Solar power use growing in US capital

World Today

The U.S. has started to edge closer to what solar advocates are hoping will be a major transformation of the renewable energy landscape. Huge companies such as Walmart and Google have been pioneering large scale solar projects as the cost of solar power is becoming less expensive and may soon be comparable to the price of fossil fuel. CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reported this story from Washington., D.C.

Solar power use growing in US capital

The U.S. has started to edge closer to what solar advocates are hoping will be a major transformation of the renewable energy landscape. Huge companies such as Walmart and Google have been pioneering large scale solar projects as the cost of solar power is becoming less expensive and may soon be comparable to the price of fossil fuel. CCTV America's Daniel Ryntjes reported this story from Washington., D.C.

In the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington D.C., the use of solar panels is growing.

In 2007, Anya Schoolman, the president of DC Solar United Neighborhoods decided to start a group because she realized that it was too challenging to deal with regulations and installers alone.

“Then it was all the neighbors working together and different people contributed different things. There was a lawyer in the group, somebody created a website, there was a bunch of activists, so all kinds of different skills came together to form the first group,” Schoolman said.

Around 10 percent of the rooftops in the Washington D.C. neighborhood have solar panels, which is unprecedented in the region. It’s a model that DC Solar United Neighborhoods organizers hope can be replicated across the United States.

Schoolman runs the Community Power Network to support others in the U.S. and worldwide to cluster together and bring down the price of panels by buying them as a group.

She is organizing a protest against the proposed takeover of the local electric company Pepco by Exelon, a nuclear energy firm.

“Their model is they’ll make the energy. Make it cheap, sell it expensive, make a lot of money and our model is really an energy democracy model, where people make their own energy for themselves,” Schoolman said.

Exelon said it is supportive of home solar producers such as Schoolman.

As solar panels get cheaper and more efficient, a key battle will be pricing incentives as homeowners are not just looking to reduce their bills, but also selling excess back to the power grid.