How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

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How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

May 17, 2021

If you’re wondering how to stay cool as climate change makes the planet warmer, we have some suggestions

How to Stay Cool on a Warming Planet

 

If you’re wondering how to stay cool as climate change makes the planet warmer, we have some suggestions. The frequency of heat waves has tripled since the 1960s. The energy used for air conditioning is projected to grow faster than any other end use in homes and offices to address the extreme heat of global warming. Susan Clark, a heat expert and director of the Sustainability Initiative at the University of Buffalo, says, “The increased intensity and frequency of temperature and heat waves are part of the projections for the future.”

 

What’s a person to do when you’d like to stay cool without doing environmental harm?  As it turns out, we can do a lot, as the tips below suggest. While you’re considering what works best for you — whether it’s signing up for a shared community solar program or studying up on window ventilation techniques — it’s good to know the challenging work of developing clean air conditioning technology is underway in some places.

 

Whether or not you have air conditioning there are a variety of ways to stay cool at home. For those interested in extra measures, there are ways to reduce the environmental and electric cost of air conditioning too.

 

Cool House Tips for Homeowners 

 

●      Some climbing vines can dramatically reduce the maximum temperatures of a house by shading walls from the sun, reducing the daily temperature fluctuation by as much as 50%. Choose carefully because some vines erode your outer wall (e.g. the mortar between bricks).

●      Awnings and  shutters can be sophisticated and flexible; you have the choice whether to let the sun in or not while allowing ventilation.

●      It’s easy and enjoyable to grill hot meals outside – which is a good thing. Outdoor cooking keeps the stove and oven from heating up your house while the A/C is trying to cool it.

●      Attic fans and whole house fans can help reduce cooling loads. Ceiling fans operate at a fraction of the cost of air conditioning. But they only keep you cool rather than cool the room.

●      Natural ventilation can capture and create a breeze throughout the house. Here’s a smart technique if you have double hung windows: open the bottom section of the upwind side of the house and the upper section of the downwind side, creating natural currents moving air through your house.

●      If you can, take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures. That’s the best time to open as many windows as you can as soon as the temperature starts dropping.

●      But when the temperature outside starts to rise, close your windows, and lower your blinds. Close curtains too if you have them. Your home might become dark inside, but it should stay cooler, especially if it’s well insulated. Blocking the sun’s rays means your home is absorbing less heat.

 

Make it easier for your A/C to do its job.

 

The harder your air conditioner works to cool things, the greater the environmental and electric use impact.

 

●      Any room will cool down by turning off and unplugging electronics like the television, computers, and game consoles, as well as turning off lamps and ceiling lights. When electronics are plugged in, they release heat that warms up a room.

●      Incandescent lights also give off a lot of heat. What’s more, they use more energy. LEDs solve both those problems.

●       A programmable thermostat can shave up to 15% off your cooling bill. Preset controls that turn off the A/C or adjust the temperature so you don’t have to remember to do it takes our forgetfulness out of the equation.

●      It’s also beneficial to set the A/C at a higher temperature at night when you’re sleeping.

●      Did you know that older window A/C units use a lot more energy than newer models? That leads to higher electric bills. If you’re upgrading or adding A/C, check out these energy efficiency rebates for cooling in IL, NY, MA, ME, and other states.

●      Set reminders to change your A/C filters – those dirty filters cause the A/C to work overtime, costing you money.

 

Support clean local solar power.

 

●      If your air conditioning and fans are on for the season, with the benefits of  subscribing to a shared Community Solar farm, you join the growing number of people who want their electricity to come from clean solar energy. Supporting community solar spurs the growth of solar gardens that your utility draws clean energy from into your grid. You’ll feel great about displacing those fossil fuels at the source!

 

Subscribing to solar share programs is a long-lasting solution without upfront

 

investments in time and money. Ampion offers many opportunities to participate in shared solar programs.

 

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How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

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How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

May 10, 2021

Community Solar is considered a particularly important strategy for allowing low-income households to participate in the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy

How Community Solar Can Help Social & Environmental Justice

Every day it seems, we are learning more about the power imbalances in communities that experience racial, economic, and environmental inequities. The idea of climate justice asks us to consider how to create more opportunities for all communities to take part in the clean energy revolution. This is especially important when you consider that some communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution because of living closer to refineries, rail yards, ports, transit corridors, dirty industries, and other sites that produce pollution from the use of fossil fuels. It’s difficult for anyone to know how to respond to the impact of climate change and what, if anything, they can do to support clean energy. Under-resourced communities especially need easier access to participate in renewable energy, but not everyone can go solar. Community Solar is considered a particularly important strategy for allowing low-income households to participate in the financial and environmental benefits of renewable energy.

