As headlines flood consumers with scientific facts backing climate change, more people are looking for green energy alternatives. More working class individuals are finding the rising costs of utilities a major obstacle and solar has often been too expensive. But, there’s hope. GreenTech Media reports, “Ten years ago, a system was going up every two hours on average. By the next year, the American solar industry could be completing an installation nearly every minute.” Here are a few ways we can further speed up the adoption of solar.
Education is Key for Solar Adoption
For some, the idea of the high cost of solar installation compared to current electricity prices may seem like there’s no choice. With some education on the investment in solar energy, opinions change. Education is key to increasing solar energy use. Educating the masses begins by supporting research and fairly reporting on climate change. It continues by teaching about financially viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Knowledge is the pivotal focus solar companies, and advocates, need to maintain. People need to learn why solar is a better choice. They need factual data to satiate their questions and desire for comparison shopping. When the wallet meets the facts, solar power provides the most bang for their buck.
Appeal to the Masses
Solar panels are finding their way into all neighborhoods. For many though, the idea of installing this green energy source is an unreachable dream. The key to increasing solar energy use is making it affordable to the working class and low income populations. Solar companies should follow the advice provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that created a complete guide for increasing solar power access to low-income communities. The guiding principles for the EPA’s advice are, “accessibility and affordability, community engagement, consumer protection, sustainability and flexibility, and compatibility and integration.” Again, education is fundamental in accelerating the use of solar power. By making solar power more common, these communities will invest and support its use.
Make Solar Affordable and Accessible
Providing tax credits has helped increase solar energy’s use making it more affordable and accessible. The focus must maintain on making the investment worth solar’s upfront costs. For many individuals, home ownership may never happen, yet they still look for ways to lower their carbon footprint. One way to allow these people to entertain solar use is providing solar energy to rentals. Solar in apartments is a win-win situation with landlord and tenants benefiting. Another way offers incentives to rental property tenants by easing installation barriers. Many landlords are seeing the benefits of solar as a selling point for their rentals. People want to save money and spend less money and solar can help them.
Power sharing provides another method for expanding solar power’s reach in low income communities. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a government agency, explains, “By aggregating customer demand, shared solar programs can reduce the financial and technical barriers to going solar.” Tapping into this overlooked market may hold the key to increasing solar power usage.
Tap into New Markets
Farms are one of the markets solar energy companies are smart to court. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers grants and loans to businesses with 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews provides a review of solar photovoltaic water pumps with the following consideration, “Keeping in view the shortage of grid electricity in rural and remote areas in most parts of the world, PV pumping is one of the most promising applications of solar energy.” Running a whole farm on energy from the sun isn’t impressive enough? They’re also working some magic in landfills and contaminated soil using solar power. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, “One strong but sometimes overlooked the source of suitable sites for community solar are those covered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative.” The EPA uses solar power for cleaning Superfund sites, brownfields, vacant mines and other contaminated fields.
With continued expansion into new markets, education, increased accessibility and affordability, solar popularity will continue to grow. The sky’s the limit when solar power use is available for all.
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