by Solar Pioneer on July 30, 2012

Whether you’re new to solar or a well-read veteran, it’s our mission at Solar Financing to keep you informed about the latest solar finance news in throughout the country. Go ahead, look around. And if you want to know whether your home is a good fit for solar, click here for a free solar consultation.

This information is brought to you by Sunrun, the nation’s largest home solar company and the inventors of residential third party solar.

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Conservatives Who Actually Conserve

by stefan on October 31, 2013

ImageIf Conservatives like to conserve, you’d think they’d be for conserving their environment, right?

Well, they do. In the 2012 elections, Americans voted ‘yes’ to 46 out of 57 conservation measures on local and statewide ballots – an approval rating of 81% – causing the President of The Trust for Public Land, to comment, “We saw voters across the political spectrum say ‘yes’ to taxes and spending for conservation which helps their communities.”

We all know how much conservatives hate raising taxes, yet here they are voting with liberals to raise $2 billion for conservation measures. Just as surprising is the conservative approval of renewable energy, particularly solar. Remember the near apoplectic reactions conservative media and politicians had over Solyndra? Yet 92% of Americans, including 75% of Republicans, still agree that America should develop and use more solar.

Surprisingly, there are lots of top, influential and famous conservatives supporting renewable energy sources, and their numbers are growing as fast as the renewable energy industries themselves. (Solar grew at five times the rate of the rest of the economy last year.) So who are these Green Elephants, and why are they bucking the stereotype?

First to mind is Arnold Schwarzenneger, the former Republican governor who led California to becoming 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the United States. He also signed the “Million Solar Roofs” initiative, and an executive order requiring utilities to get 33% of power from renewables by 2020 (this number has now since become a ‘floor’, not a ‘ceiling’ with the recent passage of AB327 in the state).

But that’s just kooky California right? What about deep red States like Kansas or Texas? In Kansas, renowned conservative Governor Sam Brownback said he wanted Kansas to be known as the Renewable State. He also signed a renewable portfolio standard in 2009 calling for 20% of peak capacity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. That’s because wind energy has already produced 12,000 jobs in Kansas, and local landowners are now getting over $13 million annually from land rents.

Meanwhile Texas is the largest wind-powered state in the country with over 10 gigawatts (GW) installed, which in 2010 produced 12.1 percent of the state’s electricity. It’s strong renewable portfolio standard was put in place by none other than tree hugging governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry. First Bush supported a new mandate to add 2 GW of renewable energy by 2009, which was exceeded in 2005. Then Perry supported new goals of 10 GW by 2025, which Texas exceeded by 2012.

Even in ‘non-sunny’ states, there are thriving solar industries and enthusiastic conservative solar supporters. Like Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey who has signed numerous renewable energy bills, including the so called solar “resurrection” bill which helped New Jersey become America’s fourth largest solar state per capita. At the signing, Christy said, “Renewable energy not only helps meet our goals of increasing sustainability and protecting the environment, but can be an engine for economic growth and the creation of good-paying jobs for the people of our state.”

There’s also revered conservative thinkers, known more for their firebrand politics than support for clean energy. Like Republican Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona who supports renewable energy to the point of trying to brand Arizona as the nation’s Solar Capital. In Georgia, birthplace of the Green Tea Party, Republican Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr., recently introduced a plan for the state’s largest utility, Georgia Power, to add 525 megawatts of solar in the next 3 years.

There’s evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson who in 2008 appeared in a commercial advocating protection of the planet with his longtime ‘pal’, the Rev. Al Sharpton. There’s top influential Republicans like Lindsay Graham and Newt Gingrich, both vocal advocates of renewables. There’s Legendary Republican names like Barry Goldwater Jr., the head of TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) in Arizona where utilities are trying to stifle the home solar market. There’s even a Green Tea Party coalition that believes renewable energy sources can break up the utility monopolies, create jobs, decrease pollution and increase choice and energy security.

And they’d be right. Conservatives are interested in conservation: conserving jobs, national security, and consumer choice. But above all, conservatives love conserving money. Which is why so many opt for home solar. With solar prices becoming competitive without subsidies, even naysayers are increasingly saying ‘aye’ for clean, renewable, distributed, home grown, energy.

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SEIA’s Q2 Report: Business is Beaming

September 26, 2013

The second quarterly report from SEIA (Solar Energy industry Association) is in, and the numbers show yet another sunny quarter for the solar industry. The second best yet in terms of overall capacity installed, namely 832 megawatts. For comparison purposes, that’s roughly the equivalent of a coal or nuclear plant, i.e. we can replace a [...]

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Global Solar Update

September 19, 2013

In the global energy game, the solar industry is rapidly transitioning from the minor leagues to the majors, and there are big plays and upsets on a daily basis. Here’s the score on what’s been happening around the world, and where it’s all heading. The Winner Solar continued it’s exponential growth with 31 gigawatts of [...]

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Leaked UN Climate Change Study: It’s Manmade

August 24, 2013

According to a new UN study on global climate change that been leaked to Reuters, there’s good news, (which is actually bad news), and then there’s the bad news, (which is even worse). First the good news, scientists and climate experts are coming closer to an almost complete consensus; they’re 95% sure that climate change [...]

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What Hawaii Can Teach Us About Solar

August 12, 2013

The business outlook for solar in Hawaii certainly looks ‘sunny’ with graphs like this one from the LA Times showing solar capacity on an exponential growth curve: doubling in size every year since 2007. Obviously abundant sunshine has something to do with it, but just as significant is how the average Hawaiian electricity bill is nearly twice as high [...]

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The Taxman Cometh (for Carbon)

August 4, 2013

See that yellow beacon floating on the water? That shouldn’t be floating. It’s the North Pole, but it melted this summer because temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average over much of the Arctic Ocean. Looks like Santa had to relocate. Santa’s not the only one taking climate change seriously. So are 97% [...]

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Arizona Power Corrupts Absolutely

July 22, 2013

Arizonans will be cranking their AC just from all the political hot air generated by Arizona Public Service’s (APS) new proposal to the Arizona Corporation Commission. The proposal would slap costly new charges on customers who go solar, a move that would effectively stop Arizona’s fast-growing solar adoption in its tracks. And to make matters [...]

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Solar Permits: Big Dollars And Little Sense?

July 16, 2013

With an 80% drop since 2008, the cost of solar has plummeted almost as much as Congress’ approval ratings. (Well, maybe not that much!) Yet according to the good people over at the Vote Solar, there’s still low hanging fruit to reduce solar costs further, and their plum pick is the solar permitting process. To [...]

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Obama ‘Pivots’ To Renewables

July 8, 2013

Just as Obama ‘pivoted’ America’s geo-political policy towards Asia in 2011, Obama’s recent speech at Georgetown University finally laid out his long awaited plan to pivot away from fossil fuels, and towards clean renewables like solar and wind. Obama’s main target here was coal, responsible for a whopping 40% of America’s carbon emissions, which is why the [...]

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Want The Latino Vote? They Want Solar and Net Metering

June 28, 2013

Elections have consequences, and the 2012 elections certainly made Washington aware of the impact of the Latino vote. So now politicians are finally listening, what do Latino voters want? According to a new poll commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) and supported by CAUSE (Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy), an overwhelming majority [...]

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