By Brian Foley, Sierra Club
If the U.S. followed Germany’s lead, locally-generated solar energy could take care of most of the Mountain West region today and we “could have a 100 percent solar nation by 2026, while enriching thousands of local communities with new development and jobs,” according to John Farrell, an energy expert with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Germany is getting it right. With a goal of a jaw-dropping 66 GW of solar energy by 2030, the country is avoiding turning vast, natural landscapes into solar power plants, and instead focusing on a decentralized model so that citizens can become their own independent energy producers. (Hey Texas — no more power outages during record-breaking heatwaves!) This is buoyed by the country’s market-friendly feed-in tariff that pays people to generate electricity and feed it back into the grid.
Sadly, the U.S. has no equivalent policy at the federal level despite the incredible potential. Aside from all the roofs out there, the country has millions of acres of unused roadside space that could also house panels. In California, a quarter of this space could provide for 27 percent of the state’s energy needs. Imagine!
Take a closer look at John Farrell’s findings by clicking here. In May, we interviewed him about “grassroots” solar and virtual net metering, which allows you to go solar without literally placing panels on your roof. Read it here. Andget more details of the Sierra Club’s pilot project in California to get solar on every roof.
Editor’s Note: This column comes to us courtesy of a cross post from the Sierra Club. Author credit for the post goes to Brian Foley.