Today, many households and businesses lack access to solar energy because they rent, live in multi-tenant buildings, have roofs that can’t host solar panels or face financial obstacles. Fortunately, if you want access to clean energy, it’s completely unnecessary to invest thousands of dollars to install rooftop solar. Why? Because community shared solar is easy to access, no matter who you are. Community Solar farms benefits all neighborhoods because it creates value and equity in the way it shares the benefits of solar electricity. 

Community Solar dramatically expands access to solar energy 

  • About three-quarters of households are effectively excluded from rooftop solar because they’re renters (one-third of households), because they live in multi-family dwellings and don’t own their roofs, because their roofs are shaded or face the wrong way, or because they don’t have the savings or credit rating for an initial investment of thousands of dollars.
  • Community Solar gardens help bridge the gap between those who can and those who can’t invest in rooftop solar panels.

The more Community Solar is allowed, the more people who can benefit from it. 

  • Everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment.
  • Increasingly, shared solar programs are helping low or moderate income households save money without any upfront investments.

Community Solar reduces all the emissions from fossil fuels.

  • Solar share programs get at the heart of the problem of carbon dioxide emissions. This is because solar electricity reduces CO2 emissions by displacing fossil fuel electricity and reduces our carbon footprint. 
  • Displacing fossil fuels with solar electricity also reduces air pollutants such as the SOx, NOx and particulate matter that cause asthma, cancer, and heart disease.

Climate change and pollution threatens all of us, but especially people in social and environmental justice communities.

  • Climate change disproportionately affects those who experience socioeconomic inequalities.
  • Providing access to solar electricity that reduces CO2 emissions supports climate justice. Climate change produces heat waves that are especially dangerous to people without air conditioning. The flooding it causes are most threatening to homes in low-lying areas and floodplains. 

The rapid development of Community Solar helps communities that have the most to gain from a cleaner, healthier environment. It’s time to expand the conversation around climate justice to ensure that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background are guaranteed protection from the worst effects of climate change by supporting local community solar farms. You vote with your dollars when choosing solar electricity. 

Ampion is an advocate of social and environmental justice and works with the hope that someday, everyone will have easy access to the local clean energy that Community Solar offers.

 

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The Importance of Public Benefit Corporations, Stakeholder Capitalism, & Corporate Responsibility

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The Importance of Public Benefit Corporations, Stakeholder Capitalism, & Corporate Responsibility

May 5, 2021

Ampion’s CEO Nate Owen says, “Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn.”

Doing Well By Doing Good

When we reflect on the past year of a pandemic, social unrest, and climate change, we are reminded how society’s values are changing. During a year when we lived with more restraint than normal, support for the environment and social equality continued without wavering. What’s more, our expectations for businesses to do good expanded as we learned more about how traditional corporate governance does not cover all the responsibilities that businesses have. The nation is facing a reappraisal of the role and purpose of business in our lives. American society protects its common values through laws and governance. But the governance of for-profit corporations normally require little more than a responsibility to shareholder profits. Wouldn’t it be nice if American businesses reflected values that go beyond profits to encompass the values we see so much public advocacy for today? 

Public Benefit Corporations

It’s true that many companies voluntarily step up to the call for more inclusive and participatory governance, protection of the environment, and contributions to the well-being of stakeholders in the communities they serve, etc., but for us consumers it can be hard to tell whether their proclamations are a true corporate culture shift or if it’s mostly greenwashing. Then there are companies who take their role in society seriously. These companies take legal steps to become benefit corporations. For-profit benefit corporations have been around since 2010. The incorporation documents of benefit corporations require them to act both in the interest of shareholders and to consider their mission such as the environment and social justice. 

This is important because these are some of the first recognitions of the environment, the community, and employees as stakeholders in a business. Today, at least 37 states have public benefit corporation statutes. There is no federal law for shifting the culture of business yet, but states often take the lead in a culture shift. According to the American Bar Association more than 3,600 public benefit corporations have been formed. Major brand names like Kickstarter, Patagonia, Etsy, Unilever, Danone North America, King Arthur’s Flour, and Campbell Soup are all public benefit corporations. Ampion became a benefit corporation in 2020 to support a purpose-driven economy that considers the impact on all stakeholders — communities, workers, customers, the environment, as well as shareholders. Ampion’s CEO Nate Owen says, “Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn.” Ampion’s commitment to do well by doing good is official and legally binding. In a society where socially responsible companies create a sustainable economy that works better for all, the values of all stakeholders are represented. This is called stakeholder capitalism. 

