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 2025: A bold but achievable goal

We need more pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re our state leaders to make commitments that will help Rhode Island generate 10% of our energy from the sun by 2025. 

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 power is on the rise across America—increasing 200-fold in the United States since 2002—and major cities are helping to lead this clean energy revolution. Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution shows that cities from every region of the U.S. are driving solar development with strong public policies – reaping important benefits for the environment, public health, and the economy. By building local solar power, cities can keep more of their energy budget at home and create good local jobs.

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New report highlights solar energy in Providence and other U.S. cities

With concern growing about the Rhode Island economy's dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels––and the associated environmental and public health consequences of dirty air and global warming pollution––Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center released a new report, "Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution." The report provides a first-of-its-kind comparative look at the growth of solar power in major American cities. The report rates Providence a "Solar Beginner"––#39 out of 57 cities ranked.

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