It’s time for Michigan 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.

10 percent solar by 2030

That’s why we’re urging Gov. Rick Snyder to make commitments that will help put Michigan on the road to 100% clean energy, with 10% solar by 2030.

Achieving this goal would help produce immediate and long-lasting benefits for our country, 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 Michigan 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 | Environment Michigan

New Report: Strong Energy Efficiency Policies in Energy/Climate Legislation Would Save Michigan Families $211 per Year, Create 19,600 Jobs

A new national report finds that Michigan households would save an average of $211 per year and 19,600 sustainable jobs would be created in the state over the next ten years if Congress acts now to include strong energy efficiency improvements in energy and climate legislation. The report, entitled Energy Efficiency in the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009: Impacts of Current Provisions and Opportunities to Enhance the Legislation, was released by Environment Michigan and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.  The efficiency provisions would prevent 10 million metric tons of global warming emissions, this is the equivalent of removing the pollution from over 1.8 million cars from the road for a year.   

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News Release | Environment Michigan

New Report Outlines Bold New Vision for Solar in America

From laundromats and baseball stadiums, to homes and cars, solar energy is already enhancing energy security and reducing pollution in America.  A new Environment Michigan report outlines a vision for using the sun to meet 10 percent of the United States’ total energy needs by 2030.

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News Release | Environment Michigan

EPA Unveils List of Cities with the Most Efficient Buildings, Detroit Ranks 15th

Today the Environmental Protection Agency released its second annual list of U.S. cities with the most Energy Star buildings.  They found that Detroit ranks 15th in the country, with 62 Energy Star buildings that save the equivalent of 12,500 homes’ electricity usage annually. 

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News Release

Building Better: How high-efficiency buildings will save money and reduce global warming

Michigan families could save over $1,100 every year on their energy bills by 2030 (and $1,800 by 2050) if Michigan policymakers invest in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a report by Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center.  During a press teleconference releasing the report, a diverse coalition of organizations, city leaders and clean energy businesses unveiled a letter to the Michigan Senate calling for the immediate passage of PACE clean energy legislation (HB 5640).  The ReEnergize Michigan coalition – a statewide coalition made up of businesses, communities, faith-based groups, environmental organizations and labor unions – also announced its support for PACE and related policies that would boost Michigan’s energy efficiency competitiveness.

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News Release | Environment Michigan

First Ever U.S. Solar Jobs Census Shows Growth in Solar Workforce

Environment Michigan today released a new report from the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit solar education and research organization. The report found that Michigan has the 4th most solar related jobs in the country with an estimated 6,300 people employed by the solar industry. 

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