Public Support for Solar Continues

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Public Support for Solar Continues

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

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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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Three Things that Community Solar is NOT

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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.

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How Does Switching to Solar Power Impact Carbon Emissions?

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How Does Switching to Solar Power Impact Carbon Emissions?

July 24, 2020

The shift to renewable energy is so important. As more people participate in the growing trend towards clean energy, the long-term health and environmental benefits become bigger and stronger. This is true for several reasons, and the most compelling of them all is the immediate need to curb humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. Let's take a brief look at the impact of increased solar power production on carbon emissions.

Solar Energy’s Biggest Boon Is the Power to Keep Greenhouse Gases Out of Our Atmosphere.

Climate disruption and the overall heating of Earth are bringing seriously harmful effects into our communities. These include extreme heat and unusual weather events, droughts, rising sea levels and flooding, changes in planting zones, lost habitats, and extinctions. We can do something about it. “The magnitude of each impact depends on our collective choices,” says the Union of Concerned Scientists.

What choices should we examine? For one, our electricity sources matter. Greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels and when the gases rise, they accumulate, blanket the Earth, and trap heat. Electricity is a major emitter of carbon dioxide and methane, as explained by the Energy Information Agency (EIA), in a breakdown that shows the especially harmful emissions profile of burning coal for electric power.

Solar Energy Doesn’t Just Reduce Greenhouse Emissions. It Slashes Them.

Obtaining electricity from solar power can sharply cut the volume of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases we’re moving into the atmosphere. Consider the volume of carbon dioxide equivalent generated by (a.) coal, versus the emissions volume of (b.) solar-powered energy in one kilowatt hour.

  • Burning coal creates between 1.4 and 3.6 lbs of CO2 per kilowatt hour.
  • Solar electricity, in contrast, emits a much lower .07 to 0.2 lbs. of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour through its entire life cycle.

Yes, even when including the life cycle of sun-powered energy technology — from manufacturing to deployment to decommissioning — solar systems produce decidedly lower levels of greenhouse gases than fossil fuel burning does. In short, adopting solar energy means reducing demand for coal and gas, shrinking our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and leaving much smaller individual and community carbon footprints on our environment.

Keeping Solar Power on the Growth Track Protects Our World and Future.

At Ampion, we’re keen proponents of bolstering the U.S. supply of clean, renewable energy and making the changes that will end our reliance on fossil fuels. We’re enabling communities to join a trendthat’s cutting U.S. greenhouse emissions.

We connect people with regional solar energy suppliers. We’re committed to caring about our environment and nurturing local economies. We’re making community solar available to people whether they own or rent their homes, without having to pay upfront costs or install anything on their properties.

And we’d love for you to join us in showing the way to a carbon-free future. Contact us to learn more about partnering with Ampion and making your home part of the solution.

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Can COVID-19 Make Us More Health-Conscious and Environmentally Aware (for Good)?

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Can COVID-19 Make Us More Health-Conscious and Environmentally Aware (for Good)?

June 1, 2020

For all the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on human lives, some have noted that bringing traffic to a virtual standstill has at least one benefit from a dire tragedy. Fewer cars mean cleaner air and cleaner air is healthful. This might save lives in the midst of a pandemic that impacts people’s lungs. In this way, the pandemic underscores the importance of keeping pollution reduction goals on track. At Ampion, we believe cleaner air is a vital component of public health and safety. But are the effects of the virus really doing anything for our environment? The answer is: Yes, no, and it all depends. Let’s take a look.

Breath of Fresh Air: It’s Safer to Breathe Now.

While it’s nearly impossible to praise anything related to this virus and ensuing tragedy, we can praise many of our governors’ responses to it. And we can note that urban air quality improved internationally when people avoided transportation for a while. This is the conclusion drawn from new air quality research examining high-smog cities worldwide, Los Angeles and New York City included. Check out L.A. with crystal clear skies! Meanwhile, NASA found 30% less nitrogen dioxide emitted over the Northeastern U.S. region in March 2020.

Our lives have changed to adapt to the dangers we’ve faced in 2020. We’re showing we can change our lives to deal with hazards and increase our safety. That said, we don’t want to have a pandemic — with its illness, job losses, and social disconnections — to attain breathable air. The way to a sustainable environment for all isn’t to react to emergencies. The better way is to help those who need us, to learn what we must from upheaval, and strive for stronger policies and practices that keep our environment clean while still keeping people working and playing.

An Effect That’s Less Discussed: People Are Fleeing the Cities.

