A future in which solar energy is increasingly abundant and cost-competitive was the goal envisioned by policymakers a decade ago when California adopted the landmark Million Solar Roofs Initiative (SB 1, 2006). The decade-long, $3.3 billion initiative was designed to pave the way for a clean energy future – bringing solar energy within reach of more California residents and businesses. California’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative is a success – bringing a future of abundant renewable energy within closer reach.
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.The best way to lead is by example. And, as this report demonstrates, the United States is doing just that. By following through and fully implementing policies already enacted at the state and federal levels – including the Clean Power Plan, the first national policy to limit climate pollution from power plants – the nation can reduce carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel combustion (the leading cause of global warming) by 27 percent below 2005 levels by 2025
Net energy metering has been instrumental in the growth of solar energy, particularly on homes and businesses. Net energy metering enables solar panel owners to earn fair compensation for benefits they provide to other users of the electricity grid, and makes “going solar” an affordable option for more people. A review of 11 recent analyses shows that individuals and businesses that decide to “go solar” generally deliver greater benefits to the grid and society than they receive through net metering. Decision-makers should recognize the great value delivered by distributed solar energy by preserving and expanding access to net metering and other programs that ensure fair compensation to Americans who install solar energy.
As a result of global warming, young Americans today are growing up in a different climate than their parents and grandparents experienced. It is warmer than it used to be. Storms pack more of a punch. Rising seas increasingly flood low-lying land. Large wildfires have grown bigger, more frequent and more expensive to control. People are noticing changes in their own backyards, no matter where they live.
America’s major cities have played key roles in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap significant benefits from solar energy adoption. Los Angeles leads the nation in total installed solar PV capacity, followed by San Diego, Phoenix, Indianapolis and San Jose.
Environment California 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.