Solar supporters bring their stories to Congress

By Solar United Neighbors on April 23, 2024

A group of solar supporters came to Capitol Hill last week to meet with the Congressional Solar Caucus. It was an opportunity to put a face to solar’s incredible growth and potential. 

The Congressional Solar Caucus is a bi-partisan group of House Members. It is a forum for Members and the public to discuss issues related to solar energy. Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi and South Carolina Republican Ralph Norman co-chair the caucus. 

West Virginia solar owners Robert Fernatt and Tommye Lou Rafes joined Solar United Neighbors’ Glen Brand and Sarah Spence of the Conservative Energy Network. SUN organized the briefing. A solar array powers Robert’s home and electric vehicle. Tommye Lou went solar to lower energy costs for her vegetable farm. She received a grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for the system. 

Solar supporters highlight incredible growth, opportunity in solar 

The advocates noted we are in an exciting time for consumers who want to take control of where their energy comes from, by going solar. Prices have declined 37.5% since 2010. Additionally, new investments from the Inflation Reduction Act are lowering barriers to solar energy for low-to-moderate income families. 

Briefing comes as Congress considers important solar legislation 

Congress is considering several bills that will ensure Americans can benefit from local solar. H.R.2751, sponsored by Rep. Castor would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to establish a program to increase access to community solar.  

Community solar lets people benefit from solar energy, even if they can’t go solar where they live. Community solar participants subscribe to a share in a local solar array. They earn a credit on their bill based on the amount of electricity produced by their share. Community solar is not available everywhere. This bill would change that.  

Additionally, Rep. Castor is sponsoring H.R. 5075. This bill would prevent utilities from using ratepayer money for lobbying. This is an important issue for solar owners. Customers aren’t able to choose their utility. Yet, utilities can use their money to lobby for policies that make going solar more difficult. 

Lastly, Congress is considering an extension of the Farm Bill. This legislation includes funding for REAP. Cuts to this popular investment will limit solar opportunity in rural America. 

Encourage your member of Congress to join the Solar Caucus 

Robert and Tommye Lou shared why solar is important to them. You can, too! Click here to urge your Congress members to join the solar caucus.