The Solar Equity Initiative has released a set of “Equitable Solar Policy Principles” that are designed to ensure internal alignment and develop a shared understanding of equitable solar policy.
According to a press release from the NAACP, these principles can assist advocates and policymakers at the local, state and federal level to craft policy solutions that are holistic in nature, and ensure benefits flow to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and other frontline communities.
“Low-income and communities of color have suffered disproportionate harm from the fossil fuel economy. The new clean energy economy is an opportunity to address past injustices, but only with intentional policy decisions such as those outlined in the Equitable Solar Policy Principles,” says Denise Abdul-Rahman, national field organizer for the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. “We envision a solar-powered future that invests in under-resourced communities, creates local, sustainable wealth, and adds to community resilience and a healthier future for all.”
The Equitable Solar Policy Principles is a living document that the Solar Equity Initiative will periodically revisit to best reflect its collective commitments. The coalition focused on transparency, ownership and accountability in developing the principles. The goal of the principles is to address past, current and future impacts of pollution on frontline and BIPOC communities while moving communities toward a more resilient and just future that takes into account all of their needs.
“If we want to build an equitable clean energy economy, it starts with the policies we support and prioritize,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Over the next decade, we have an incredible opportunity to expand access to solar and welcome hundreds of thousands of people to the solar workforce. The Solar Equity Initiative’s new policy principles will help us prioritize low-income and communities of color in clean energy legislation and make sure equity is at the forefront of our future advocacy efforts.”
“The Equitable Solar Policy Principles seek to increase access to and ownership of solar energy in underserved and frontline communities,” adds Daniel Bresette, executive director at the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. “Such communities are not only in the greatest need of affordable energy, but they are also at the most risk from climate impacts. Increased access to affordable solar energy panels means lower energy bills, decreased carbon emissions and a healthier environment for these communities.”
The NAACP launched the Solar Equity Initiative in 2018 to increase solar installations in communities of color and to connect these communities to skills training for solar jobs, all supported by strengthened solar equity policies. The initiative is centered on the civil, economic and environmental justice rights connecting communities of color and low-income communities across the nation, says the NAACP.