Stakeholder Capitalism Trends

Trends show that stakeholder capitalism is firmly in place today. 

  • Almost 25 years of data demonstrate a consistent increase in consumers’ willingness to purchase products with a social benefit. 
  • The most consistent example over the years is the steady rise in the number of consumers who expect companies to do more than make a profit. Today, that number is 9 out of 10
  • This year, the number of the world’s largest companies committing to net-zero emissions targets – meaning they will eliminate as much of the greenhouse gases as they produce – tripled to 1,500 from the start of the year. 
  • These 1,500 companies represent $11.4 trillion in revenue, with over $2 trillion of that revenue coming from companies that depend on discretionary consumer spending. 

Ampion & Corporate Social Responsibility

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer of the Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm, said “Corporate responsibility is no longer optional—it is critical for any business.” The fact is, that businesses who use purpose to create deeper connections with consumers, do more for the communities with which they work, and attract and retain talent are the companies that achieve both greater results and greater impact, according to Deloitte Insights research. If current trends continue, benefit corporations may well become so numerous that they will have significant power to help solve social and environmental problems. 

 

Ampion’s purpose is to help thousands of people just like you access clean, renewable energy by connecting you with a local Community Solar farm. Check out locally supplied solar electricity in your area today.

 

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Sustainable Choices for Everyone on Earth Day 2021

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Sustainable Choices for Everyone on Earth Day 2021

April 21, 2021

This Earth Day & beyond, remember that your purchasing choices can impact landfills, the waterways, the soil, and the air. Let the 5 Rs detailed here lead the way.
April is a month when the earth springs to life in a time of renewal. We can feel gratitude for the earth’s abundance and thankful that Earth Day — on April 22nd this year—helped to mainstream environmentalism and to promote the shift to a circular economy that keeps stuff out of landfills and extracts less from the earth for our ever growing population. As consumers, our choices and behaviors very much dictate our carbon footprint. Greta Thunberg says, “Living more sustainably is all about sending a signal that in a crisis you change your behavior.” Studies show that you change your behavior when the people around you change their behavior. One thing is for sure. Nothing great ever happens in isolation and there is no shortage of easy-to-adopt behaviors or things to learn when you can crowdsource your questions. Many of us will join the yearly clean-ups at local parks and beaches. The popularity of picking up litter while jogging (plogging) or walking (plalking) are displays of good-citizen environmentalism, just like being choosey in the brands you buy. It helps to remember that your purchasing choices can impact landfills, the waterways, the soil, and the air. Let the 5 Rs lead the way.

The Five Rs

Refuse

Reduce

Reuse

Recycle

Rot

Refuse what you don’t need and things that can’t be recycled
  • Say no thanks when offered a bag for your items at a store. Bring your own bag instead.
  • These days, everyone is ordering their meals as take-out or delivery at home. Tell the restaurant to skip items you have on hand, like plastic flatware, straws, and napkins wrapped in plastic.
  • Have you thought about replacing your paper towels and napkins with cloth? Yes, you’ll need a lot of them, and they must be washed and folded, but you’ll be using far fewer resources. And when time is right, recycling these textiles is important for the circular economy.
  • Roasting pans are so hard to clean and that’s why so many of us use tin foil. But most recycling centers will not accept tin foil because it’s difficult to clean and recycle. A reusable silicone mat or parchment paper can be just as easy with lower impact.
  • If you’re like most people, the majority of your trash is packaging material. Shopping at the local farmers’ markets, farm stands, and food coops is a delightfully easy way to avoid some of the most common types of packaging. Supporting local agriculture is a slam dunk in reducing your carbon footprint since transportation is greatly reduced.
Reduce your carbon footprint
  • If your stove, home heating, and autos run on fossil fuels, when it’s time to replace them look for an energy efficient electric replacement. This has a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Check to see if your utility offers financial incentives (NYILMAME) for a helping hand on your next replacement purchase.
  • Cozy up to the idea that energy efficiency can make you more comfortable when you weatherize your apartment, home, or building. Insulating and air sealing, just like LED lighting, is the low hanging fruit of energy efficiency when it comes to savings. Some utilities (NYILMAME) offer this service at no or low cost.
  • Can’t put solar on your roof? Community Solar farms offer a ray of hope because they allow the masses to take part in the great transition to renewables. Think of it this way: supporting clean, local energy is just like supporting local agriculture – it reduces your carbon footprint in a big way.
Reuse and recycle everything
  • Everyone finds themselves putting reusable things in the trash – a pair of sandals or a toy. Donating anything reusable – including clothing or textiles – gives them a second life in the booming reseller and recycling market, including users of freecycle.org
  • By now we know we can find most things secondhand, and this helps the progress toward a circular economy. Sometimes, secondhand items look brand new.
Rot
  • Did you know that 25%-40% of our garbage is food waste? Or that putting food waste in your garbage disposal can contribute to unhealthy waterways? Try composting your food leftovers in a backyard composter to benefit your soil or join composters who use a curbside service. These days lots of communities have convenient drop-off locations for food waste, such as the local farmer’s market or yard waste facility.
  • Americans throw away an estimated 1 billion plastic toothbrushes per year. Try using a bamboo toothbrush because it can be composted!
Everyone wants to feel better about the times we live in today. Finding a new sustainable habit to minimize your carbon footprint truly helps and sets an example for others in your circle to follow. Message your lawmakers, sign petitions and spread the word to keep reminding your legislators that a clean, healthy environment brings a better life to all.

