PORTLAND -- With local municipalities playing an increasingly important role in the clean energy revolution, Environment Maine Research and Policy Center released a new toolkit today to support cities and towns nationwide in capturing more clean renewable energy from the sun. Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar offers practical ways to take advantage of millions of available rooftops across the country and in Maine.
“Our communities are facing so many environmental challenges, from polluted air that threatens public health to a rapidly changing climate,” said Carissa Maurin, Director of Environment Maine Research and Policy Center. “The promise of solar energy in helping address those problems and get to a future powered by 100 percent renewable energy can’t be overstated - solar energy is clean, renewable, abundant and more affordable than ever before. Cities have so much to gain from tapping the sun for more power.”
Based on lessons learned from Environment Maine Research and Policy Center’s Go Solar campaign, Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar details how cities can lead by example, expand access, remove obstacles and work with other institutions to harness solar energy. In addition to the toolkit, Environment Maine Research and Policy Center is holding a webinar series with its national partner Environment America to discuss tactics for boosting local solar energy development.
"We're seeing great progress in cities throughout the state, including Portland, Belfast, Lincolnville, and Boothbay" said Emma Searson, Go Solar advocate with Environment Maine Research and Policy Center. "Still, some places need help getting started, or have hit roadblocks at some step along the way. And some top solar cities could take their energy leadership to another level. We want to help those communities achieve their full solar potential, by giving them tools that allow them to learn from each other’s experiences."
The toolkit builds on efforts presently underway at Environment Maine Research and Policy Center. As part of its Go Solar campaign, the organization is identifying and assisting cities in thinking bigger with bold renewable energy commitments and smart policies and programs to tap the sun for more power. The campaign also includes the Mayors for Solar Energy letter, a bipartisan statement signed by 235 mayors to date representing cities in all 50 states. Together, these leaders are calling for more solar energy to power American communities.
“The Mayors for Solar Energy all agree that local renewable power is crucial to meeting the current and future needs of their communities,” Searson said. “The tools, case studies and resources included in this toolkit are intended to make it easier for communities to take advantage of this clean and plentiful resource and transition away from dirty energy sources for good.”
Municipalities across the state and country are already showing the viability of going solar. In 2017, 20 U.S. cities produced more solar energy than the entire nation did in 2010. Research has shown that good policy is even more important for solar success than the availability of sunshine. And, effective public policies that help electric providers, businesses and residents access more solar energy can set leading cities apart from the rest.
Environment Maine Research & Policy Center works to protect clean water, clean air, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.