Philadelphia, PA -- As the Pennsylvania general assembly stalls action on much-needed solar policies and attempts to repeal existing clean energy initiatives, PennEnvironment is calling on local officials to take the reins and pass local policies to help promote clean solar energy and reduce climate pollution.
“In order for Pennsylvania to be a leader on clean, renewable energy, change can and must start at home,” said Kelly Flanigan, PennEnvironment Global Warming Solutions Associate. “Philadelphians have made it clear that they support clean solar power, and by creating a direct path for every new home to include this essential resource, Philadelphia could make a big contribution toward combating climate change and making Pennsylvania healthier and cleaner.”
Nearly half of American homeowners have seriously thought about putting solar panels on their home and almost nine out of 10 Americans favor expanding solar power, according to the Pew Research Center.
Pennsylvanians have been fighting to expand renewable energy at the state level, but progress has been slow. Statewide community solar legislation (House Bill 531) has been stalled in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and legislators are pushing multiple bills to prevent the state from joining the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Moreover, the state’s cornerstone renewable energy law, the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), is set to flatline next year. So it’s up to local officials to take the initiative to pass strong renewable energy policies.
“Requiring all new homes to have solar panels is a commonsense step,” said Flanigan. “It would create a wave of clean renewable energy, reduce global warming pollution, cut air pollution, save consumers money and help to create a more resilient electric grid for all.”
PennEnvironment’s effort is part of a growing movement. In January, California’s solar homes policy officially went into effect -- serving as an example of what building all new homes with solar power can look like. The implementation of the solar homes rule will help increase the state’s existing solar capacity by 22 percent by 2045. Legislation is also being proposed in Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas to include solar power in the construction of all new homes.
Implementing requirements for solar installation on new homes would be a game-changer. Doing so nationwide from 2020 to 2026 would result in more solar energy capacity than the entire U.S. currently has installed. In addition, a solar homes requirement would cut an estimated 161 million metric tons of climate-damaging carbon dioxide in 2045. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 34 million of today’s cars off of the road.
“Solar power is supported by a majority of Americans and building all new homes with solar panels is achievable,” said Flanigan. “We cannot miss the opportunity to generate the renewable energy that comes with powering every new home with solar. The most efficient time to install solar panels is when workers are already on the roof, and by making homes solar, it will lead to healthier and safer communities for years to come.”
PennEnvironment is a statewide non-profit environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting our water, air and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. To learn more about this or PennEnvironment’s other priorities, visit our website at www.PennEnvironment.org.