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Minimizing the Impact of Electricity Generation

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Minimizing the Impact of Electricity Generation

March 18, 2021

If our future depends on eliminating as much fossil fuel energy as we can, solar farms are one of the best ways to minimize the impact of electricity generation

It’s exciting to see a bit of momentum for decarbonizing our electric generation to meet the challenge of climate change. The push to decarbonize is not coming just from consumers, it’s coming from everywhere — utilities, states, municipalities, corporations, Wall Street, and the federal government. All this puts a new premium on power sources that don’t pollute. It seems reasonable that renewables are likely to be the most significant and affordable way to handle an energy transition. The technology is in place. But it’s also good to remember that every source of energy has its own set of challenges and benefits. For example, are there environmental trade-offs for ramping up solar development? Will solar occupy more land area than fossil fuels? “Of all the potential options, there is nothing less impactful on the environment than putting in a solar farm,” says Neal Lewis, Director of the Sustainability Institute Director, a Long Island, New York environmental advocacy group.

Today, solar initially requires more land than fuels. But in fact, solar reduces more carbon emissions over time than a forest of comparable land area. 

We can measure what a forest conserves in carbon and compare that to the emissions reduction from a solar project. The carbon emissions we avoid by using electricity from solar farms rather than using coal or natural gas is greater than the loss of carbon sequestered by the soil, trees, and other woody biomass. And because panels sit on the surface and much of the panel materials can be recycled, land reclamation will be more manageable than land used for oil or gas wells, coal, uranium mines or conventional power plants. Natural gas enjoys one of the smaller footprints for generating electricity but extracting and burning it releases methane, CO2, NOx, and contaminates groundwater. In addition, solar’s footprint will continue to shrink with the acceleration of technological developments that improve solar efficiency.

In comparison, fossil-fuel-based electricity generation does more than emit carbon that endangers the health of the planet. 

It pollutes air and water in ways that also endangers our health. The land uses associated with fossil fuels are equally concerning. They include resource extraction (coal mining, water extraction), infrastructure (refineries, pipelines, fuel storage tanks, transmission lines) and energy conversion (power plants). In a study of renewable energy impacts in the western United States, scientists found that active oil and gas leases disturbed 4.5 percent of each ecosystem they evaluated (with a potential impact of 11%). The equivalent potential impact from utility-scale solar, for example, amounts to less than 1 percent. Taking all these things into a balanced consideration shows how solar stacks up against traditional methods for generating electricity.

So, how should we evaluate the land use of solar?

In theory, about 21,250 square miles of solar panels (with today’s technology) could generate all the electricity the nation consumes in a year. If this seems like a lot of land, let’s put it in perspective. That’s about half the land leased in the U.S. by the oil and gas industry, according to Bill Nussey, author of Freeing Energy. If solar energy alone supplied 100 percent of America’s electricity needs, solar installations would occupy only 0.6 percent of the nation’s total land area. That’s about the same amount of land for all U.S. roadways or less than 2 percent of U.S. land now in crop production.

Developing a solar farm means that vegetation will be cleared, and land will be graded, like preparing land for a housing development.

In fact, many large tracts of land for sale that are perfect for solar farms are zoned residential. When a landowner wants to develop a property or sell to a developer, something will be developed on that land regardless. If it’s not a solar energy project, trees would still be cut to make room for homes. Environmentally, solar panels are a better option than houses because residential developments add to burdens on water resources and sewage treatment.

Of course, solar energy does not pollute air or land. It uses no moving parts, operates quietly with little noise, has no harmful emissions, and requires little maintenance.

