The Sun is Shining on Solar Power!

Source: Hoan Ngọc

Long summer days mean that solar power generation is reaching annual peaks in many parts of the country, which makes it a great time to talk about – and advocate for – solar in your area. Solar power has the potential to be one of the most important elements of a climate-safe future that may provide a means of staying within 1.5 degrees of global heating.

Even though the cost of solar energy has plummeted in recent years and it’s become cheaper to replace fossil fueled utilities with clean energy than it is to keep them running, the upfront cost of installation at the household level can still be a barrier for many. Those who can afford panels will be able to take advantage of the 30% tax incentive restored under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and recoup some of their investment from the sale of SRECs generated by their systems, not to mention monthly savings on their energy bills.

Fortunately, the IRA is also making it easier for renters and people who are unable to access rooftop solar to reap the benefits of the solar revolution, which is extremely important for ensuring an equitable energy transition. “Community solar”, wherein a group of people shares ownership of an off-site solar facility, is set to receive a $7 billion boost from the IRA.

With all the good news around solar, however, there’s a major hurdle on the horizon. The nation’s grid needs modernization to support vast supplies of renewable energy. There’s a bottleneck in the high voltage transmission lines that move electricity from the areas where it’s produced, to the areas where it is used. In order to meet the ambitious targets that have been set, transmission capacity needs to double within a decade.

So I encourage you to speak up in your communities. Ask your elected leaders to support legislation that modernizes the grid and inspire your neighbors to do the same!

About the Author
Brett Matulis, Communities Program Director, ecoAmerica

Additional Resources

American Climate Leadership Awards 2023 Broadcast Recording

ecoAmerica American Climate Leadership Awards Replication Guides

Path to Positive Communities Resources

Path to Positive Communities – Ambassador Training

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