Over the past year at least 20 entities in 12 states have pushed to make rooftop solar power harder to get. That’s according to a new “Blocking the Sun” report from the Environment America Research & Policy Center and analysis conducted by Frontier Group. The new report, introduced today (Nov. 2), also found they’re in opposition to the 89 percent of US residents who support the development of more solar power in the country.
“To meet our major environmental challenges and reach 100 percent renewable energy, we must harness the power of the sun on exponentially more rooftops across America,” said Bret Fanshaw, Solar Program Coordinator with Environment America and report co-author. “The people want this to happen -- it’s up to our public officials to stand up to powerful interests and make going solar easier, not harder.”
The report highlights the efforts of organizations and utilities to roll back rooftop solar programs. Among them are the Edison Electric Institute, the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Florida Power and Light, Arizona Public Service, and others. Overall the Frontier Group’s analysis found that the growth of rooftop solar could be affected by at least 90 ongoing policy actions that seek to limit net metering or impose new fees on rooftop solar.
"We're seeing a continued, concerted effort to knock down some of the best solar policies out there by some of the most powerful state utilities and fossil fuel actors" said Hye-Jin Kim, policy associate at Frontier Group and report co-author. "We've done this study three years in a row, and despite overwhelming public approval of solar power, the industry attacks on pro-solar policies continue."
The fossil fuel supporters and utilities that have taken action against rooftop solar power, according to the report, are often making their cases with utility commissions. Where they argue for more fees on solar installations and lowered credits for power rooftop solar systems put back on the grid.
“It’s completely clear that Americans want more solar power, for the good of our environment, our health and our local economy,” Fanshaw said. “We cannot allow for a narrow set of interests to block the ability of everyday citizens to tap into clean and renewable solar power on the roofs of our homes and businesses.”
The report noted the Trump administration’s appointment of people who have worked with electric utilities and fossil fuel companies to positions at the Department of Energy, including Secretary Rick Perry. That’s already resulted in reports that question the value of rooftop solar while attempting to support for coal and nuclear power plants over renewable energy.Tweet