The Summer of Solar
Together we are trying to do something truly amazing: to transform the way our country has been powered for over a century. And I’m going to be honest — there are times when forward progress feels slow, with powerful fossil interests lobbying hard to protect their bottom line and losses coming just as often as wins.
But this year is different.
We’ve made it to June, and so far in 2019 we count at least seven states that have already put ambitious new clean energy policies on the books — with big cheers for Maryland and South Carolina this month! And that’s still just a fraction of the impressive number of states and communities that are working to take meaningful action to lower energy costs, create more local jobs, and build a brighter future for our children and grandchildren with clean energy.
Our Vote Solar team is on the frontlines with you to repower our communities with sunshine and build a new energy system for the 21st century.
It’s truly inspiring, but as we hear reports from all around the country of communities recovering from unprecedented storms, floods and fires, it’s clear that continued progress toward a cleaner, more resilient energy system is more urgent than ever. Thank you for your work in speeding this critical transition. Here’s what we’ve accomplished together this past month …
We were excited to be in South Carolina’s capital this month to watch Governor McMaster sign the new Energy Freedom Act into law. We’re proud to be part of a broad coalition that worked tirelessly to advance this commonsense clean energy policy — and both the House and Senate passed it through UNANIMOUSLY. That’s a historic level of strong and unified bipartisan support for solar progress, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.
The Energy Freedom Act raises the state’s restrictive net metering cap and clears the way for more South Carolina families, schools, churches and businesses to go solar and save on their energy bills without needless barriers, red-tape or high fees. Beyond individual rooftops, it will also spur larger community and utility-scale solar development, creating the foundation for a strong and diversified new energy economy. This was a huge win for solar progress, bipartisanship and the power of public engagement.
Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Act officially became law in May — a victory that will increase the state’s renewable energy target to 50% by 2030, power tens of thousands of local jobs in solar and wind careers, and build a brighter future for our children and future generations of Marylanders. It also requires the state to study what it would take to get to 100 percent clean power, an ambitious goal that we’re ready to work with the Governor and state leaders to achieve next!
All together, Vote Solar and our incredible partners helped more than 12,500 Maryland residents and businesses make phone calls, send emails or appear at the Capitol in person urging elected officials to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Huge thanks to everyone who was part of this big win.
With just a couple weeks left in New York’s 2019 legislative session, we’re pulling out all the stops to add the Empire State to the growing list of states taking bold solar action before time runs out.
State lawmakers are working on a Climate and Community Protection Act that will move the state toward a 100% carbon-free energy in the next few decades. But our communities and our climate don’t have decades to wait for those solutions, so we’ve teamed up with environmental justice leaders, businesses, and local advocates to push lawmakers to include a strong and equitable solar plan that delivers meaningful economic and environmental benefits TODAY.
Xcel Energy recently proposed its 15-year plan for what kind of energy resources it’s going to use to keep the lights on for Minnesota. Over the course of the summer and fall, regulators at the Public Utilities Commission will be hearing from stakeholders and ultimately making a decision on the energy path forward for Xcel. The outcome will have a massive impact on power bills, clean energy progress, and the health of Minnesota’s communities for years to come. That’s why we teamed up with local partners to grade the utility giant on its proposal.
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. We know Arizonans want their state to harness more of their homegrown sunshine and other competitive energy sources to power our communities, our security and our economy forward. And now’s their chance to do something about it!
Utility regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission are weighing the state’s clean energy plan, and we are helping Arizona residents speak up by taking their case straight to regulators for a stronger 50% renewable energy commitment that also gives customers the right to participate in that clean energy future.
This past month we also joined forces with partners across the country to celebrate an amazing clean energy milestone — our nation’s TWO MILLIONTH solar installation.
You are part of a powerful movement of solar customers, workers, policymakers and innovators who made this milestone possible. It’s inspiring solar progress, but we know that there’s still so much farther to go. So thank you again for all you’re doing to make sure your elected officials know that solar is already working for America and urge them to champion the continued progress that our communities and our climate demand.
And don’t miss these upcoming events:
June 19-20 | Southeast States Federal Lobby Day | This power-packed federal lobby day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. is focused on putting you in the room with lawmakers representing you in Congress. To advance solar progress, we must educate Members of Congress and their staff about solar’s role in energy, the economy, jobs, tax, trade issues, and more. Register Here.
June 24-25 | Solar Power Texas | Join hundreds of energy professionals in Austin for exclusive updates from local policy drivers and leading businesses in the region at the premier solar event in Texas. Get the latest on policy and trends impacting solar and energy storage in the Lone Star State. Register Here
July 10- 11 | Midwestern States Federal Lobby Day | The Solar Energy Industries Association invites you to Washington, DC on July 10th and 11th for SEIA’s Midwestern States Federal Lobby Day. This power-packed federal lobby day on Capitol Hill is focused on putting you in the room with lawmakers representing you in Congress – Senators and Representatives from the Midwestern states. Register Here
July 18-19 | Community Solar Power Summit | Join this exclusive two-day event in Philadelphia, that brings together leading community solar business, utilities, non-profits, and policymakers. Produced by the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) and powered by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).. Register Here
September 23-26 | Solar Power International | Join us in Salt Lake City for the largest solar conference in North America. Solar Power International, Energy Storage International, and North America Smart Energy Week is the premier business-to-business event for professionals in the solar energy, energy storage, smart energy, and related fields. Register Here