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Maximizing energy efficiency and conservation, rooftop solar  and other forms of local renewable energy should be California’s first priority in meeting the state’s energy needs. Only after all clean resources are exhausted should new, polluting power plants and transmission infrastructure be allowed.

The Potential is There

Meeting the state’s conservation, energy efficiency and solar rooftop potential can greatly reduce the need for the other sources of energy.

Although the City of San Diego leads the state in terms of the number of rooftop solar installations and capacity, the untapped urban solar potential in San Diego remains vast. Commercial buildings, parking lots and residential solar can fulfill all of San Diego's energy needs. 

By making all homes and buildings energy efficient, the U.S. can reduce non-transportation energy consumption by 23% by 2020 and eliminate 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equates to taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the road.

Unfortunately, decisions based on money and politics often slight energy efficiency and rooftop solar in favor of other energy sources. Power companies build massive gas power plants near our neighborhoods and build solar and wind power plants far from where consumers need the power, creating the need for high voltage transmission lines, such as the Sunrise Powerlink. Government agencies invest relatively little in energy efficiency or local solar energy generation, and power companies have no incentive to go beyond minimal levels for compliance.

EHC's Energy Conservation and Efficiency Initiatives

In addition to promoting conservation, energy efficiency and rooftop solar through local Climate Action Plans and state policies, Environmental Health Coalition makes certain that low-income communities have access to these benefits.

EHC’s Healthy Homes Program provides energy efficiency education to more than 1,000 low-income households to help them conserve energy and access free programs to make their homes more energy efficient. Homes in low-income communities typically are older and built before current energy efficiency standards were in place. Making these homes more energy efficient has a triple benefit: reduces energy use, reduces cost and creates more healthy and comfortable homes.

EHC's Rooftop Solar Initiatives

Small rooftop solar installations, both individually and community-owned and/or leased, provide new potential for low-income communities to increase social equity, environmental quality and energy independence. EHC works with Grid Alternatives to install solar on low- and moderate-income housing using the Single Family Affordable Solar Homes and Multifamily Affordable Solar Homes program rebates provided by the California Solar Initiative.

As a member of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, EHC sponsored state policies than increase renewable energy right in our neighborhoods, create thousands of local jobs, and make our air cleaner and easier to breathe.

Solar for All was a historic bill endorsed by over 80 social justice, environmental, business, and solar groups. While AB 1990 ultimately lost in a close vote, we continue to advocate for improving existing programs and advancing new solutions to bring more renewable energy into our neighborhoods. For example, we will ensure that revenues generated by {tip Prop 39::Prop 39, passed by the voters in November 2012, closes a corporate tax loophole and designates the additional tax revenue to funding energy efficiency and renewable energy on public buildings, green jobs training, and the state's general fund.}Prop 39{/tip} and the state's cap-and-trade program fund projects and programs that benefit communities most impacted by pollution and most in need of the investment.

We also closely monitor and engage in improving SDG&E's energy efficiency programs, and recently played a pivotal role in the CPUC's decision to order SDG&E and other large electric and gas utilities to double the number of middle income families receiving free energy efficiency installations, improve access to energy efficiency for residents of multi-family buildings, and improve energy conservation education provided to families.