Center for Biological Diversity

Support Rooftop Solar Energy

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If we are to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we must rapidly transition away from all forms of fossil fuels. While Congress debates whether a proposed 20-percent renewable electric standard is too high, what we really need is a 100-percent renewable electric standard. It's an ambitious target, but with existing technology we can likely meet it -- we have to. 

Unfortunately, some of the best sources of clean, renewable energy -- such as solar and wind -- can be extremely land-intensive, and when poorly sited can have unacceptable impacts on wildlife and habitat. While directing industrial-scale projects to already disturbed and fragmented lands can go a long way toward blunting their negative impacts, there is one place (really millions of places) where solar panels can be deployed with absolutely no negative impacts on wildlife and wild spaces: our rooftops.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has introduced legislation that would greatly aid in the expansion of rooftop solar energy in the United States. His "10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010" would help fund the installation of solar panels on 10 million American homes and businesses as well as the installation of 200,000 solar water heaters. This would produce about 30,000 new megawatts -- the equivalent of about 30 nuclear power plants -- and help put us on the path toward a truly green energy economy.

Please take a minute and contact your senators and encourage them to join as cosponsors of the "10 Million Solar Roofs 5 and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010" to help our country move toward green energy.

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Rooftop solar panel photo courtesy Flickr Commons/Jason-Morrison.

The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that there is sufficient roof space in the United States to meet 20 percent of our electricity needs simply by installing solar panels. Moreover, because rooftop solar generates electricity in cities and towns where it is actually used, new long-distance power lines are not needed to bring it from a generating facility in the desert or prairie to the consumer.

The legislation's cosponsors include Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.),  Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).