Heat Waves & Blackouts? Solar Can Help Build Resilience

It’s hot out there. In July, heat waves sent temperatures soaring across much of the U.S., putting lives in danger, straining our electric grid, and contributing to power outages across the country.. The impacts weigh heaviest on America’s most vulnerable populations — low-income families, seniors, and children. Nationwide, more than a million people lost power last month. Were you one of them?

Solar can help. With extreme weather exposing just how unreliable our old fossil fueled electric system is, we’re seeing a groundswell of support for solar and other local clean energy technologies to make our grid and our communities more resilient.

Read on for updates from Louisiana, New York, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona & more!

Solar Strengthens Our Grid & Our Communities

On the heels of Hurricane Barry, we joined a community-led coalition called Energy Future New Orleans in submitting a sweeping proposal to power the city with 100% renewable energy while prioritizing resilience, equity, and local economic benefits. In addition to the bold overall clean energy targets, the plan calls for a portion of the city’s power to come from “resilient energy resources” — such as solar with storage — that can isolate from the main power grid and maintain power in the case of outages.

With smart planning and good policy, solar can help families, businesses, hospitals and critical facilities reliably keep the lights on during power shutoffs and outages. And of course, solar reduces pollution from burning fossil fuels, which helps address the root causes of extreme weather and our broader climate crisis.

Gov. Cuomo Signs New York’s 100% Clean Energy Law

We celebrated in the Empire State last month, where we watched Governor Cuomo sign the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This groundbreaking legislation is the result of a tremendous amount of work over many years, alongside tireless community leaders and thousands of New Yorkers.

New York’s bold climate commitment is a big deal. It means enough solar to power one million homes by 2025 (a goal we pushed hard for along our Million Solar Strong coalition) and 100% clean electricity by 2040. It means a future where no child will be forced to breathe toxic pollution from power plants in their neighborhood.

It means the creation of thousands of local jobs dedicated to building a more resilient new energy economy. And it means critical investments in New York’s low-income and environmental justice communities, so that families that are most impacted by the climate crisis and the harmful burden of our fossil economy have the opportunity to thrive with clean energy. Together we made history!

Georgia Goes Big on Solar — Again!

After providing expert testimony in a months-long case, Vote Solar celebrated a big regulatory win last month when the Georgia Public Service Commissioners issued a decision committing Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, to invest in over two gigawatts of solar energy over the next three years — enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes in the state and reaffirm Georgia’s position as a national solar leader. How do you like them peaches!?

Fighting DTE’s Polluting Plan in Michigan

Vote Solar was proud to support local partners, environmental justice leaders and concerned residents who stood up to local utility giant DTE Energy at a hearing in Detroit last month about the dangers of their proposed energy roadmap, which will impact health and wellbeing in Michigan for a generation.

If you know DTE’s track record, it should be no surprise that the big utility is pushing plans for more polluting gas rather than the solar, wind and brighter energy future that Michigan families want. “DTE’s fifteen-year plan is downright dangerous,” warned Shimekia Nichols, lifelong Detroiter, mother of two and energy equity advocate with Soulardarity and the Work For Me DTE coalition.

Vote Solar is dedicated to standing with our Work For Me DTE partners as we help make the case for a cleaner path forward for Michigan.

Plus: The Vote Solar team was honored to join NAACP’s Energy Justice Training in Saginaw, MI. Learn more about the training by NAACP’s Environmental & Climate Justice Program, and get resources to organize for justice locally.

Raising the Renewable Energy Bar in Arizona

No place in America has more solar potential than Arizona. And yet the Grand Canyon State has one of the country’s lowest renewable energy goals — just 15% by 2025 — which the state has already met. State utilty regulators are currently weighing Arizona’s energy future.

So we joined forces with more than two dozen organizations to propose a bold 100% clean energy plan that puts consumers in the driver’s seat. We are excited to be part of a mighty movement of consumer advocates, businesses, faith leaders, tribal communities, health professionals, conservation organizations and more, all united in a vision of making Arizona a solar powerhouse.

Arizonans: Take Action – Your utility regulators need to hear from you. Add your name to power Arizona forward with more competitive, healthy, job-creating renewable energy!

Do You Love Your Solar?

Solar is making families and communities stronger all across the U.S. — and we need to make sure our elected officials understand that! Vote Solar has teamed up with Solar United Neighbors to give solar customers and supporters in all 50 states a fun and simple way to make your voice heard with the I ❤️ MY Solar postcard creator.

It’s easy to use and 100% free. Just upload an image of you and your solar system (or your home where you wish you had solar!), add a brief message of what solar means to you, and we’ll print and mail physical postcards to your state and federal legislators. Your voice is important — make your postcard today!

We’re partnering with solar industry leaders all across the country to share this fun and impactful campaign with their solar customers, and we’d love to work with you to do the same! If you’re interested in giving your customers a way to get involved, please reach out to Rosalind Jackson at rosalind@votesolar.org for an Outreach Toolkit.

Plus don’t miss these upcoming events:

Oct. 24 | Equinox DC | You’re invited to join us at the solar party with a purpose! We’ll be celebrating big solar wins and powering continued forward progress with a party in our nation’s capital on Thurs. Oct. 24, and we’d love to see you there. RSVP today.

If your company would like to advance state-level solar policy, gain valuable industry exposure, and have a great time in the process, contact meghan@votesolar.org for details about how to support Vote Solar by sponsoring Equinox DC this year.

Aug. 14 | Climate Ride Happy Hour | Join us Wed. Aug. 14th at Oakland’s SomaR Bar to support our Climate Ride Team a month before they start their 300+ mile bike ride down the New England Coast. All proceeds will go towards supporting Vote Solar’s mission to repower our electric grid with clean energy. RSVP here or find a team member to support here.

September 23-26 | Solar Power International | We’ll see you in Salt Lake City for the largest solar conference in North America: Solar Power International. Vote Solar’s team will be sharing insights on a number of educational sessions throughout the week, so say hi if you see us. Register Here.

And while you’re at it, be sure to sign up for a special pre-conference workshop that we’re hosting with Solar United Neighbors to provide tips and training to help solar industry participants (you!) be the strongest advocates you can be: Register here for Building Your Political Power.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT Sign up for updates from Vote Solar on solar progress and energy justice across the U.S.