There is a small upfront cost to the environment in the production of PV panels, but solar offers clean energy throughout its lifespan. Whereas all fossil fuel production causes environmental impacts which last longer than solar energy impacts. So, if our future depends on eliminating as much fossil fuel energy as we can, solar farms are indeed one of the best ways to minimize the impact of electricity generation. Joining a community solar farm is a way to engage in the coming energy transition. The best part about it is that nearly anyone with an electric bill can join a solar farm. 

Joining an Ampion community solar project means that you are helping advance the development of local renewable energy as well as saving on your electricity bills while getting the same reliability you enjoy now.

 

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Is Solar Energy Widely Accepted by the Public?

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Is Solar Energy Widely Accepted by the Public?

February 24, 2021

Recent polls and surveys reveal the strength of public support for the expansion of solar power and clean renewable energy. In concert with the majority of Americans, businesses are embracing solar energy as well.

The groundswell of public and corporate support for solar power continues to grow. Across the U.S., regardless of affiliations, a wide majority has for years supported and continues to favor solar power. Recent polls and surveys reveal the strength of public support for the expansion of solar power and clean renewable energy. In Gallup’s latest poll 80% of the nation thinks there should be more emphasis on solar power. This same poll shows that support for fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, ranks low. In a Spring 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center 79% of American adults prioritize developing alternative energy, compared to 20% who prioritize fossil fuels.

A January 2020 study by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication shows the majority of Americans in support of clean energy policies that can reduce carbon pollution. The study demonstrated broad support among Democrats and Republicans, with 72% of registered voters supporting moving the U.S. economy “from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050.”  Two-thirds of those surveyed also support the elimination of all pollution created by oil, natural gas, and coal producers by 2050.

In this context, it’s no surprise that voters elected Joe Biden on a climate platform with a goal of reaching 100 % clean electricity by 2034. His win swept in voters from the swing states and signals a significant opportunity for the solar industry whose technology is essential to achieving the president’s goal.

Solar power represents the largest percentage of new generating capacity of any energy resource in 2020 for the second year in a row. Solar accounts for 43% of all new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. through the third quarter 2020.

In concert with the majority of Americans, businesses are embracing solar energy. Public corporations and private enterprises are making major investments in solar energy in record numbers to save money on power generation. Two thirds of all corporate solar capacity was installed since 2015.

Topping the business list is Apple with 393 MW of installed solar capacity, followed by Amazon with nearly 330 MW and Target with about 240 MW. Apple plans to reach net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2030. Microsoft plans to become “carbon negative” (removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits) by 2030. Google plans to run the entire business on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030. In September 2020, Google announced that it had used offsets to eliminate its operational carbon footprint for the entire history of the company.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and Unilever, another consumer giant, plans to be net zero by 2039.  Bloomberg is on track to reach 100 percent renewable energy before 2025. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies said, “As the price of wind and solar continue falling, it’s increasingly cheaper to power our company with clean energy than with fossil fuels.” The chief of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, told other worldwide corporate leaders, “to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net-zero economy” in his 2021 annual letter.

Community solar is the fastest-growing segment within the solar industry because it expands access to solar for all, including low-to-moderate income customers. It contributes to building a stronger, distributed, and more resilient electric grid.  Taken as a whole, this support illustrates the remarkable acceptance of solar power. Through Community Solar, Ampion helps homes and businesses support local solar power and save money without having to install solar panels.

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Can the U.S. Restrict & Reduce Carbon (CO2) Emissions Without Hurting Economic Growth?

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Can the U.S. Restrict & Reduce Carbon (CO2) Emissions Without Hurting Economic Growth?

December 21, 2020

There is no doubt that a robust energy policy will help stimulate needed economic redevelopment and growth following the 2020 pandemic, and that is yet another reason to pursue innovative energy policies. Such policies will lead to new jobs, rebounding corporate health, a broader focus on environmental issues and, of course, reduced emissions.

Is it possible for the United States to reduce the current level of carbon emissions without undue hardship to the economy?

The short answer is a resounding affirmative, according to numerous public and private sector studies of low-carbon technology, climate policy and the American economy. The truth is that each one of us can play a part; being part of the solution does not necessarily require sweeping legislation, corporate readjustment, nor doing without the conveniences we have learned to love.

Making a difference can be accomplished in simpler ways: A commitment to support development and implementation of sustainable energy sources is the first step. Renewable energy is here: Solar and wind farms exist, and the effectiveness of those energy sources is undisputed. Powerful storage batteries capable of capturing such energy are a reality, and growing numbers of consumers support the shift away from fossil fuels by “buying in” to the idea of community solar farms. Solar farms make renewable energy available to large numbers of consumers, help energy suppliers better manage demand, and save money, both for utility companies and for end users. It is, in many ways, a bright new world.

