to smart policies.
  • The top 10 solar states, with only 26% of the nation’s population, were responsible for 87% 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 solar by 2030

We need more and better pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re urging governors and mayors in 14 states to make commitments that will help put America on the road to 100% clean energy, with 10% solar by 2030.

Achieving this goal would produce immediate and long-lasting benefits, including removing 280 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere by 2030—the equivalent of taking 59 million cars off the road.

Let's go big on solar

We think a combination of professional research and advocacy with community action can help America go big on solar. Why? Our national federation has done it before.

Environment California spearheaded the campaign for that state’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative. In Massachusetts, we helped convince the state to set a goal of enough solar to power 50,000 homes – and then persuaded the state to raise the goal when it hit the original milestone ahead of schedule. We’ve also won pro-solar policies in Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina.            

But we have a long way to go to reach solar power’s true potential.

It’s time to go big on solar. If we take the right steps today, we can harness more power from the sun so we can finally leave dirty energy behind. The sky really is the limit.

Issue updates

News Release | Environment America

Environment America launches campaign to block attacks on solar power

Washington, D.C. – With solar power on the rise around the country, a national network of fossil fuel and utility-backed organizations have joined forces to put the brakes on this fast growing pollution-free energy resource. Trade groups and think tanks backed by deep pocketed anti-clean energy ideologues and fossil interests are bankrolling campaigns, promoting model legislation and media campaigns to provide cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country, said a new report released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America Research and Policy Center

Blocking the Sun

Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. The amount of solar energy installed in the U.S. has quadrupled in the last four years, and the U.S. has enough solar energy installed to power one in 20 American homes.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

100% committed to a 100% renewable future | Ross Sherman

With every passing day, we find it more urgent and necessary than ever to transform our energy systems away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable sources. Burning oil, gas, and coal is not only polluting our air, water and land -- it’s changing our climate more rapidly than scientists predicted. In the United States, we already see the many devastating impacts of climate-related disasters - from the first American climate refugees in Louisiana to more frequent and severe wildfires in the West. This will only continue and worsen unless we take swift and decisive action.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Thousands call for shift to renewable energy

WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2016) –  Thousands of people across the nation are standing together this week to call for a bold shift to 100 percent renewable energy in their communities and their institutions. More than 50 events across the country are being held as part of 100% Committed. 100% Renewable. The Week of Action for Renewable Energy, a collaboration of The Climate Reality Project, Environment America, the Student PIRGs and other partners. The events are being held to champion renewable energy in the face of President-elect Donald Trump’s outdated and dangerous energy platform that could set the climate movement back decades.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Blowing in the Wind | Bronte Payne

2016 is shaping up to be a big year for offshore wind in the United States. Over the last several years, the Obama Administration has leased eleven commercial offshore wind energy areas, the Department of Energy and Department of Interior released the National Offshore Wind Strategy, Massachusetts made the largest commitment to offshore wind in the country at 1,600 megawatts and construction is complete on America’s first offshore wind project.  This week I joined clean energy advocates, offshore wind developers, supply-chain manufacturers, and state and national officials, to plan the strategies for taking clean energy to the next level.

> Keep Reading

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