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10 Sunny States That Are Hostile to Rooftop Solar

Energy
Red Oak Park in Boulder, CO. Colorado's rooftop solar policies received an "A" in the report. National Renewable Energy Lab / Flickr

Ten of the nation's sunniest states get a failing grade for policies that actively block, or don't encourage, rooftop-solar development, according to Throwing Shade, a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin account for more than 33 percent of the total rooftop-solar potential of small buildings in the contiguous U.S. but less than 8 percent of net generation in 2017. All of them get an "F" in today's report.


"Instead of leading us out of the climate crisis, these sunny states are casting a long shadow across our potential for rooftop solar," said Greer Ryan, a renewable energy and research specialist with the Center for Biological Diversity and author of the report. "The Trump administration certainly isn't going to fix our climate, so it's vital that these states step up."

In the Center for Biological Diversity's analysis, states were graded based on the presence and strength of key policies that aid solar expansion. Other considerations were regulatory barriers that hinder distributed-solar markets and anti-solar campaigns pushed by fossil fuel and monopoly utility companies.

These factors, along with the technical potential for rooftop solar on small buildings, determined which states were the country's worst offenders.

Key findings include:

  • All 10 states are falling far behind states with stronger policies in meeting their technical potential for rooftop solar.
  • Texas and Florida stand out as two of the states with the most potential but the worst distributed-solar policies.
  • Among the most common barriers to the expansion of distributed solar in the 10 states are a lack of community solar policies, poor compensation policies, and prohibited or unclear rules for third-party ownership.

"By blocking solar expansion, states threaten the swift transition to a just and fully renewable energy system," said Ryan. "That transition is what's needed to stave off the worst impacts of climate change and protect the health of communities, wildlife and the planet."

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