Since President Obama took office, the United States has deployed over 12 GW of solar power—enough solar to power 1.4 million homes—with half of that in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth—173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike the Earth continuously, which equals more than 10,000 times the world's total energy use.
As the President highlighted in his State of the Union address, the pace of solar deployment has picked up. Last year, every four minutes, another American home or business went solar. And spurred by the falling price of panels, since 2008, solar installations have multiplied tenfold—prices are down, demand is up.
President Obama is committed to continuing the momentum. In June 2012, the President launched a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and advance the clean energy economy. As part of that effort, the President set a goal to double wind, solar, and geothermal electricity generation by 2020 and to more than triple the onsite renewable energy production in federally assisted residential buildings. We already achieved our goal of doubling output from these renewables during the first term, so achieving this new goal would imply a four-fold increase in power generation from these clean sources in just 11 years.
As the President said, “every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced.” These jobs are being created by “Champions of Change,” local leaders across the country who are taking action to accelerate the deployment of solar in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
As prices continue to fall, solar is increasingly becoming an economical energy choice for consumers; still, the biggest hurdles to deployment remain the soft costs—like financing, permitting, and zoning. The Administration is working hard to drive down these soft costs through efforts like the Energy Department's SunShot Initiative, and we also want to honor the Champions that are leading the charge across the country.
The White House Champions of Change program regularly highlights ordinary Americans from across the country who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. To celebrate the breadth of individuals who are taking action on solar deployment, we will honor “Champions of Change” to lift up entrepreneurs, innovators, legislators, affordable housing owners, community leaders, and others who are accelerating deployment.
We are asking you to help us identify standout local leaders and businesses by nominating a Champion of Change for Deployment of Solar in the Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Sectors by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4. These champions can include:
Click on the link below to submit your nomination (be sure to choose ‘Solar Deployment’ in the “Theme of Service” field of the nomination form).
We look forward to hosting this event to highlight the great work taking place in communities to advance solar deployment.
Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, White House Domestic Policy Council.