Too often, solar power gets caught up in detailed policy debates and it can be easy to lose sight of the real people who could benefit from more solar in our region: families, farmers, businesses, schools, faith congregations, non-profit organizations, and communities.
Today SELC released a new video campaign to bring those voices to the forefront of the debate: Stories of Solar features Southerners who have gone solar and aren’t looking back. With stories ranging from a former coal miner turned solar installer in Alabama to a family farmer in North Carolina, from a pastor in Georgia to students in Virginia, the stories show that everyone has their own reasons for going solar. Stories of Solar provides a chance to hear directly from Southerners who are benefiting from solar power, often in the face of significant policy barriers.
Stories of Solar tells the personal stories of how solar stimulates job growth, decreases energy costs, and increases energy independence, all while benefitting our environment, communities, and families. In the Southeast, we still have yet to reach our full solar potential, as regulatory barriers in some of our states like limited financing opportunities and punitive fees from electric utilities can cut expected savings and stifle solar growth.
Yet as the Stories of Solar make clear, solar power is only growing. Every three minutes, a new solar system is installed in the U.S. The cost of solar is steadily decreasing, offering affordable clean energy for families and businesses. And solar industry jobs are on the rise nationwide; they increased 86 percent from 2010 to 2015. Many more solar jobs are possible in the Southeast, but to see more of this growth, policies that hold us back must be addressed.
As Staff Attorney Katie Ottenweller, who leads SELC’s Solar Initiative, noted:
“The barriers to increased growth for solar power in the Southeast are real, and they impact real people: millions of families, farms, businesses, and communities that still don’t have access to this valuable local resource. If we’re serious about long-term economic growth, job creation, and sustainability in our region, that has to change. Stories of Solar puts the focus back where it belongs: the families, businesses, and communities that are working for this change, and already receiving the many benefits of solar power.”
Watch the videos, and share your own story of solar, at www.stories.solar.