It’s time for Pennsylvania to go big on solar power

More of us are going solar, meeting our energy needs in a way that’s clean, local and independent. Consider:

  • Solar power has tripled in the U.S. in the last two years, with another American family or business going solar every four minutes.
  • That’s in part because the price of solar has dropped more than 50 percent since 2011.
  • The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said that “solar is growing so fast it is going to overtake everything...It could double every  two years.”

Who's attacking solar?

Unfortunately, solar power’s rapid growth has alarmed some dirty energy companies. They keep putting up new roadblocks to solar -- so they can keep solar generating less than 3% of our power, even if it means more pollution and more global warming.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Charles and David Koch, owners of the oil conglomerate Koch Industries, and their allies have spent heavily to impose new taxes on homeowners who go solar – in effect, penalizing those who reduce their pollution and their carbon footprint.
  • The Edison Electric Institute, which represents electric utility companies, has teamed up with the American Legislative Exchange Council to dismantle state pro-solar laws in Kansas, North Carolina and Washington State, amid others.
  • Oklahoma, Arizona and Ohio already have moved to scale back their solar programs.

Keep the solar surge going strong

Solar power might disrupt the business plans of dirty energy companies, but it makes a ton of sense for America.

That’s why people from all walks of life are getting behind solar, from environmentalists to Tea Party activists, from solar entrepreneurs to Barry Goldwater, Jr., son of the former Republican nominee for president.

Our challenge is to not only fend off the attacks being led by the dirty energy lobby, but to keep the surge in solar power going strong.

How do we do it?

Our research shows the cities and states with the most solar power aren’t necessarily the ones with the most sunshine; they also include states with smart pro-solar policies. For example:

  • Arizona, Hawaii and California made the list of the top 10 states for solar in our 2014 report. But so did Massachusetts, New Jersey, Colorado and Delaware, all thanks to smart policies.
  • The top 10 solar states, with only 26% of the nation’s population, were responsible for 87% of the nation’s solar power.
  • Our report found all or nearly all of the states shared a set of smart policies in common, from strong clean energy standards to policies that let solar homeowners sell their extra power back to the utilities.

15 percent solar by 2025

We need more and better pro-solar policies, not fewer. That’s why we’re urging Gov. Tom Wolf to make commitments that will help put Pennsylvania on the road to 100% clean energy, with 15 percent solar by 2025. 

Achieving this state goal would help move our country closer to the national goal of getting 10 percent solar by 2030. This would produce immediate and long-lasting benefits for our environment, including removing 280 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere by 2030—the equivalent of taking 59 million cars off the road.

Let's go big on solar

We think a combination of professional research and advocacy with community action can help Pennsylvania go big on solar. Why? Our national federation has done it before.

Environment California spearheaded the campaign for that state’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative. In Massachusetts, we helped convince the state to set a goal of enough solar to power 50,000 homes – and then persuaded the state to raise the goal when it hit the original milestone ahead of schedule. We’ve also won pro-solar policies in Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina.            

But we have a long way to go to reach solar power’s true potential.

It’s time to go big on solar. If we take the right steps today, we can harness more power from the sun so we can finally leave dirty energy behind. The sky really is the limit.

Issue updates

News Release | PennEnvironment

Statement: Pittsburgh City Council plans to ban plastic bags

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution Tuesday stating their intent to pass a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, were it not for a state law preempting local governments from doing so. The resolution, introduced last week by Councilmember Erika Strassburger, means Pennsylvania’s two largest cities could soon join forces to protect the Commonwealth from plastic pollution and the health and environmental degradation it causes. In March, Philadelphia, along with the boroughs of West Chester and Narberth, and Lower Merion Township, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s preemption law. The passage of Councilmember Strassburger’s resolution opens the door for the City of Pittsburgh to file a legal motion in support of that suit.

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

New Study: PA electric vehicle program expansion could lead to 18-million-ton yearly reduction in state’s climate pollution

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania could reduce its climate pollution by 18 million metric tons annually -- the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million gas-powered vehicles off the road --  by expanding its clean cars program to include a Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program, according to a new study released Thursday.  This report comes out just after the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed the Keystone State embrace a ZEV program. 

> Keep Reading
Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Cleaner Cars for PA

Transportation is one of Pennsylvania’s leading sources of the air pollution that harms our health and contributes to global warming. One-quarter of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and more than a third of the nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to harmful ozone smog come from highway vehicles.

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment

Statement: Pittsburgh City Council takes crucial first step to eliminate plastic bag pollution

PITTSBURGH -- Pennsylvania’s two largest cities could soon join forces to protect the Commonwealth from plastic pollution and the health and environmental degradation it causes. Councilmember Erika Strassburger introduced a resolution Tuesday announcing the Pittsburgh City Council’s intent to pass a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, were it not for a state law preempting local governments from doing so. In March, Philadelphia, along with the boroughs of West Chester and Narberth, and Lower Merion Township, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s preemption law. The passage of Councilmember Strassburger’s resolution would open the door for the City of Pittsburgh to file a legal motion in support of that suit. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Statement: Allegheny County receives another failing grade for air pollution

PITTSBURGH -- Allegheny County again received straight “F” grades in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report, making it one of only 13 counties nationwide to do so. The Pittsburgh Metro ranked ninth- worst for soot pollution in the study, which was released Wednesday. This type of pollution is linked to health problems such as asthma, heart disease, stroke and premature death.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed