Green Cities

Renewable energy will power our homes and businesses

Investing in Renewable Energy is a smart and economically feasible initiative that Americans need to get excited about. A detailed program created by Stanford University researchers sheds light on the importance of investing in renewable energy. In their program each state in the union will ultimately utilize 100 percent wind, water and solar energy by 2050. However, individual states will utilize some types of renewable energy more than others depending on what is most efficient for that particular state. If this plan were to be enacted today, the average American would be saving an estimated $3,400 per year compared to the current fossil fuel initiative. This is because fossil fuel prices have been steadily rising but after the infrastructure is built prices would begin to fall for renewable energy due to the fact that raw materials are free. Electricity bills can be very expensive specifically for low-income families who spend 10 percent of their income on electricity bills, four times higher than the average consumer. According to the ACEE, this low-income energy dilemma could be eased by as much as 35 percent if low-income housing was made as energy efficient as the average American household. This is because many of these individuals are renters rather than owners therefor they do not have the ability to make changes to make their homes more energy efficient. Due to the underutilization of state and federal programs, churches and neighborhood groups have taken the initiative to provide energy efficiency to individuals in their community. For example, the Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light has helped create a coalition with other organizations called the Just Community Solar Coalition to bring solar energy to low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis. Julia Nerbonne, the executive director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, states that “People who enroll will end up saving 7% of their electricity in the first year, with the hope of seeing significantly greater savings after year six.” A large amount of similar initiatives for the implementation of solar panels are sure to follow as solar costs have begun to fall, dropping 17 percent in 2015 alone and according to the GW Solar Institute, solar costs are down 70 percent in the last decade. Additionally, a study determined that in America’s 50 largest cities, “customers that invested in a 5 kW solar PV system saved an average of $44 to $187 per month during the first year that they owned their system.” With these numbers in mind, it is estimated that by 2020, “America is expected to generate enough electricity from solar to power 20 million homes”, according to the solar energy association.  Renewable Energy is the most solid economic and environmental initiative for the future of our country.