In celebration of Earth Day — and as a way to encourage the widespread use of non-polluting energy sources — The Climate Group and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have teamed up to create a Facebook campaign designed to accelerate the adoption of solar energy in the United States.
The “I LIKE SOLAR” initiative centers around solar energy’s widespread popular appeal — demonstrated by a recent national Hart poll which shows that 9 out of 10 Americans favor more solar deployment — as well as the power of social media to spread the “buzz” about solar energy. In fact, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin found that interaction with a friend, relative or neighbor with solar can spur someone to “go solar” three times faster.
According to SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch and The Climate Group Executive Director Amy Davidsen, the primary goals of this innovative, new Earth Day campaign include:
Substantially increasing the use of residential solar in America
Significantly reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions
Harnessing Facebook’s powerful social network to create a virtual solar neighborhood
Optimizing solar messaging on Facebook and other social media platforms
According to the most recent GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013 there are 13 GW of installed solar capacity in the United States. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, that’s enough clean electricity to displace 14.2 billion pounds of coal or 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline. Put another way, it’s the equivalent of taking 2.7 million passenger cars off U.S. highways.
“As we celebrate Earth Day, we are facing a watershed moment in our nation’s history,” Resch said. “Today, climate change is a real and growing threat to America and the rest of the world. It’s indisputable. Sea levels are rising. We’re experiencing more intense and unpredictable storms. And droughts plague the world. Clearly, climate change threatens our economy, our future progress, our health and safety, and even our way of life. Every day, the Earth suffers a little more from human neglect. We can’t wish this problem away, and pointing fingers won’t solve it, either. There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Day — and pay respect to our planet — than to embark on a campaign which can have a positive, demonstrable and measurable impact on our environment.”
Amy Davidsen, The Climate Group Executive Director U.S., said, “The recent Working Group II and III reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlight the need for rapid and ambitious scale-up of low carbon technologies to reduce emissions – the good news is that 70 to 80 percent of these technologies are available today. Residential solar is a leading renewable energy technology that will reduce a household’s energy bills and emissions footprint. The ‘I LIKE SOLAR’ initiative will capitalize on the declining costs of installation, which SEIA reported as declining by 15 percent during 2013, and create a grassroots movement to highlight the benefits of solar to a potential audience of millions of Americans.”
Solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,00 Americans and accounting for nearly 30 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in 2013 – second only to natural gas. In fact, more solar has been brought online in the past 18 months than in the prior 30 years combined. All totaled, solar is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power nearly 2.5 million homes.
“We are excited about this new collaborative effort,” said Resch and Davidsen. “Facebook has 180 million users in the United States and reaches 71 percent of all online adults. Creating a robust community of solar owners to share their stories and offer personal testimonials about the value of solar – both from an economic and environmental standpoint – will certainly pay dividends in our fight against pollution and climate change. Working together, we plan to make this an Earth Day that will be long remembered.”