FROM THE CREW: RE Politics: The Power is Yours

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Ironically, while suggesting that PV modules be placed on his proposed border “fence,” the president wants to roll back environmental regulations on coal-fired power plants in an effort to restart the coal industry. Besides expressing support for $4.5 billion in federal subsidies for coal power plants in the East, Trump wants more natural gas export facilities, too. Additional gas export will decrease domestic gas supply, making it more expensive—and thus making coal-power more economically competitive in the United States.

But implementing many of the president’s ideas for bolstering fossil fuel use and eliminating environmental regulations is not entirely up to his administration—Congress will be involved. And the pinch-point for Congressional decision-making has been public pressure, as demonstrated by the inability to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. It’s been town-hall meeting attendance, postcards, petitions, emails, and phone calls that have kept that legislation in effect. We can use the same tactics to help the RE industry and help keep our air clean by letting our representatives know that we want the solar and renewables industries’ pace of building to continue.

While tax credits and other federal encouragement have certainly helped the RE industry, much of the solar revolution we have been experiencing has not been in the hands of the Feds, but rather the purview of state legislation and regulation. After net-metering programs were threatened in Nevada and Florida, both states are making solar comebacks due to public outcry. California is going full steam ahead—and is even considering deadlines for a 100% carbon-free electricity supply—as part of its efforts to beat back climate change. Discover if your state is a solar battleground and what you can do to help at votesolar.org/usa—and find out exactly what your state’s RE policies and other incentives are at dsireusa.org.

Support for renewable energy can take many forms, including calls, letters, and emails to your state and Congressional representatives. Check votesolar.org for campaigns that will help your state be a part of the solar revolution. Of course, one of the biggest ways to show support is to install a PV system, whether it’s on your rooftop or at your business—it’s a visible example to your neighbors and the wider community that solar works, and is ready now.

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