A new emphasis on privately-owned solar farms, supported by networks of subscribers who trade their “shares” of energy produced for a reduction in the cost of energy consumed have spurred a new enterprise and a paradigm shift for the entire nation. This kind of cooperative effort between end users and major energy providers is a model for the future, because the benefits accrue to everyone in the supply chain. There are no losers!

Despite these facts, many still wonder, “Will restricting carbon emissions damage the economy?” There is no doubt that a robust energy policy will help stimulate needed economic redevelopment and growth following the 2020 pandemic, and that is yet another reason to pursue innovative energy policies. Such policies will lead to new jobs, rebounding corporate health, a broader focus on environmental issues and, of course, reduced emissions.

The end goal is to supply the nation’s homes and businesses with clean stable energy, to ensure that electrical supply is sufficient to meet growing demand, and to build a grid that is not affected by the fluctuations and disruption that is sometimes experienced today.

There is much work to be done, and the challenge is great. Many different perspectives are in play. But there is also a solid foundation to build on. Consider the facts:

    • According to the World Resources Institute, the costs of climate change will grow if we delay taking action today.
    • Renewable energy production and storage are becoming more viable, compared to the costs of fossil fuels.
    • U.S. clean energy investment is second only to that of China, and growing steadily.
    • Clean energy supplies jobs, provides energy efficiency, and helps deliver electricity to areas that are currently underserved, including rural America.

Wind and solar are emerging as worldwide leaders in renewable energy, and are the basis for confidence that carbon emission levels can be reduced and that climate change can be reversed.

The lasting result is a move away from reliance on carbon-emitting energy plants. Even as gas-fired plants make great strides toward cleaner power, and the number of coal-burning plants dwindles, the need for more reliable energy continues to grow. The truth is that we must plan for a future of renewable energy and build a delivery system to meet the ever-growing need.

It’s entirely possible, and we look forward to the new era of economic growth that we see ahead.

Sources

https://www.wri.org/publication/us-new-climate-economy & https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2020/10/penn-state-study-new-community-solar-projects-economic-impact/

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Community Solar: 1 of the Best Ways to Stop Global Warming & Fight Climate Change

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Community Solar: 1 of the Best Ways to Stop Global Warming & Fight Climate Change

November 16, 2020

Solar farms that allow multiple users access to clean, renewable energy through existing power companies are an option that can lower costs and extend sustainability benefits to millions of American homes and businesses.

If, like many homeowners, you’re concerned about reliable energy, costs, climate change and the future of the planet, you’re not alone. Many are wondering how to stop global warming and are seeking ways to fight climate change. And if you’ve considered adding solar panels to your own roof, you’re probably among the majority of Americans. You probably also know that it can be costly and complicated to do so.

Solar farms that allow multiple users access to clean, renewable energy through existing power companies are an option that can lower costs and extend sustainability benefits to millions of American homes and businesses. Renters can also reap the benefits, because community solar does not require individual rooftop solar panel installation. Community solar is one of the best ways to stop global warming & fight climate change, all while saving money.

Here’s how Community Solar works:

A solar farm is a private business, established to sell solar-generated power directly to energy suppliers. The power generated supplements electrical grid power supplied by traditional sources, such as coal-fired or nuclear power plants. It is estimated that within five years, more than 3.4 GW of power, enough to supply approximately 650,000 homes, will be supplied by community solar projects. Currently 40 states have at least one such project online.

Subscriptions generate credits to members in direct proportion to their share of total energy generation. Those credits are then applied to the subscriber’s local utility company’s monthly bill. This is a key element in understanding the benefits of community solar. Normally, a subscriber will also receive a monthly statement from the solar farm, showing the cost and credits applied so savings can be demonstrated.

The cost for the solar farm credits are always lower than their value. Members save, even during winter months when solar energy produced is lower. Credits are cumulative, and can be rolled over to the next month or billing period.

Here is why Community Solar is important:

Sometimes known as solar gardens, these solar farms efficiently capture and store power from the sun. They then sell that stored energy to affiliated power companies that, in turn, provide the electricity to individual homes and businesses throughout the nation. Clean, regenerative energy is channeled into the grid as needed to meet user demand.

As the number of solar farms increases and storage batteries become more efficient, the result should be a more reliable grid, minimized outages and more available energy during peak usage hours.

