America can address our largest environmental challenges by shifting to 100 percent renewable energy. Renewable energy makes us safer and healthier, protecting our communities from global warming and from hazardous air pollution. Renewable energy reduces the need for dangerous and destructive practices like shipping explosive fuels through our cities, fracking for gas near our water supplies, or razing our mountains to dig up dirty coal.
Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. Since 2010, America’s solar energy capacity has grown more than four-fold, generating increasing amounts of clean energy at increasingly affordable prices.
America’s solar progress is largely the result of bold, forward-thinking public policies that have created a strong solar industry while putting solar energy within the financial reach of millions more Americans.
Behind the scenes, however, electric utilities, fossil fuel interests and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at the key policies that have put solar energy on the map in the United States – often in the face of strong objections from a supportive public.
This report documents 12 fossil fuel backed groups and electric utilities that are running some of the most aggressive campaigns to slow the growth of solar energy in the United States. Citizens and policy-makers must be aware of the tools self-interested parties are using to undermine solar energy across America – and redouble their commitment to strong policies that move the nation toward a clean energy future.
A national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country.
Solar energy is booming. In just the last three years, America’s solar photovoltaic capacity tripled. In 2014, a third of the United States’ new installed electric capacity came from solar power. And in three states – California, Hawaii, and Arizona – solar power now generates more than 5 percent of total electricity consumption.
With the cost of solar energy declining rapidly, tens of thousands more Americans each year are experiencing the benefits of clean energy from the sun, including energy generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.
America’s solar energy revolution continues to be led by a small group of states that have the greatest amount of solar energy capacity installed per capita. These 10 states have opened the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result.
Nearly 25 New Mexico elected leaders this week sent a letter to both Republican and Democratic leadership of the United States Senate describing the local benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and asking them to reauthorize and fully fund the landmark conservation legislation before it sunsets on September 30, 2015.
In December 2015, world leaders will convene in Paris to negotiate an international agreement to address the serious threat of global warming. As the country responsible for more climate-changing pollution in the atmosphere than any other, the United States has a moral obligation to lead the world into action.
Environment New Mexico Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.