Empowering Advocates: How to Talk about Independent Community Solar to Counter Anti-Consumer Monopoly Messaging

Photo of a woman looking at her high utility bill with a puzzled look at on her face, symbolizing the need for independent community solar projects that can save consumers on energy costs each month

As momentum for clean energy grows, community solar programs have emerged as a powerful tool for reducing energy costs and promoting sustainable practices.

However, monopoly utility companies often present significant challenges, using their influence to block access to these beneficial programs. It is crucial for advocates to help policymakers understand the value and mechanics of independent community solar to effectively counter these anti-consumer arguments.

This story highlights how monopoly utility companies in California are actively working to limit access to community solar. These companies argue that community solar threatens their business model and could lead to increased costs for non-participating customers.

However, these claims obscure the larger benefits of community solar. Independent community solar programs allow multiple households to share the benefits of a single solar installation, providing access to renewable energy without the need for individual rooftop panels.

This model not only reduces energy costs for participants but also promotes energy equity by making solar power accessible to a broader segment of the population, including those who may not have suitable rooftops for solar panels.

Policymakers play a vital role in fostering the growth of community solar. By understanding the mechanics and benefits of independent community solar programs, they can craft legislation that supports these initiatives. Advocates for community solar can use these messages to help make their case to policymakers:

  1. Consumer Savings: Emphasize the substantial cost savings that community solar programs offer to consumers. Highlight real-world examples and data showing the financial benefits to participants.
  2. Energy Equity: Stress the importance of making renewable energy accessible to all, including low-income households and those living in multi-family buildings or areas unsuitable for individual solar installations.
  3. Environmental Impact: Highlight the environmental benefits of community solar, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the promotion of sustainable energy practices.
  4. Economic Growth: Point out the potential for job creation and local economic growth associated with the development of community solar projects.

By focusing on these messaging points, advocates can build a compelling case for independent community solar and counter the anti-consumer rhetoric of monopoly utility companies. Understanding and advocating for community solar is not just about promoting clean energy; it’s about ensuring a fair, equitable and sustainable energy future for all.

You can help share out the benefits of community solar programs using the resources here.