Colorado could meet its energy needs by capturing just a sliver of the virtually limitless and pollution-free energy that strikes the state every day in the form of sunlight. With solar installation costs falling, the efficiency of solar cells rising, and the threats of air pollution and global warming ever-looming, solar power is becoming a more attractive and widespread source of energy every day.
Solar energy is on the rise across the country.The amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity* in the United States has tripled in the past two years. More than half of all new U.S. electricity generating capacity came from solar installations in the first half of 2014, and the United States now has enough solar electric capacity installed to power more than 3.2 million homes. Colorado has been a leader in solar energy adoption, as the state with the eighth most installed solar capacity as of the end of 2013.
As international leaders prepare for the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a new study shows America’s power plants dump as much carbon pollution into the air any other country’s entire economy except China. Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center pointed to the report as evidence for why the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants is a critical step in the international fight against global warming.
The report "Lighting the Way" analyzes the strong solar growth seen across the nation, including an 18% increase in Colorado in 2013. The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun.
The “Wasting Our Waterways” report shows that industrial facilities dumped millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s waterways. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency is considering a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways across the nation.
Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.