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Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, July 25th, 2013

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA

Executive Summary

Solar energy is on the rise. America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity today as in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as in 2007. In the first three months of 2013, solar power accounted for nearly half of the new electricity generating capacity in the United States. The price of solar energy is falling rapidly, and each year tens of thousands of additional Americans begin to reap the benefits of clean energy from the sun, generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar StatesAmerica’s solar energy revolution has been led by 12 states – the “Dazzling Dozen” – that have used public policies to open the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result.

The Dazzling Dozen states account for only 28 percent of the U.S. population but 85 percent of the nation’s installed solar electricity capacity.* These 12 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont – possess strong policies that are enabling increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.”

The pathway to a solar future laid out by the Dazzling Dozen is open to every state. By following their lead and implementing a new wave of public policies to expand access to solar energy, the United States can work toward the goal of getting at least 10 percent of our energy from the sun by 2030.

Solar energy is good for the environment, consumers and the economy.

  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) produce 96 percent less global warming pollution per unit of energy than coal-fired power plants over their entire life cycle, and 91 percent less global warming pollution than natural gas-fired power plants.
  • Solar energy benefits consumers by reducing the need for expensive invest- ments in long-distance transmission lines.
  • Solar energy can lower electricity costs by providing power at times of peak demand.
  • Solar energy costs are falling rapidly. The cost of installed solar energy systems fell by 27 percent during 2012, on top of a 20 percent decline between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2011.
  • Solar energy creates local clean energy jobs that can’t be outsourced. More than 119,000 people currently work in America’s solar energy industry, most of them in jobs such as installation that are located in close proximity to the places where solar panels are installed.

Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States

 

Read full report (PDF) here: Lighting the Way

About Environment America
www.environmentamericacenter.org
“Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting America’s air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision makers, and help Americans make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.”

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