With lockdown orders being lifted, people are returning to all the things they were doing before that contributed to air pollution. And greenhouse emissions are likely to rebound with a vengeance if we haven’t acted to change fuel sources. The price of fuel has dropped during this health emergency, which will create even more emissions.

But there’s more. People who can afford to leave apartments, condos and townhouses in the big cities for larger homes in out-of-the-way places are doing so. They are leaving denser city life because of COVID-19, and many of them do not expect to return to urban living after the restrictions ease. Once at home in the suburbs, they’ll be driving more, and burning more fossil fuels to run their homes. In truth, one way they can offset the emissions impact of the exodus to suburbia is to embrace community solar!

The Way Ahead: Community Solar – Change That Lasts

We’re here to facilitate the lasting transformation of our energy grid. At Ampion, our job is to help everyone know there’s a new way to see electricity — not just in emergencies, but for good. Community solar projects support a healthier, stronger community by lowering carbon emissions, saving people money and supporting local economic development.

Why should it be just wishful thinking to want lower pollution levels and beautiful urban vistas to last beyond the public health crisis? We’re not just wishing. We’re working to make healthful energy use the norm. And we constantly promote an economic stimulus effect for clean energy suppliers who help people and their economies thrive. Contact us to join the shift to solar, and let’s help make cleaner skies and clearer air prevail all while supporting local economies and communities.

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Can Renewable Energy Help the Pandemic Recovery Efforts?

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Can Renewable Energy Help the Pandemic Recovery Efforts?

May 8, 2020

We envision a future in which everyone participates in the clean energy movement, and local economies thrive on it. Today, we’re looking at how renewable energy fits into communities’ successful recovery from the COVID-19 shutdowns. Millions of people have had to stay at home in our collective effort to slow the spread of the virus, and many have filed for COVID-19 unemployment benefits. New York is the hardest hit of all in the pandemic, yet the push by the state to accelerate renewable energy projects will boost New Yorkers’ opportunities to regain life-sustaining income.

New York’s Supercharges Its Renewable Energy Sector

New York is striving to source 70% of its electricity from renewables, following the guidance and timelines in the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This is why New York passed a budget amendment to enact its Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act.

Under new, pioneering legislation:

    • New York’s Public Service Commission can provide discounts on utility bills to residents of communities with clean energy projects.
    • The state’s newly created Office of Renewable Energy Permitting, situated in the Department of Economic Development, will support reclamation of unused industrial sites, job creation, and the development of a well-functioning energy grid.
    • Solar projects will further expand the Empire State’s outstanding growth over the past decade in solar power.

New York has established a model for the region and the country, with one of the strongest clean energy initiatives of any state, intended to arrive at carbon-neutrality and zero-carbon electricity for all industries and residents by 2040—a feat that would solidify New York as one of the the country’s leading climate champions.

Without doubt, green energy jobs are critical to support, having already risen at more than double the state’s overall rate, and constituting some 150,000 jobs for New Yorkers. Indeed, solar jobs across the country have increased five times the rate of overall job growth over the past five years.

How Community Solar Increases the Resilience in Regional Economies

The creation of a solar project bolsters the use of local workers and services, and brings customers to the surrounding community’s businesses. The economic benefits continue as the energy becomes available and affects electricity costs. And availability can be very quick: the solar sector’s speed in scaling up and turning on the power is a key factor in its tremendous growth.

Then there is the connection between health and resilience. A Harvard study detected a higher death rate from COVID-19 in communities with more air pollution, scientifically connecting fuel exhaust and human resilience. The researchers studied people long exposed to pollution generated from the burning of fuels, including at power plants. Their findings further affirm the proven links between air pollution and higher risks of hospitalizations and deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. This highlights yet another way community solar projects support stronger communities, by bringing immediate reductions in carbon emissions. The solar energy sector is also attuned to strong health-related standards including best practices for flattening the curve of viral spread.

Keeping Solar Power on the Growth Track Makes Us Stronger

A record year was projected for the solar energy sector. Then came COVID-19. Now, given the commitment of state policymakers like New York’s, solar power will stay on track, to help people regain their economic and physical health and safety. At Ampion, we’re here to help make it happen. We engage and support the regional clean energy suppliers who help people and regional economies thrive.

The challenge we face today only strengthens our resolve to connect people with community energy. Contact us with any questions or sign-up for community solar to join this vital trend.

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Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

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Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

March 2, 2020

Climate change poses a threat to our environment that increases every day. Traditional electricity companies generate power through fossil fuel combustion, which is a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions. The fossil fuels that power companies rely on are coal, natural gas, and oil.

