It’s time for Georgia 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.

15 percent solar by 2030

We need more and better pro-solar policies, not fewer. 

That’s why we’re urging Gov. Nathan Deal to make commitments that will help put Georgia on the road to 100% clean energy, with 15 percent solar by 2030.

Achieving this state goal would help move our country closer to the national goal of getting 10 percent solar by 2030. This would produce immediate and long-lasting benefits for our environment, 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 Georgia 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 Georgia Research & Policy Center

New Report: Georgia’s big box store roofs can generate enough solar energy to power 309,300 homes

ATLANTA – Big box retail stores can help Georgia increase its clean energy production, according to a new report from Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. Solar on Superstores: Big Roofs, Big Potential for Renewable Energy calculates that the 3,691 big box buildings in the state can offset 2,421,600 metric tons of global warming pollution by just putting solar panels on their roofs. That’s the equivalent of taking 526,649 cars off the road. The energy produced by these solar roofs is also enough to power 309,300 average homes and could meet 2.5% of the state’s total electricity demand.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Solar on Superstores

The rooftops of America’s big box stores and shopping centers have the potential to generate 84.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) of solar electricity each year, equivalent to the amount of electricity used by almost 8 million average U.S. homes, or more than 30,400 typical Walmart stores.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

Statement: President Biden’s remarks on Build Back Better

During President Joe Biden’s press conference Wednesday marking his first year in office, he acknowledged the need to break up the proposed Build Back Better package of environmental and social programs to “pass as much as we can now.” The president cited the $500 billion of energy and environment provisions as ones where “[i]t’s clear we would be able to get support.”

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Progress Report: President Biden’s First Year

Following years of rollbacks, President Joe Biden began his term nearly a year ago amidst unprecedented environmental and public health challenges. Despite these obstacles, his administration has made significant strides toward restoring lost environmental protections and confronting daunting threats to our climate and public health, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Georgia

DeKalb County Commits to 100% Clean and Renewable Energy

Today, DeKalb County Commissioners adopted a resolution committing the County to 100% clean energy and clean transportation by 2050, making DeKalb County the sixth local governing body to make such a commitment. Environment Georgia Clean Energy Associate Jessica Wahl offered this comment:

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