Solar and environmental justice orgs team up for new ’30 million solar homes’ campaign

Ipsun Solar

Today, a national coalition of more than 220 organizations launched the 30 Million Solar Homes campaign. The campaign’s goal is to add enough rooftop and community solar energy to power 30 million homes across the U.S. within the next five years. This would provide solar’s benefits to 1 in 4 American households. The coalition estimates the 30 Million Solar Homes plan will create three million good-paying jobs. It would lower energy bills by at least $20 billion a year. And, it would cut total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5%.

The coalition released a list of federal policy recommendations to achieve the 30 million solar homes goal. A majority of investment in the plan is reserved for marginalized communities. More than 220 energy equity, climate, business, environmental, faith and public health organizations signed a letter to Congress urging the adoption of the 30 Million Solar Homes Plan.

The signers include the Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters, Public Citizen, Appalachian Voices, Partnership for Southern Equity, NAACP CO-MT-WY State Conference, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Dream Corps Green For All, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Solar Energy Industries Association, Nizhoni Ani, Climate Justice Alliance, Coalition for Community Solar Access, Corazón Latino, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Evangelical Environmental Network, Local Solar for All, Generation 180, GRID Alternatives, Interfaith Power & Light, and businesses including Sunrun, SunPower and Sunnova.

The complete list of signatories can be found here.

“30 Million Solar Homes is a smart, attainable policy goal that will save families money and create millions of good jobs,” said Anya Schoolman, Solar United Neighbors executive director. “Now is the time for the federal government to act.”

Solar United Neighbors, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the Initiative for Energy Justice are leading the 30 Million Solar Homes campaign.

“Cutting carbon emissions is vital and also not enough on its own,” said Subin DeVar, Initiative for Energy Justice co-founder. “We need to build an equitable energy system. This means giving individuals the power to control where their electricity comes from and to tap into the wealth, health, good jobs, and other benefits of a regenerative economy.”

“Communities that have faced the most harm from the utility-run energy system deserve to benefit from a new one,” said John Farrell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director “30 Million Solar homes will let folks choose a better future; rural communities, urban communities, and communities of color.”

The centerpiece of 30 Million Solar Homes is to rapidly and massively scale programs that help low-income families benefit from solar. The federal government spends billions of dollars every year to help families pay their energy costs. Still, this only serves less than a fifth of the eligible population. Funding rooftop and community solar access for these households would provide long-term financial relief and reduce the need for annual energy bill assistance.

“We have the opportunity to right historical wrongs in our energy system as we rebuild our economy,” said Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich. “Local solar and batteries can create more local jobs nationwide. Let’s put people at the center of our energy future with affordable, reliable, and clean electricity.”

“The promise of distributed energy — the ability to produce solar power and store it at your home, business or in your community — is expansive. So are the benefits, which include electricity bill savings and installation jobs that cannot be exported,” said Suzanne Leta, head of policy and strategy at SunPower. “The Biden/Harris administration and Congress can take quick action that will turn this promise into a reality, spurring greater access to the benefits for customers and job seekers most in need.”

Increasing federal energy assistance funding and using funding that isn’t dedicated to direct bill assistance would ensure energy bill assistance is not reduced from current levels. This funding can be allocated through existing programs such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Over the coming months the campaign will seek to educate lawmakers and the Biden-Harris Administration about the benefits of distributed solar energy and the policies that can get America to 30 Million Solar Homes.

News item from Solar United Neighbors

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