On Friday, set the weekend table for an in-depth conversation about solar power. The good news is it is all (mostly) good news.
On January 16, Solar Energy Industry Association’s celebrates its 41st birthday with its second annual “Shout Out For Solar Day.” The goal is to light up Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets with potent doses of photovoltaic truth. Which are, in short, quite simple: As global warming worsens and fossil fuels falter, solar energy is our cleanest, cheapest power play. And this is why it is taking over.
With 20 gigawatts of solar capacity installed and 20 more coming online by 2016, solar can power millions of homes without choking the atmosphere or its children. The costs of solar systems have more or less been cut in half. Currently adding jobs to the U.S. economy at 20 times the national average (according to news out today from The Solar Foundation), the photovoltaic industry is clowning controversial tar sands pipelines like Keystone XL, whose ability to make a few companies rich while creating a few jobs has ended in a standoff between Congress and President Barack Obama.
The Solar Foundation’s “National Solar Jobs Census” arrives the day before SEIA’s shout-out, and if you think it won’t show improvement on the industry’s already impressive stats — over 140,000 jobs created, $15 billion annually for the U.S. economy — then I’ve got a seaside resort in Tuvalu to sell you.
“In a short period of time, solar has become a true American success story, benefitting both the U.S. economy and our environment, and we need to be shouting that news from every rooftop,” SEIA president Rhone Resch said in the shout-out’s press release. “Yet despite all of the progress we’ve made, solar faces an uncertain future in Washington and in some state capitals. It’s more important than ever for the voices of our supporters to be heard.”
Ergo, a pervasive social media awareness campaign anchored by SEIA’s interactive explainer “America Supports Solar.” In reality, the shout-out is a campaign that should happen every day, but of course, every day isn’t your birthday. So here’s hoping that, as the SEIA blows out its hard-earned 41 candles, thousands if not millions of Americans who once avoided solar, for whatever reason, change their minds — and our lives.