It’s time for Maryland 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.

20 percent solar by 2025

We need more and better pro-solar policies, not fewer.  That’s why we’re urging Gov. Larry Hogan to make commitments that will help put Maryland on the road to 100% clean energy, with 20% solar by 2025.

Achieving this goal in Maryland would help move our country closer to the national goal of getting 10 percent solar by 2030. This would produce immediate and long-lasting benefits for our environment, 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 Maryland 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

Report | Maryland Climate Coalition

Maryland Climate Coalition Announces Mini-Grants

The Maryland Climate Coalition is soliciting submissions for small grants to support climate change work. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to secure some funding to work on this critical issue! 

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News Release | Environment Maryland

Catching the Wind Report

Over 1.5 million acres off the Atlantic coast have been designated for offshore wind power development, enough to produce over 16,000 megawatts of electricity and power more than five million homes, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation and Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center released in partnership with the Maryland Climate Coalition. Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power” also contains a new analysis showing how the strong, consistent winds offshore can provide power to Maryland right when we need it most - bringing down energy costs and local pollution. 

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Report | Environment Maryland

Catching the Wind

The Atlantic coastline is at the epicenter of America’s energy and environmental challenges, with state leaders currently facing critical decisions to meet the region’s growing energy demands and protect our communities and wildlife from the impacts of climate change. The cities, metropolitan areas, and sprawling suburbs that stretch along the East Coast have a massive, pollution-free energy source ready to meet these challenges –– offshore wind.

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News Release | Environment Maryland

Maryland Charging Ahead toward Electric Cars & Trucks

Maryland joined 7 other states to unveil an action plan to put more than 3 million electric cars on the road within a dozen years.  This partnership between eight leading states outlines steps each will take to build the infrastructure and develop the markets for zero-emission vehicles; including passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.  These eight states are among the 10 states that have adopted strong policies to drive increasingly cleaner, advanced technology cars. Zero-emission vehicles include battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles which can travel increasingly longer distances on electricity alone. These technologies enable transportation without oil.

Travis Madsen, Global Warming Solutions Program Manager for Environment Maryland, issued the following statement applauding the plan:

“Governor Martin O’Malley and the leaders of the seven partner states deserve tremendous credit for taking this step to promote clean, electric cars that will reduce pollution and our dependence on oil.   Thanks to strong policies adopted by Maryland and others, there have been tremendous advances on electric cars, with more than 190,000 now on America’s roads.  The progress we’ve made so far should give us confidence that we can take electric cars to the next level. 

“By adopting consumer incentives and other key policies, the plan released today can help make electric cars as convenient, affordable and widespread as cars currently powered by oil. This is a crucial strategy to protect our children and future generations from the worst impacts of global warming – and it will help protect our health by cleaning up air pollution.

“We applaud the release of today’s Multi-State Action Plan and look forward to working with Governor O’Malley and climate leaders across the country to accelerate the transition to clean, electric vehicles.”

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News Release | Environment Maryland

Maryland Takes Action to Reduce Climate-Altering Carbon Pollution

Annapolis, MD—On January 6th, the State of Maryland finalized improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a pioneering effort to clean up climate-altering carbon pollution from power plants. The new rules, just published in the Maryland Register, will reduce power plant pollution in the region by 15 percent with the decade.

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