Media Contacts:
Domenica Ghanem, domenica@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5205
Basav Sen, basav@ips-dc.org, 202 997 0479

(Washington, D.C.) – Given the current assault on responsible climate policy at the federal level by the Trump administration, now more than ever, innovative state and local actions are needed to combat our climate crisis. Many states are already well on their way.

The new IPS report How States Can Boost Renewables With Benefits for All documents how increasing and expanding Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and distributed solar access to low-income households in states can help substantially reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The report also compiles existing state models for RPS expansion to create best practices blueprint for RPS legislation with dedicated funding for increased distributed solar access for low-income households.

“States and local governments can and must pick up the federal government’s slack in advancing an ambitious people’s climate agenda,” report author and IPS Climate Policy Director Basav Sen said. “Expanding access to solar to low-income communities and renters through programs like shared-solar is crucial since electric power generation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and the residential and commercial sectors are the two largest end-users of electricity sales by utilities. If we obtained all of our electricity from renewables, that would have a greater emissions impact than taking every single car in the U.S. off the road.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • RPS expansion creates good jobs. Solar energy already accounts for nearly 43% of direct U.S. employment in electric power generation, even though it only makes up a tiny fraction of the energy we use to power our country.
  • Renewable energy wages are comparable to those in the fossil fuel industry. A typical wind turbine technician, for example, earns $25.50 an hour, significantly more than many fossil fuel occupations.
  • Expanding shared solar access advances justice and equity. Low-income communities and communities of color are more likely to live in poorly insulated homes with higher heating and cooling costs, which means they spend more of their income on electricity. A typical set of residential solar panels would meet more than half of an average low-income household’s electricity needs — which means cutting their electricity bill drastically.
  • Shared renewables can allow families and small businesses a stake in the renewable energy market. The U.S. electricity market was worth $391 billion in 2015. RPS can help keep more of this money in communities.

Read more key findings and the full report at http://www.ips-dc.org/report-how-states-can-boost-renewables-with-benefits-for-all/.