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

News Release | Environment Maryland

2013 a Major Boom for Clean Energy, Bust for Many Other Issues

After the 2013 session of Maryland’s General Assembly concluded yesterday, Environment Maryland Director Tommy Landers issued a statement along with a roundup of the environmental legislation we followed most closely.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

Critical Wind Tax Credits Extended in "Fiscal Cliff" Deal

Today President Obama is expected to sign into law a bill that extends key tax credits for wind power and averts the “fiscal cliff.” The main federal incentives for wind power – the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the offshore wind Investment Tax Credit (ITC) – expired on December 31, 2012. But with today’s new law, these credits will now be available for wind power projects that start construction over the next year, allowing for continued growth of Maryland and American wind power.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center

Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water

Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maryland

As Clock Winds Down in Congress, Coalition Calls for Action on Wind Power

As Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath prompt more Marylanders to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment Maryland released a new Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center report today that shows that Maryland’s current power generation from land-based wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 35,000 cars off the road per year. Maryland has also suffered from severe drought this year, and the Environment Maryland report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 1,700 people.

> Keep Reading
Report | Environment Maryland

The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Protect Wildlife, & Secure America’s Energy Future

As America struggles to revitalize our economy, create jobs, secure an energy independent future, and protect our communities and wildlife from the dangers of climate change, one energy source offers a golden opportunity to power our homes and businesses without creating more pollution – Atlantic offshore wind.

> Keep Reading

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