Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Expediting Solar Energy: The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift for Mother Earth

Insights + Opinion
Expediting Solar Energy: The Perfect Mother’s Day Gift for Mother Earth

Walmart is installing solar power generating systems in several locations in California and Arizona, as seen on this Mountain View, CA store, where President Obama announced the commitments today.

Talk about the perfect Mother’s Day present for Mother Earth.

Walmart Thin Film Solar Panels in Mountain View, CA. Photo courtesy: Walmart

President Obama announced at the Walmart in California that 300 leading U.S. companies have taken the “solar pledge,” committing to install nearly 1 gigawatt (GW) of new solar as part of their business plans. That’s an astonishingly huge increase in the use of solar in the commercial sector.

For America’s solar energy industry, this is like getting a triple-A investment rating from Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s. Solar has become a "street-smart" investment. These companies are expanding their use of solar because it makes sense from both a business and social responsibility viewpoint. Having worked closely with both the Administration and the private sector to increase the use of clean, reliable solar nationwide, Solar Energy Industries Association applauds this exciting, new initiative and we look forward to assisting commercial businesses, homebuilders, rural coops, governmental entities and America’s financial community in bringing these new solar installations online.

This bold initiative is part of a solar boom in America which is already taking place. Today, more than 30 utility-scale, clean energy projects are under construction, putting thousands of electricians, steelworkers and laborers to work, while helping to reduce dangerous carbon emissions. These facilities, along with rooftop solar on homes, businesses and schools, will help to generate clean, abundant energy for generations to come. What’s more, innovative solar heating and cooling systems are offering American consumers, businesses and schools cost-efficient, effective options for meeting their energy needs, in addition to reducing our nation’s overall energy consumption.

Clearly, the President sees solar as a critical technology for addressing climate change, and his speech today created a direct link between our need to address climate change and the positive impact that solar can have on reducing pollution. Here’s a breakdown on the commitments announced today:

  • 27 multi-family and low income builders

  • 30 homebuilders and home improvement leaders

  • 199 rural electrical co-ops in 27 states

  • 10 commercial companies, including Walmart, Yahoo, Google, Apple, Ikea, Kaiser Permanente, Clif Bar, Viridity Energy, Bonipak farms and Taylor Farms

  • Four financial institutions, including Citi and Goldman Sachs, have pledged to invest in solar and renewable energy programs

President Obama also highlighted several executive actions, including:

  • The Department of Energy will expand a program that supports solar-sector job training at community colleges. The program will help 50,000 workers enter the industry.

  • The General Services Administration will expand the federal government procurement of solar and will provide innovative financing for solar deployment. This is the first step toward government-wide third party ownership as a mechanism for financing solar.

  • The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will clarify “how rules regarding real property relate to renewable energy installations.”

  • And many more.

Finally, the President also announced that the White House has now gone “live” with the 6.3kW system on the White House. After six years of lobbying the administration, we are thrilled that they have finalized the installation and that solar is once again back on the White House.

Today’s remarks follow the increased visibility the White House is giving to climate issues. Last summer, the Administration released the President’s Climate Action Plan, followed by a Presidential Memorandum increasing federal solar deployment, a solar mention in the State of the Union, last month’s White House Solar Summit and this week’s sobering National Climate Assessment.

Solar offers real hope for the future. Smart public policies, like the solar Investment Tax Credit, have helped to create 143,000 American jobs in the solar industry, pumped tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, spurred private sector innovation and investment, and helped to fight climate change. They’ve also helped to make solar the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America. But there’s even more we can do as an industry. Minor changes in federal contracting and Treasury regulations would allow solar to compete as a low-cost alternative on federal buildings, saving millions of dollars for taxpayers and putting even more Americans to work. We look forward to working with the President and Congress on a critically-needed, long-term energy policy, which will help to ensure future prosperity for America.

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less