Here's our monthly roundup of solar news including Illinois, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico & DC. But first, PLEASE VOTE. This collective and messy enterprise of sharing a planet depends on YOU staying engaged and holding those in power accountable. We’ll keep doing our part.
Some sad news to begin: we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Cecil Corbin-Mark. Cecil was Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a leading light in the environmental justice community, and Vote Solar Board member.
Cecil lived an extraordinary life and made an incredible impact both in Northern Manhattan and nationwide. We are fortunate to have worked with him and to be able to learn from his wisdom. Cecil and his words will remain an inspiration and a north star for our work in the days ahead.
We have a lot of solar updates for you, but before we dig in, a public service announcement: Please vote.
A founding principle of Vote Solar is that democracy is not a spectator sport. A working, functioning civil society - this collective and messy enterprise of sharing a planet -- depends on vocal engagement and constant calls to accountability.
Our Digital Director Misha cast their vote! Misha at home across from the local solar array, and dropping off their ballot.
There is no act more powerful than voting - which is why Vote Solar gives all staff time off to vote and serve as non-partisan poll workers. And that’s why we encourage everyone to make a plan to vote, today.
For more information visit vote.org.
And -- speaking of taking action to make change, I’d like to thank our sponsors for the Equinox-that-wasn’t.
While solar energy falls from the sky, free, until the end of time, policy change doesn’t. It takes a lot of hard work, and while the pandemic meant that we could not gather in person for our annual fundraiser, these great companies and orgs remained steadfast in their commitment and contribution to further our work.
Solar Progress Updates
Solar Savings Under Attack in Illinois
Electric utility Ameren Illinois is trying to end fair compensation for rooftop solar customers by misinterpreting the net metering rules created in the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) . If Ameren succeeds, this move will cost the average solar customer hundreds of dollars per year, putting solar out of reach for many families and businesses.
Vote Solar and our partners filed an emergency motion with the Illinois Commerce Commission to prevent Ameren Illinois from devastating rooftop solar in southern and central Illinois.Together we helped generate over 1,300 comments in support of strong solar policies for Illinois families.
Unfortunately, the Commission denied our emergency petition to stay Ameren’s unilateral action until the Commission makes its decision, and customers and solar companies are left in a lurch. With no clear guidance on the future of the value of solar energy, families can’t make sound investments, which puts savings and local clean energy jobs at risk.
The Commission will issue a final decision on the future of solar rates in Ameren Illinois territory in early November, stay tuned.
Floridians Made Their Case
During a global pandemic, a utility front group called Energy Fairness attempted to roll back fair solar policies that have been in place in Florida for over a decade. We mobilized with our partners to protect Florida’s current solar policies that allow families to go solar and save on their energy bills. The Commission took notice and stated that no decisions regarding solar would be made without the public’s engagement.
Policymaking is a contact sport. People have to speak up and be heard. We will stay vigilant and continue to work to ensure that all Floridians are able to access clean, local solar power.
SOLution New Mexico forms to promote Community Solar
Right now, hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans are unable to access the many benefits of solar. Whether it be because they rent, don’t have a suitable roof or aren’t able to afford upfront costs, the barriers to rooftop solar are still real for many.
Community solar addresses the limits of rooftop solar and provides a more equitable and accessible option for ALL New Mexicans, no matter where they live. But we need new laws to allow community solar in the state.
We’re proud to join SOLution NM to help bring community solar, energy bill savings and local jobs to New Mexico. Join us: SOLutionNM.org
One Solar Activist Makes a Difference In DC
David Roodman is a solar owner and activist in Washington, DC with an inspiring story of someone who made a difference in their community to help spur the local solar revolution.
When David installed solar on his home in DC he encountered a seemingly arbitrary and unofficial rule that he could not install more solar energy than his previous energy bills indicated he would need. When he consulted the text of the rules, it was clear that the utility had unilaterally interpreted the rule to mean that individual output could not exceed past use, in spite of the text. He made it his personal mission to clarify the rule, ultimately doubling the amount of rooftop solar that DC families and small businesses can own.
Purpose Keeps Me Going
In case you missed it -- On the occasion of Hispanic Heritage Month, Melanie Santiago-Mosier, our Managing Director of Access and Equity, shared her story of growing up with energy insecurity and moving into leadership on energy justice. Like the author, it’s powerful - check it out here.
Check out Vote Solar’s Executive Director talking about the org’s origin story, and more on this popular podcast.
October 29, 2020 | 3:30pm EST
Join David Schatz, Elizabeth Teel Galante and Vote Solar’s Managing Director, Access & Equity, Melanie Santiago-Mosier for, "The Untapped Solar Market – Low-Income and Multi-Family Homes" to discuss how the solar industry can contribute to greater energy equity across the country. Bryan White, Research Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, will moderate the panel.
December 2, 2020 | 6pm EST
Please join us for an important VIRTUAL discussion about what this historic election will mean for clean energy policy and climate action in the United States.