2016 Get Local Party

Senators’ Clean Energy Summer School Lesson No. 5: Sunshine Is Bipartisan

August 2, 2016 |

Thanks for showing up on yet another fine summer day, even if it’s only for the air conditioning and the cafeteria special. Gotta love them boiled tomatoes!

OK, last week’s lesson showed us that solar’s getting cheaper and can work well in Michigan, and that we’re so behind other states because our solar net metering rules are so weak. We also studied a great letter from a homeowner explaining how Senate Bill 438 would screw up his longtime solar investment and send most solar installers straight to the unemployment line.

Today let’s look at why killing rooftop solar is a dumb political move. Remember those polls we studied about renewables, especially solar, being way, way popular? Should even very conservative lawmakers pay attention to that?

Let’s turn to the next chapter:

Senators’ Clean Energy Summer School Lesson No. 5:

Sunshine’s bipartisan; so, senators, be careful how you vote!

Let’s start with another filmstrip from our A/V friends down the hall. I’m not gonna introduce it—just watch this and then we’ll discuss.

How about that!? The left and right can agree on homegrown solar panels! Most of our state senators in blue districts already know rooftop solar is popular, but it’s not clear whether most in red district do. They should be careful about any push to lower net metering rates or pushing exorbitant “connection fees.” It raises questions about whose side they’re on, doesn’t it?

In fact, reporting by yours truly shows that some Michigan farmers—not exactly the bluest bunch—want way better net metering policies so they can invest in solar and grow their operations. And, as you’ll see, there are Democrats and Republicans in both chambers supporting the idea. Write you state senator by going here to find out who it is and their address, then urge them to either include parts of the Energy Freedom package in SB 438, or at least keep hands off the current net metering law.

OK? Now… let’s wrap up with a POP QUIZ. Stop groaning or I’ll make it harder! Sheesh……

Here’s your question: Identify who said the following in a conversation with two fellow inventors: “We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy—sun, wind, and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Here’s a hint: It wasn’t John D. Rockefeller, okay?

Ooops! There’s the bell, so pencils down, everyone, and bluebooks on my desk. We’ll have a brief discussion next week; please be ready to discuss the concept of “irony.”

NEXT: Lesson 6: Efficiency is cool, and lawmakers must keep it that way