Reliable energy is a prime requirement for living in the modern age. Of equal concern, however, is the growing demand for energy and the effect that increased consumption has on the global environment. Renewable energy sources help to reduce air pollution and reverse the effects of global warming.

Here’s how you can benefit from Community Solar:

In any time, saving money on monthly expenses is a plus. Community Solar requires no upfront cost to join or to leave. There is nothing to install. It is easy, with online sign-up taking as little as five minutes with an electric utility bill in hand. It also allows renters as well as owners to access the advantages of clean energy and lower their overall costs. The nationwide trend toward community solar farms is changing the way energy companies operate. The trend also moves the nation toward less reliance on fossil fuels.

Is there a negative? We certainly don’t think so. Ampion Renewable Energy is fully invested in this modern way of working together to provide a better way. We are committed to supplying the kind of energy we all want in our lives! Contact us now for details about how to subscribe.

Sources

https://www.seia.org/initiatives/community-solar

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Community Solar Programs Offer Solutions for Low Income Family Households

Community Solar Stop Global Warming Ampion
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A Special Announcement

Community Solar Programs Offer Solutions for Low Income Family Households

November 16, 2020

There is a solution: that is, a move away from fossil-fuel-based energy production toward clean energy like wind and solar energy. Community Solar is a relatively new concept in affordable, renewable, local solar energy that could especially benefit the above-mentioned communities.

It’s a fact. Coal-fired, nuclear, and fossil fuel power plants affect minority and low-income populations disproportionately with regard to the rate of illness and death. In a bold article by Nikayla Jefferson and Leah C. Stokes for the Boston Globe, “Our racist fossil fuel energy system,” published July 17, 2020, it was cited that 68 percent of Black Americans lived within 30 miles of a coal-fired plant…black children have asthma rates that are twice as high as white children.” Science has proven that pollution and climate effects hit minority and low-income communities the hardest.

Indirect effects of dirty energy increase the problem, effects like a decrease in property values and subsequent decrease in school funding and other governmental services—resulting in less educational opportunities for this population.

There is a solution: that is, a move away from fossil-fuel-based energy production toward clean energy like wind and solar energy. Community Solar is a relatively new concept in affordable, renewable, local solar energy that could especially benefit the above-mentioned communities. Community solar programs offer solutions to low income family households to help address these issues.

What Is Community Solar?

A solar farm provides people with an easy way to benefit from solar energy without putting panels on their roofs. A solar farm is a power plant whose electricity is generated by capturing energy from the sun. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.

Air Pollution Costs More Than Switching to Clean Energy.

There is evidence that switching to clean energy costs less than pollution costs. According to Science Friday, August 14, 2020, “Climate activists have struggled to convince lawmakers to meaningfully reduce the country’s carbon footprint. Now, new research ties air pollution’s monetary cost to arguments for change.”

At a recent hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Drew Shindell, Nicholas professor of earth science at Duke University stated that air pollution’s effects are roughly twice as bad as previously thought, “…potentially costing the United States as much as $700 billion per year in avoidable death, illness, and lost productivity—more than the estimated price tag for transitioning to clean energy.”

Utility and Conventional Energy Lobbying

So why not make the switch to clean energy? Easy answer: The large utility, fossil fuel and nuclear companies have a strong lobby against it, and a complete disregard for the plight of these minority and low-income populations. According to HuffPost, “fossil fuel industries outspend clean energy advocates on climate lobbying by 10 to 1. That’s one reason why climate bills fail even though most Americans think global warming is happening.”

A study published in the journal Climate Change, suggests that, at a time when the majority understand global warming and support government action to deal with it, industry lobbying still has far greater influence in Washington.

“Public opinion is pretty much a minor factor in deciding what Congress is going to do,” said Robert Brulle, the study’s author and a sociologist at Drexel University. Money spent on lobbying, he said, is likely a much bigger determinant of whether federal legislation gets off the ground.

During the period examined by the study (2000-2016), expenditures on federal lobbying aimed at climate issues topped $2 billion, representing on average 3.9 percent of annual federal lobbying dollars. That spending fluctuated by year. In 2009, it surged to more than 9 percent of the total as Congress debated the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would have established a cap-and-trade market to limit greenhouse gas emissions and allow companies to buy and sell permits to pollute. The bill failed in the Senate.

You Can Contribute Toward Clean Energy for All.

Despite this heavy lobby, there are still things that can be done in the effort to provide clean energy for all, including low income households. See some available resources below.

