Americans are getting behind solar energy in a big way, and an initiative sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is helping increase support for solar even more.
AmericaSupportsSolar.com is a new website showcasing the realities and benefits of solar energy. It and its associated social media campaign were launched on January 24, 2014, in conjunction with National “Shout Out For Solar” Day. The date is significant, as it marks SEIA’s 40th anniversary and the birth the U.S. solar industry.
No longer a fringe “alternative,” solar was one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States in 2013. The U.S. solar infrastructure now generates approximately 13 gigawatts of electricity (enough energy to power 2 million homes), reducing carbon emissions and airborne particulate and providing 120,000 domestic jobs in the process. That number is expected to increase this year, with 30 percent growth projected for the industry in 2014.
Few people now dispute that solar energy is good for America. In fact, a recent Hart research poll confirmed that nine out of 10 Americans support solar energy. However, misconceptions about the technology still abound.
For instance, many people still think of solar as prohibitively expensive. Another myth is that payback for a solar PV system typically takes too long to make it a worthwhile investment. While there may have been some truth to these beliefs five years ago, they no longer reflect reality — the price of solar has dropped 50 percent since 2010, and improvements in PV technology have reduced payback time to less than 4 years in many cases. The America Supports Solar initiative is helping to dispel these and other misconceptions about solar and further raise awareness about the benefits and accessibility of solar energy.
To kick off the launch, solar supporters across the nation were encouraged to show their support all over social media. Participants downloaded and printed “#GoSolar” signs from SEIA’s website, including slogans such as “This Guy Supports Solar,” and “#GoSolar #USA.” They then posted pictures of themselves on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, holding the signs and encouraging others to join in supporting solar energy in the U.S. The hashtag #GoSolar was used to track the outpouring of support.
“In recent years, our industry has created tens of thousands of new American jobs, pumped billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and helped to reduce pollution,” commented SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “We’re a true American success story — (but) the real power of solar is the millions of people who support it.”
AmericaSupportsSolar.com is an easy-to-navigate showcase of the American solar industry that offers a concise update of the industry’s benefits and accomplishments. Visitors are treated to dozens of solar industry tidbits presented in an engaging infographic format. Also included are an informational video and a number of case studies on various solar installations across the country. Visitors are encouraged to stay informed by following America Supports Solar on Facebook and Twitter, and by signing up for email updates about future events.