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4 Reasons to Bring Solar
to Your Community
When we think about solar energy, there’s a natural tendency to think about the big picture. After all, the sun literally lights up our entire solar system, and the worldwide solar boom is a massive ray of hope in the global battle against climate change.
However, solar is also making a major positive impact at the local level, in cities and towns of every size across America. So if you want to help make a better future for our planet and your community, here are four reasons why you should be thinking about solar.
1. Support Good, Local Jobs
According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, there were over 250,000 Americans employed in the solar industry nationwide at the start of 2018. Not only is that a lot of jobs - more than twice as many workers as the coal industry - but it represents tremendous growth. Over the past five years, solar employment has doubled, with the solar workforce growing nine times faster than the overall U.S. economy!
And unlike fossil fuel jobs that depend on the availability of coal or oil resources to dig up, solar jobs are found everywhere the sun shines. The Solar Foundation found significant numbers of solar jobs in every state in America, and the majority of these positions are solar installer jobs that can’t be outsourced or sent overseas.
Could you help bring some of those jobs (and their economic benefits) to your community? You bet.
2. Help a Local Nonprofit
Schools, houses of worship, homeless shelters, food kitchens, community centers, and many other types of nonprofit organization provide vital services for so many in our communities. Unfortunately, electricity costs can take a big chunk out of their budget, and as electricity costs rise, that means even less funding to do good in the world.
Solar power can be cheaper than buying electricity from your utility company, making it a great solution to reduce costs for pretty much any organization. For-profit businesses have already discovered this: according to the Solar Energy Industry Association, there are over 4,000 American businesses that have invested in solar, led by Fortune 500 giants like Target, Wal Mart, and Apple.
Saving with solar shouldn’t just be an option for big businesses, and it doesn’t have to be. By bringing together your community to help a non-profit go solar, you can help them save 15% or more on their electric bills and put thousands of dollars back into the community to better provide vital services.
3. Help Solar Energy Catch On In Your Community
Solar energy is the most universally popular form of energy, with a Pew Research survey finding that nearly 90% of Americans support more solar power development - more than twice the number that wants to see more coal mining, fracking, or nuclear power. Given the fact that solar saves money while simultaneously helping to save the planet, it’s not exactly surprising.
However, did you know that solar is actually contagious? Studies show that solar tends to “go viral” in geographic areas where solar adoption is high, as people become more likely to go solar more quickly when they see their neighbors going solar. It’s kind of like the spread of fidget spinners or that hilarious dog video on YouTube (you know the one), except that in this case, it’s adding up to make a huge positive impact on the world.
And if you put solar up on a highly visible, central place in your town like the local school, then all the people who see and interact with that school - the parents, the teachers, the students, and even passersby - will all become more likely to go solar themselves. It’s a powerful effect, and you can catalyze by bringing solar to your community.
4. Empower Your Community To Be Part of the Climate Change Solution
Finally, let’s look back to the big picture: the impacts of climate change and air pollution are being seen - and felt - across the country like never before. The good news is, Americans know that it’s time to move away from a fossil fuel economy and towards a clean energy future, and we’re more empowered than ever to take the lead.
One inspiring example is the Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 campaign, a movement of residents, businesses, faith, and community groups, and city leaders all across the country calling for 100% clean energy for 100% of the people. In less than 3 years since the campaign began, over 100 cities and towns across America have taken the pledge - with many more to come.
If your hometown has already set its sights on 100%, a community solar project can be a great way to bring people together around this ambitious goal. And if your local community isn’t quite ready to commit to 100%, a solar project is the perfect place to start getting people involved in a positive way.
We believe that everyone should have the ability to support and spread clean energy. So we created a new way for people to take action. It's a pretty simple idea. Through an innovative solar financing model, these nonprofits immediately save on their electricity costs. As these organizations pay us back, we reinvest the money into more solar projects in communities across the country. This creates a revolving fund for solar energy that continually perpetuates itself building more and more solar. It's a pay-it-forward model for solar energy. We call it the Solar Seed Fund. Spread clean energy and make a tax-deductible donation to the Solar Seed Fund.