New Study Uncovers Systemic Attacks Against State Solar Programs

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Well organized, well-funded campaign works to stymie growing solar industry


[Philadelphia, PA] – 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 to dismantle solar laws and programs that benefit solar power, and media campaigns to provide cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country, said a new report released today by the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center.  

The report comes as PennEnvironment launches its “Stand Up for Solar” campaign to defend solar policies from utilities and fossil fuel groups pushing anti-solar agendas in the state legislature and in the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

“Pollution-free solar energy represents Pennsylvania and the nation’s most abundant energy resource” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “We can’t allow powerful special interests in the fossil fuel industry to pull the plug on the bright potential of solar power.”

The report, Blocking the Sun, documents nearly 20 fossil fuel backed groups and electric utilities running some of the most aggressive campaigns to slow the growth of solar energy in 12 states

Of the findings, the report documents:

  • How the Koch brothers have provided funding to the national fight against solar by funneling tens of millions of dollars through a network of opaque nonprofits; 
  • How the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides utility and fossil fuel interests with access to state legislatures, and its anti-net metering policy resolution has inspired legislation in a set of states; 
  • And how utilities in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, West Virginia, California and Illinois have undertaken extensive campaigns to revoke renewable energy policy or impose new charges on their solar customers.

“We’ve definitely seen a significant rise in opposition to solar development in the U.S. from utilities, EEI, ALEC, Koch brothers, and other powerful special interests which sharply contrasts the clear majority of Americans that support more solar across the nation”, said Ron Celentano, President of the Pennsylvania Solar Industries Association (PASEIA).  “Yet with more jobs being created in the solar industry than in the oil and gas extraction and pipeline sectors combined, and with substantially more solar jobs than jobs in the coal industry, the support for solar will only continue to grow.”

Read and download the full report here