The extent to which electricity produces harmful carbon emissions relates to the amount of power that households use. Power companies look at customer demand in determining electricity generation needs. Changing weather conditions throughout the year have a direct impact on household electricity consumption, and the extent to which that usage contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Adverse Impact of Electric Power Plants on Our Environment

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2018, 65% of the nation’s total electricity production came from fossil fuel sources. The data for 2019 hasn’t yet been released. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity use aren’t limited to the pollutants that power plants emit from energy generation. The methods that companies use to get fossil fuels (such as mining for coal, drilling for oil, and underground gas pipelines) harm the environment.

The way by which these fossil fuel providers get supplies to energy companies (trucks, trains, barges) rely on traditional fuel sources. And power plants that use traditional (non-renewable) techniques to generate electricity use fossil fuels to produce it. The continuing cycle of getting fossil fuels from natural resources, transporting them to power plants, and electricity generation represent a significant source of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

What Are the Benefits of Solar Power on Climate Change?

· Solar power is clean energy because solar panels harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.

· Solar power doesn’t emit toxic chemicals the way fossil fuels do when they combust to generate electricity.

· Solar power (from solar panels in community solar projects) doesn’t contaminate water, pollute the air, or emit greenhouse gases. · Solar power can supply surplus power to the grid, assisting traditional power plants, and lessening their need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity.

· With solar power, you can instantly reduce your household’s carbon footprint.

· Solar power reduces your reliance on grid electricity, which is primarily generated from fossil fuels.

· Community Solar projects make it possible for any residential utility customer to get a portion of their power from renewable sources without having to worry about the affordability of solar panels, installing them, or maintaining them.


Signing up to join a community solar project is easy to do. It’s a small change you can make to have a more significant impact on reducing your household and family’s carbon footprint. Community solar projects give residential utility customers access to solar power without the financial or maintenance burden associated with rooftop solar panel systems.

When you can save money on your monthly and yearly energy bills while lowering your household carbon footprint in a quest to combat climate change, you have every reason to participate in a community solar project. Contact Ampion to learn more about our projects and their environmental benefits and to sign up to join a community solar project.

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How does distributed solar energy generation work?

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How does distributed solar energy generation work?

February 18, 2020

Our energy network is dominated by very large power plants that generate tremendous amount of electricity, typically powered by fossil fuels or occasionally nuclear. These large plants are a necessary component of the grid as it exists today but have a number of draw-backs. They are often located far from the end-consumer, relying complex and expensive transmission networks which also have meaningful environmental impacts.

A growing alternative to the utility-scale power plant is distributed energy generation. Solar power is one high-profile example. Here’s how it works, and its role in the future of energy. 

What Is Distributed Generation? 

Distributed generation refers to smaller-scale energy generation, typically located closer to where the energy it generates is actually consumed.  It bypasses high voltage transmission networks and connects energy supply directly into the local grid.  

How Does Distributed Generation Help the Grid? 

Distributed generation has a number of benefits.  One is that it reduces the amount of energy lost as it travels long distances, often hundreds of miles, from generation to the end consumer.  These efficiency benefits reduce our collective need for additional energy sources. 

A second important benefit is that distributed generation promotes grid resiliency. In plain terms, major blackouts become less likely because there are more sources of power and fewer single points of failure. Because DG systems are simpler and closer, there is just less to go wrong overall.  

Finally, DG often brings environmental benefits as well.  Often clean, renewable sources of energy are chosen for local generation in part because local communities would not accept the local pollution that fossil fuel energy plants would generate.  

What Are Some Examples of Distributed Generation? 

Common examples include: 

    • Solar arrays. A solar array of panels can power one community or several through community solar farms. 

    • Wind turbines.Small wind turbines may offset some or all energy use in residential areas, farms, schools, businesses, and public places. 

    • Biomass generators: Biomass or waste combustion, and the use of biomass-fired fuel cells, can convert materials into energy instead of letting them go to waste. 

    • Electric vehicle chargers. A car powered by its owner is an example of distributed energy, too! 

Note:
Some relevant technologies, notably including biomass combustion, need
large amounts of water for steam production and for cooling, and might
have 
other environmental drawbacks. 

Community Solar: A Great Distributed Energy Option 

As more people embrace community solar, utility plants dependent on coal or other nonrenewables are replaced—and emissions are reduced. 

Learn more about community solar and how it works. Ready to start? It’s easy to sign up, contribute to a cleaner future, and start receiving your credits.

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