The 100% Club is getting crowded. See what states are next. Updates from New Mexico, Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina and more!
Spring is here, marking the time of year when the forces of light begin to outshine the dark and each day brings more sun than the last. It's a season of change, optimism, and new beginnings. For these reasons and more, spring is the time we celebrate solar progress at our annual Equinox celebration and fundraiser.
At this year’s Equinox we honored two incredible solar champions: Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery and a tireless advocate for energy justice in her Chicago community, and California State Senator Scott Wiener, a long-time clean energy leader and author of the Solar Bill of Rights that’s on the move in Sacramento.
Huge thanks to the hundreds of solar supporters who came out to support the cause at this year’s Equinox party! Parties are only as good as the people who come and it was great to see so many joyful solar warriors who are making this movement happen.
Your donations and good cheer will help us take on more solar fights in more states and speed the national transition to renewable energy. In total, our team is defending and expanding opportunities for families, businesses and communities to go solar in 25 states -- red and blue -- nationwide. Here’s what kept us busiest last month:
Along with dozens of partners and thousands of New Mexicans, we celebrated a massive win with lawmakers passing the Energy Transition Act last month, which makes New Mexico the third state in the nation to commit to 100% clean electricity. The bill also puts a just transition plan in place for workers impacted by the closure of the San Juan coal plant and other fossil-based industries - all of which will help the Land of Enchantment put their plentiful sunshine and wind to work building a healthy and thriving new energy economy now and for future generations.
We are grateful for the unwavering clean energy leadership of elected officials like Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (left in the 100% hat) and Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero (right with our New Mexico director Art Terrazas). A huge thanks to Vote Solar members in New Mexico who spoke up for a clean energy economy that works for everyone. This is exactly the kind of leadership that our communities, our economy, and our climate needs.
The American Midwest is quickly becoming a clean energy powerhouse in its own right, with Illinois helping lead the way. There we are proud to be working with a diverse coalition to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would place Illinois among the growing number of states to commit to 100% clean electricity by 2050.
With this bill, Illinois stands out as a true leader for ensuring that everyone, including low-income families, have access to the utility bill savings, jobs, and self-determination that our clean energy transition brings. Here’s to a 100% clean energy future that works for 100% of people!
If you rent, have a shaded roof, or lack the upfront capital needed install solar on your own property, community solar programs can give you a way to plug into clean energy benefits through a shared solar installation located elsewhere in your community. Minnesota has helped pioneer the community solar model, giving tens of thousands of electricity customers new and better access to clean, affordable solar power -- but now the big utility wants to slash this fair and commonsense solar program.
We have a better idea: we’re urging state lawmakers to protect and strengthen community solar in Minnesota and make it accessible to even more of the people who have the greatest need for more affordable energy: rural communities and low- and moderate-income families. We’re working to support HF 1833, an omnibus clean energy bill, that would protect and expand community solar and -- you guessed it -- put the state on a path to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.
This week we joined solar workers and supporters of all kinds to rally for energy freedom at the South Carolina statehouse. We’re supporting the bipartisan Energy Freedom Act, which made it unanimously through the House and now needs to pass the Senate in order to clear the way for more families and businesses to go solar in the Palmetto State.
South Carolinians like Republican bill sponsor Senator Tom Davis who spoke at the rally are fed up with their monopoly utilities spending billions of dollars on energy boondoggles (and that’s not an exaggeration) and see competitive solar options as an important way to put families and businesses in control of their own energy destiny. Vote Solar’s Thad Culley has been working hard to help South Carolina get the Energy Freedom Act across the finish line.
Together, we’re making amazing progress across the country. There are at least 10 states in play right now in the 100% Club, and always room for more. That’s good news for people and the planet, and we’re excited to be a part of this revolution.
And mark your calendars for Solar Education Week! Join local solar education events to spark a national conversation about solar energy, energy access, and a just transition to a clean energy economy. See if there’s an event in your community, or sign up to host one.
Upcoming Events for the Solar Industry:
Industry Events April 5 | LA Business Council Sustainability Summit | Join local business, government and non-profit leaders at the Sustainability Summit to explore how to California is creating climate resilient economies and growing access to clean energy and water resource technologies. Register.
May 14-15 | GTM Solar Summit | With hundreds of high-caliber attendees, this two day event in Scottsdale, AZ will cover the latest developments in module technology, how the ITC step down will impact project finance, emerging markets for distributed solar and much more. Use discount code VS15! When you register.
May 29-30 | Solar Power Southeast | Join us in Atlanta for SEIA and SEPA’s annual Solar Power Southeast conference for discussions on the policies and programs to move the region forward on solar. Register.