The Outrageous War on Solar
The Outrageous War on Solar
CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living
84% of U.S. voters are in favor of “taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy”, but major fossil fuel interests don’t care as long as their profits are at stake.
A recent report by the Environment America exposed 12 special interest groups that are waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns in states across the country to quell the exponential growth that the solar industry has recently been experiencing.
These fossil fuel interests, utilities, and industry front groups are stacking the deck, substantially undermining key policies that have enabled the solar industry’s growth over the past decade—often to the detriment of the general (and supportive) public.
According to Environment America’s report, “A national network of utility interest groups and fossil fuel industry-funded think tanks is providing funding, model legislation and political cover for anti-solar campaigns across the country.”
The report highlights specific organizations that have worked hard to hinder the proliferation of solar in the U.S., including:
- The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group that represents U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, launched the current wave of anti-solar advocacy with a 2012 conference warning utilities of the challenges solar energy posed to their traditional profit centers. Since then, EEI has worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on model legislation to repeal state renewable electricity standards and ran an anti-solar public relations campaign in Arizona.
- The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides utility and fossil fuel interests with access to state legislatures, and its anti-net metering policy resolution has inspired legislation in states like Washington and Utah.
- The Koch brothers have provided funding to the national fight against solar by funneling tens of millions of dollars through a network of opaque nonprofits. One Koch front group, 60 Plus, ran a TV and internet anti-net metering campaign in Arizona. The Koch-funded campaign organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) carries out anti-solar energy organizing efforts. In Florida and Georgia, AFP has run misinformation campaigns against net metering and other solar policies.
- The Heartland Institute, a think tank with backing from the fossil fuel industry, helped draft the language for ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act,” and has spread misleading information about the impacts of solar energy.
- The Consumer Energy Alliance is a Houston-based front group for the fossil fuel industry, representing fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell Oil. In Wisconsin in 2013, CEA submitted 2,500 dubious signatures in support of a utility rate case to increase costs for solar customers.