Solar energy policies in Germany have resulted in an energy jobs boom and have driven down the price of power on the EPEX Power Exchange. More people work in Germany’s solar energy sector than in its coal and nuclear sectors combined. (Don’t tell this year’s GOP candidates – they somehow think clean energy and green jobs is all just talk.) But there’s a lot more to get excited about than just jobs (even though those are pretty sweet).
Solar Energy Is (or Can Be) Community Energy
Solar energy can allow “the little guy” to power the country (well, a lot of little guys). “A small-town energy revolution is going on in Germany, with more than 100 rural communities becoming 100% renewable,” Craig Morris of Renewables International writes. The result? Money for electricity goes back into one’s own community, rather than out to some mega energy company. Even if that electricity were to cost you a bit more, it would go back into services and people in your community who would improve your life in other ways.
“Yes. Germany is replacing central-station plants that can only be run by large corporations with truly distributed renewable power. While Germany’s Big Four utilities make up around three quarters of total power generation, they only own seven percent of green power. Roughly three quarters of renewable power investments have been made by individuals, communities, farmers, and small and midsize enterprises.”
This is how clean energy can help individual citizens, of course, but it’s not necessarily how it’s done everywhere (i.e. in the U.S.).
“The US is slowly switching to renewables, but it is nearly completely shutting out the little guy, with only two percent of installed wind power capacity not owned by giant corporations. And when it comes to solar in the US, almost everything is utility-scale plants. The changes in Germany are driven by the little guy, whereas the renewable industry in the US is controlled by some of the world’s biggest multinational companies.”