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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.

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Austin's Pecan Street Project. Pecan Street Inc.

By Beia Spiller

Thanks to improvements in technology, it's easier than ever to be green.

Solar panels and electric vehicles (EVs) are two prime examples of technologies that can help people minimize their environmental footprint, without sacrificing comfort or having to radically change their daily behavior. But the question still remains: How much of an environmental benefit do these technologies actually produce? And, are there actions that owners of these technologies can take to minimize their pollution footprint even more?

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By Climate Denier Roundup

In Nevada, the utility NV Energy is fighting against rooftop solar, specifically opposing the net metering policy that gives rooftop solar users credit for the power their panels produce. They've been releasing 30-second ads, with the most recent alleging that solar subsidies would send a billion Nevada tax dollars to out-of-state solar companies.

So how did we get to this point, where outlandish claims are the subject of ads? Last year, the state's Public Utilities Commission slashed the net metering rates, cutting how much NV Energy paid to solar power producers by 75 percent. This led to an exodus of solar companies from the state and came as a major blow to rooftop solar customers. In response, solar advocates are pushing for a ballot initiative that would restore the rates and in the process of the fight, NV Energy offers yet another shining example of how the dark art of propaganda works by co-opting language to hide its true intentions.

Like most utilities, NV Energy doesn't have a sunny outlook on the competition from distributed rooftop solar. After the solar industry and clean energy advocates started to push back on the rate change, last February, NV Energy hired an attorney to create a PAC to lobby to prevent any rollbacks to the solar credit cuts. And like its counterpart in Florida named "Consumers for Smart Solar," they chose a rosy name that conveys the opposite of what it really is: Citizens for Solar and Energy Fairness. Opposing policies that pay solar users for the power it produces hardly seems fair.

Their main contention is that non-solar customers shouldn't subsidize those with solar, which on its face does make sense. But when one factors in the benefits of solar power to the grid, public health and the planet, as Solarcity and the NRDC did, a different picture comes to light. It turns out the clean energy these solar customers are delivering provides between $7-$14 million in net benefits, every single year. Even if you assume that such a figure is a little high, that's still a huge return on investment.

It's worth reiterating that's a "net" benefit, meaning the perks of net metering provide as much as $14 million in benefits above and beyond the increase in power bills that the site claims residents will pay (and it oddly contradicts itself on that, claiming it's both $10-12 million and $16 million, on the same page…)

So net metering nets Nevada a net benefit, despite what's said on the net by solar's shady oppon-nets.

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