If you have solar on your roof, you are now one in a million.
The one millionth solar installation was completed sometime in February 2016 and that calls for a huge celebration and an effort to drive the industry to two million at what industry folks call the speed of solar.
“It took us 40 years to get to 1 million installations, and it will take us only two years to get to 2 million,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “This is a time to mark when the solar industry started to accelerate at warp speed.”
Join the campaign
Over the next few weeks, SEIA and participating advocates will run a campaign called #MillionSolarStrong to be certain the world knows that U.S. solar is growing clean energy and creating jobs at a pace that has not been seen in decades.
The solar industry now employs over 200,000 workers and growing. Rooftop solar is supported by super majorities, over 70%, of Americans as a way to create well paying construction jobs, combat climate change and improve our nation’s national energy security.
The cost of solar continues to fall
While the majority of the one million installations came from rooftop solar, the greatest capacity came from central, grid-scale utility projects. These large projects are paving the way for even greater cost efficiencies that benefit rooftop solar customers.
Through innovative zero down finance models, customers interested in rooftop solar are now able to make the switch to solar with no money down and still see monthly savings of as high as 20-30% on their monthly budgets. Eliminating the “cash up front” model has been paramount to the growth and adoption of solar energy – payback is no longer the moniker of a good solar project, lowest cost per kilowatt hour coupled with reliable energy guarantees is now king.
Customers still need to fight for their right to net-meter
The billing process in which rooftop solar customers receive fair, full retail credit for the occasional excess clean energy they generate, “Net-Metering”, is under attack nationwide. The efforts of utilities and fossil fuel groups to strip the industry of its cornerstone policy have intensified following the multi year extension of the solar energy investment tax credit.
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission approved a new rate plan for solar that retroactively reduced the compensation for net-metering to all solar customer. The move immediately cost the state over 2,000 jobs and left customers with uncertain investments.
A campaign in Florida, dubiously named Smart Solar, aims to do the same thing. Despite multiple attempts, local utilities and fossil fuel interests were unable to successfully strip away net-metering in the legislature or at the public service commission they have now resorted to a deviously worded constitutional amendment, that if approved, would eliminate net-metering.