Report | Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

Lighting the Way 4

American solar energy is booming. Hundreds of thousands more Americans each year are experiencing the environmental and consumer benefits of clean energy from the sun, often generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

A growing number of states are leading America’s ongoing solar boom. Those states are not necessarily the ones with the most sunshine, but rather the ones that have opened the door for solar energy through the adoption of strong public policies. The 10 states with the most solar capacity per capita – Nevada, Hawaii, California, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Vermont, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Colorado – have a track record of strong public policies that are enabling increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.”

Report | Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

Blocking the Sun

Solar power is clean, affordable and popular with the American people. Since 2010, America’s solar energy capacity has grown more than four-fold, generating increasing amounts of clean energy at increasingly affordable prices.

America’s solar progress is largely the result of bold, forward-thinking public policies that have created a strong solar industry while putting solar energy within the financial reach of millions more Americans.

Behind the scenes, however, electric utilities, fossil fuel interests and powerful industry front groups have begun chipping away at the key policies that have put solar energy on the map in the United States – often in the face of strong objections from a supportive public.

This report documents 12 fossil fuel backed groups and electric utilities that are running some of the most aggressive campaigns to slow the growth of solar energy in the United States. Citizens and policy-makers must be aware of the tools self-interested parties are using to undermine solar energy across America – and redouble their commitment to strong policies that move the nation toward a clean energy future.

A national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country.

Report | Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

Lighting the Way

Solar energy is booming. In just the last three years, America’s solar photovoltaic capacity tripled. In 2014, a third of the United States’ new installed electric capacity came from solar power. And in three states – California, Hawaii, and Arizona – solar power now generates more than 5 percent of total electricity consumption.

With the cost of solar energy declining rapidly, tens of thousands more Americans each year are experiencing the benefits of clean energy from the sun, including energy generated right on the rooftops of their homes or places of business.

America’s solar energy revolution continues to be led by a small group of states that have the greatest amount of solar energy capacity installed per capita. These 10 states have opened the door for solar energy and are reaping the rewards as a result.

Report | Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

Shining Rewards

Solar energy is on the rise in the United States. At the end of the first quarter of 2015, more than 21,300 megawatts of cumulative solar electric capacity had been installed around the country, enough to power more than 4.3 million homes. The rapid growth of solar energy in the United States is the result of forward-looking policies that are helping the nation reduce its contribution to global warming and expand its use of local renewable energy sources.

Report | Environment New Mexico Research & Policy Center

Shining Cities

The use of solar power is expanding rapidly across the United States. By the end of 2014, the United States had 20,500 megawatts (MW) of cumulative solar electric capacity, enough to power four million average U.S. homes. This success is the outcome of federal, state and local programs that are working in concert to make solar power accessible to more Americans, thereby cleaning our air, protecting our health, and hedging against volatile electricity prices.