Environment America found that “a comprehensive suite of public policy strategies can remove many of the common barriers to solar energy development and help to make this vision a reality.”
And if you look at where the US sits compared to other nations on solar energy and solar technology, you can see that it really needs to put these policies into practice.
Other than writing about the benefits of Photovoltaics (PV), Concentrating Solar Power (CSP), solar water heaters, solar space heating and cooling, solar space heating and cooling, and passive solar design, EA found that PV panels “can be installed on the roofs of 35-40 percent of homes nationwide, and solar heat collectors on 50 percent of residential roofs.” Additionally, 60-65% of commercial roof space across the nation is suitable for solar PV.
For businesses, the possibility of using natural light more has huge potential as well. “Walmart’s use of skylights in some its big box stores has cut energy costs by 15 to 20 percent by reducing the need for electric lighting.”
EA does not neglect to say, of course, that government policies need to be put in place to achieve these goals. From grants, taxes and feed-in tariffs to Renewable Energy Standards to PACE solar funding to advanced building codes to better rules and technology for net metering and selling power back to the grid to public education and workforce development to a smarter grid to continued R&D for solar technology, EA gives a comprehensive look at what is already being done and what needs to be done to achieve our solar energy potential.
Great report by Environment America! Hopefully, we will see governments follow through on these policy recommendations!
Image Credit: law_keven via flickr under a CC license
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