Did you know that today is National Shout-out for Solar Day? People across the country are showing their love for renewable energy by posting pro-solar images and messages to social media sites. Here in Charlotte, people are staring to get excited about our new community solarization initiative that will kick-off this spring. Check out our tumblr here.
Why all the hype about the sun? Solar means thousands of new jobs, clean air and water, and cheaper energy bills for everyone. The good news is that North Carolina is moving ahead and was ranked second in the country for new solar capacity in 2013, second only to California.
Solar is available, abundant, and affordable. North Carolina has double the solar potential of Germany, the world leader in solar energy generation. Furthermore, the cost of solar is going down fast. North Carolina average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices have fallen by 15% in the last year. While utility rates in North Carolina are skyrocketing—Duke Energy has imposed rate hikes in 3 out of the past 4 years—solar is more affordable than ever before.
Solar is an environmentally and socially responsible investment. Climate change—including extreme cold, heat, flooding, and droughts—affects everyone. Solar is a clean, safe energy option that does not generate greenhouse gas emissions, or air and water pollution. Solar also creates jobs that cannot be outsourced. In North Carolina alone, there are more than 121 solar companies that employ 1,400 people. Furthermore, investing in residential solar means taking power away from energy monopolies. Solar is the people’s power.
Just as the solar energy revolution is taking off, Duke Energy is attacking rooftop projects because it threatens the company’s century old monopoly business model. Using ALEC guidelines, and the divide and conquer approach, Duke is claiming that solar hurts ratepayers. But we know that’s not true. The more solar on rooftops means that Duke needs to build fewer multi-billion dollar nuclear, gas and coal power plants, which means fewer rate hikes.
At the same time, Duke is putting out greenwashing PR to say they are solar’s biggest fans. But if Duke wants to lead on solar and other renewable energy sources why does the company’s 20 year plan only project 3% renewable energy in the next 20 years? We aren’t going to let them get away with this.