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

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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News Release | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Proposed plastics-to-fuel plant in Macon-Bibb is part of the problem, not the solution, to plastic pollution

Macon, GA – The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority held a public hearing late in November concerning the issuance of $500 million in Exempt Facility Revenue Bonds to the company Brightmark Plastics Renewal Georgia, LLC. If approved by the Authority, the funds would be used to finance the largest plastics-to-fuel facility in the world. 

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: U.S. House of Representatives passes historic climate investments

WASHINGTON -- Following a summer of extreme heat and drought, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), which includes groundbreaking levels of investment to reduce global warming pollution, clear the air we breathe, clean up toxic sites and protect our lands, waters and wildlife. 

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Report | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

Renewables on the Rise

In 2020, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind as in 2011, with wind and solar producing 11% of our nation’s electricity in 2020, up from 3% in 2011. Between 2011 and 2020, U.S. wind, solar and geothermal generation grew at an annual rate of 15%. If those forms of renewable generation were to continue to grow by 15% per year, wind, solar and geothermal would produce enough electricity to meet all of our current electricity needs by 2035.

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News Release | Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

New report: Georgia among national leaders in solar power growth and electric vehicle adoption

Atlanta, GA - Georgia ranks #7 in the nation for growth in solar power generation since 2011, cumulative electric vehicle sales through 2020, and public electric vehicle charging ports, according to a new report released today by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center. Renewables on the Rise 2021: The rapid growth of renewables, electric vehicles and other building blocks of a clean energy future documents the growth of six key clean energy technologies across the U.S. over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps. 

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