What gives you hope? For us, it’s solar

Poopys from California remind us of solar and the sun

When you think of the energy challenges facing the world, what gives you hope? How about this . . .

In 2014, a third of the new power generation built in the US was solar.

Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, and now Amazon all have commitments to 100% renewable energy. When the most admired companies in America make bets on the future, they put their money on renewables.

The solar-cheaper-than-coal club has a lot of new members. GeorgiaMinnesotaIdahoUtahTexas, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California are all building massive amounts of solar at prices cheaper than dirty fossil.

There’s a rooftop revolution underway in New York. We put 5 years into a campaign, and it paid off with a commitment to ten times more solar in the state and a process to reform the electricity landscape with customer-driven renewables at the center. And we’re not stopping there. The state’s now making moves to give renters and millions of other New Yorkers the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the solar economy.

In 2014, nearly $1 billion flowed into PACE financing programs that are helping families and businesses make clean energy upgrades and save on their bills. That’s billion with a ‘b.’ And 2015 is looking even better. This also after years of hard work — passing enabling legislation in states around the country, writing best-practice policy guides, battling with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Some utilities and the Edison Electric Institute took their best shot at squashing rooftop solar by rolling back net metering and changing rates to make solar a bad deal for customers. But those big-money attacks fell flat against the massive outcry from the people like you who support solar. Discriminatory solar fees were defeated in Idaho, Louisiana and UtahVermontNew York and Massachusetts all raised their net metering caps to allow more solar participation. And South Carolina just joined the 43 other states that offer residents the ability to get fair credit for rooftop solar through net metering. This is the existential battleground for the future of energy in this country, and so far solar is winning.

Bottom line, it’s not just promise that gives us hope — it’s progress. It’s real steel in the ground, silicon on the roof, and sunshine powering our lives.

How does progress happen?

Solar falls free from the sky, but policy doesn’t.

Vote Solar now has 16 staff around the country, dedicated and working day (and too many nights) to bring solar into the mainstream. In 2014 we led solar campaigns in 21 states, sweated interventions in 31 regulatory dockets, worked on 10 legislative campaigns, and fought discriminatory solar fees in 11 rate cases and utility proceedings. Members like you delivered 108,677 messages to policymakers in support of pro-solar policies. 2,575 homeowners participated in our GroupEnergy bulk solar programs, which made it easier and 20% cheaper for communities to go solar. We hired new teammates in four states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Florida. We biked 300 miles from NY to DC to raise money for our work, and threw two Equinox parties which put smiles on the faces of 1,100 revelers.

Vote Solar was founded on a simple strategy: we build scale by making solar cheaper and more accessible. And it’s working.

Thank you and happy holidays from all of us at Vote Solar!

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