1. NAACP Model Energy Policies

These model policies provide guidelines for state and local energy policies. Based on industry analysis, these standards are rigorous, yet attainable. If adopted nationwide, these policies will help to prevent climate change, as well as protect the well-being of communities.

Just Energy Policies: Model Energy Policies Guide.

2. NAACP Just Energy Policies Compendium

The Just Energy Policies compendium outlines how states and NAACP branches can make sure their energy policies protect communities from harmful energy production processes while providing equitable access to economic opportunities like green jobs in energy efficiency and clean energy.

NAACP: Just Energy Policies & Practices

3. EPA Clean Energy Programs, Initiatives, and Resources

EPA’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs are designed to help energy consumers in all sectors, state policy makers, and energy providers by providing objective information, creating networks between the public and private sector and providing technical assistance. EPA also offers recognition to leading organizations that adopt energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and practices. This includes:

  • Renewable energy programs
  • Energy efficiency programs
  • State, local, and tribal climate and energy programs
  • Corporate recognition programs
  • Waste programs
  • Transportation programs

4. Contact Ampion

Whether you are an individual or company who wants to save money on your utility bills while contributing toward clean energy for all OR a solar energy developer who wants to provide lower cost clean solar energy, we’d be happy to speak with you. Visit ampion.net or call (800) 277-3641.

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Have comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you. 

Three Things that Community Solar is NOT

Homes and offices

A Special Announcement

Three Things that Community Solar is NOT

September 10, 2020

Because Community Solar is a new concept in providing communities with local, money-saving renewable, clean energy, many are unclear about what it is and is not. Since it is our mission to make clean energy available to all, here are explanations for three common misconceptions.

1) Community Solar Is Not Competitive Supply.

A competitive supplier is a company licensed by the Department of Public Utilities to sell electricity supply. What is the difference between a competitive supplier and an electric utility? An electric utility, such as Eversource or National Grid, delivers electricity, while a competitive supplier is a choice for electricity supply. Community solar is neither a competitive supplier nor an electric utility.

Competitive suppliers MAY offer products with a renewable energy level that exceeds the state’s minimum requirement established in the renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Attributes that distinguish renewable energy products are the percentage of the product that is renewable and the type of the renewable resources.

Community solar consists of a solar farm, that is a power plant whose electricity is generated by capturing (clean and renewable) energy from the sun. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced.

Ampion acts as a connector for the solar farms, enrolling new subscribers and providing customer service as well as a software platform that manages everything. 

2) Community Solar Is NOT Community Choice Aggregation.

Community choice aggregation (CCA), also known as municipal aggregation, are programs that allow local governments to arrange electricity supply for their residents, businesses, and municipal accounts from a competitive  supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want more local control over their electricity sources, more green power than is offered by the default utility, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating demand, communities may gain leverage to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources. (https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/community-choice-aggregation)

Unlike community choice aggregation, which is a local municipal government program, almost anyone in participating states with an active utility account is eligible for community solar. There’s no special equipment to buy or install. Homeowners, renters, places of worship, and businesses can all support clean energy and save money.

3) Community Solar Is NOT On-Site Solar.

Community solar does not mean having solar panels (rooftop or ground mounted) installed on your residential or business property. Community solar requires no upfront costs and nothing to install, and it’s an easy way to benefit from solar energy. A solar farm provides people with affordable, renewable clean energy without buying or renting expensive panels to be installed on their roofs.

Here’s What Community Solar IS.

Community solar is one of the best ways to contribute to a healthier environment while saving money at the same time. As mentioned above, community solar uses a solar farm power plant whose electricity is generated by capturing energy from the sun. The electricity is then distributed via the utility grid. People can subscribe to a solar farm and receive a credit on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar provides savings on electricity with no up-front costs and nothing to install.

Solar energy is clean energy that does not pollute the environment and community solar is available to nearly everybody—homeowners, renters, organizations and businesses. It’s just about the easiest way to benefit from solar energy.

Whether you are an individual who wants to save money on your utility bill while contributing toward clean energy for all or a solar energy developer who wants to provide lower cost clean solar energy, we’d be happy to speak with you. Visit www.ampion.net or call 800-277-3641.

About Ampion

Ampion is a Public Benefits Corporation whose mission is to make it easy for everyone to access clean, renewable energy. Ampion is working to see real progress in the fight against climate change. We’re committed to operating in a way that produces sustainable value to all of our stakeholders: our neighbors in the communities we serve, our employees, our investors, and our business partners. Our success is defined by how well we serve the greater good, not just the profits we earn. For more information, visit www.ampion.net or call 800-277-3641.

Thanks for reading our post.

Have comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you.