Guest blog by Roy L. Hales of San Diego Loves Green
A new poll, commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) and supported by Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE), found that 80% of the Latino community believe “state legislators should make it a high priority to increase the amount of rooftop solar energy in California.”
The poll was conducted in Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles & San Bernardino counties, but is believed to representative of the Latino community throughout Southern California.
Some of the other specifics of the poll:
- 74% agree with the statement “if customers are required to buy power from the utility at a certain price, the utility should have to buy excess power created by customers’ solar panels at the same price.”
- 88% agree with the statement “growing the state’s solar energy industry will create new jobs in California” and an impressive (54%) strongly agreed with the statement.
- 88% of the respondents said they are more likely to re-elect a legislator who “voted for stronger clean air standards to reduce pollution” and 60% would be less likely to vote for a candidate for political office if they opposed pro-green economy legislation including net metering for rooftop solar.
According to CAUSE’s news release: “These results come at a time when California investor-owned utilities PG&E, SDG&E and SCE are working to limit rooftop solar installations because as more people go solar, they buy less electricity from the utilities. In particular, these utilities are trying to end net energy metering (NEM), a successful policy in California and 42 other states that provides consumers with fair credit for the solar they deliver to the grid. Two-thirds of California home solar installations now occur in low and median income neighborhoods, according to a July 2012 California Solar Initiative report issued by the California Public Utilities Commission.”
California presently derives most of its power from gas and oil fueled power plants. They are primarily found in lower income areas, where many of the inhabitants are of low education and/or color. They are being exposed to PM 2.5, a fine particulate matter that can cause damage to the lungs, as well as other air pollutants which can cause serious health problems such as asthma, heart disease, and other respiratory problems.
“It is clear from the survey results that Latinos are making choices about their preferences of energy sources and those choices are clearly green and rooted in not only public health concerns but excitement about the job potential that rooftop solar growth provides,” said Antonio Gonzalez, WCVI’s president.
“As a physician, I have seen firsthand the serious health issues that my patients face due to environmental issues like poor air quality,” said Dr. Luis Pacheco, CAUSE Co-Chair. “Diseases such as asthma hit our urban and minority populations the hardest. Our research plainly illustrates Latinos’ support for tangible clean air and public health solutions like rooftop solar.”
Added WVCI’s Antonio Gonzalez “The Latino community now realizes that jobs and public health go hand in hand with the clean economy, and rooftop solar is leading the way. Latinos will hold their elected officials accountable if they are too cozy with groups like the investor-owned utilities that rely on fossil fuels for energy generation.”
So what about SDG&E’s “Sunrise Powerlink” which transmits power, from industrial scale wind and solar farms in the desert, to San Diego?
“Solar energy done from these farms is a way better deal than gas or coal,” said CAUSE spokesperson Leo Briones. “However the business model these utilities have is backwards. The good thing about solar is it can distributed, cheaply and directly from people’s rooftops, which are often a couple of feet away. You do not have to transmit energy over hundreds of miles.”