A recent article in Sierra Magazine praised the benefits of rooftop solar leasing programs, which allow homeowners to install solar panels with little or no up front costs. These programs and other policies can revolutionize the way we obtain our energy, and erode the old paradigm of destroying wildlands to power our refrigerators and microwaves.
As renewable energy expert John Farrell told Sierra Magazine, "[o]ur policy is favoring Big Solar—or Big Anything, really—at the expense of the small stuff." We need to pay more attention to the solution right in front of us. Parking lots, rooftops, reservoirs, and so on. Solar panels can make use of these spaces as "distributed generation".
In addition to the solar leasing programs identified in the article, we need policies like feed-in-tariffs and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). PACE programs enable homeowners to pay for rooftop solar installations through installments on their local property tax over time. Legislation introduced earlier this year (H.R. 2599) would cut red tape that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have placed on PACE programs.
We can build more momentum behind distributed generation, and cut CO2 emissions without industrializing our open spaces and desert wildlands.