Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Days after the U.S. announced it would slowly withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a growing bipartisan group of 1,200+ American companies, governors, mayors, and university presidents, as well as the Climate Alliance, stepped up to vow their support for the accord. At the same time, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization said that it will donate $15 million to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to make-up any U.S. government shortfall.
Whether you consider this grassroots aid a triumph or treason, the implications for renewable energy options like solar power are clear. While the administration decides exactly what to do when it comes to climate change – each and every one of us has the power to make a positive impact. What’s the plan? Start with solar.
Taking Climate Matters Into Our Own Hands
Many scientists worldwide now agree that climate change is caused by an increase of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. According to the EPA, greenhouse gases trap heat and come from a variety of sources in the U.S., with electricity production generating the largest share.
Curbing electricity use altogether is one way to bring those planet-warming emissions down, as is making coal-fired power plants more energy-efficient. But a more practical and less costly approach is to increase the share of total electricity generated from renewable energy sources like solar power. Solar power produces far less lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fossil fuel energy sources. And with solar costs down dramatically, harnessing the power of the sun makes good economic sense as well.
Everything Is Bigger In Texas (Except State Solar Incentives)
Consider Texas, the largest deregulated energy market in America. There, average electricity consumption per home is 26% higher than the national average, at a cost of about $1,801 annually, among the highest in the nation. Although Texas offers no state solar incentives and has no net metering law, plunging panel prices and rebates from local retail electricity companies have made solar a viable option there. So much so that yet another solar company recently announced that it is taking matters into its own hands in the Lone Star State and will begin serving Texas homeowners directly.
Why? Because even without state subsidies, solar can make a big impact on a Texas-sized energy bill. Consider the below savings estimate from EnergySage, an objective online resource for all things solar:
$14,000 or more in estimated savings is a lot to leave on the table.
Nevada’s Solar Flip
And states with subsidies are finding it hard to backpedal on pro-solar policies. Next week, the same governor who helped run leading solar companies out of Nevada in 2016, is expected to sign into law a new bill that brings back net metering. Amid public outcry and an estimated 2,600 jobs lost, Governor Sandoval had no choice but to turn his back on goliath NV Energy (a major campaign supporter) and structure a compromise. Solar companies are making plans to return to the sunny state and spirited solar advocates have learned a valuable lesson – you can fight city hall.
Further proof of solar’s galvanizing force, media reported that President Trump proposed to ‘beautify’ the controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall with solar panels so that the wall would pay for itself. Although climate change may be up for debate at the highest levels of American government, it appears that solar power’s practicality isn’t.
Does Solar Make Cents For You?
According to Parks Associates research, 79% of rooftop solar PV owners purchased their system to save money on electricity. While it may be clear that solar can make a difference for our planet and that it’s up to each of us to act locally for a global impact – solar’s potential real-world value for your home is likely still hazy. Fortunately, many leading solar companies offer a risk-free proposal, customized for your home. And companies like Crius Solar can also leverage their family of brands to find alternative energy supply solutions — such as those aligned with local solar farms — if this renewable energy option won’t work for your residence. So what are you waiting for? The power is with the people, and maybe soon — on your roof!