Guest Opinion | ‘Tis the Season – for Solar Energy!

Published : Monday, July 10, 2017 | 5:07 AM

Summer in Southern California means more sunny hours to relax at our beautiful beaches, take in a Dodger game or finally make that trek to the Hollywood sign. It also serves as a reminder that today, and every day, we should soak up more of those rays of sunlight to power our communities with inexhaustible, pollution-free, solar energy.

Solar energy is taking off faster than ever before. Nearly every week, California breaks a new solar energy record; a recent weekend generated a record 10,000 megawatts of solar power, the equivalent of 2.5 million solar powered homes.

So, we’re making progress. But of course, it hasn’t always been this way. Since the Industrial Revolution we’ve relied on the extraction of dirty fossil fuels. We know now that extracting and burning these fuels for energy not only harms our environment and our health, but also threatens the climate and the stability of human life on this planet. Many scientists agree that we must stop burning virtually all fossil fuels by mid-century to spare children growing up today from the devastating impacts of climate change. They also agree that fossil-fueled air pollution results in countless cases of asthma, lung cancer and unnecessary deaths worldwide every year.

The time has come for California to move past such finite and increasingly expensive resources, and for the state’s lawmakers to lead us forward to a more sustainable future. Pasadena’s own Chris Holden, chair of the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee, is in the driver’s seat to do just that.

The demand for renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal is growing like we’ve never seen before, in the U.S and across the world. Renewables have created thousands of California jobs, reduced harmful air pollutants, lowered carbon pollution and led to greater diversity and resilience in the state’s energy supply.

Ramping up our renewable goals is not a question of resources, science or technology. It is a question of political will. As more and more leaders in cities, companies, institutions and states commit to goals of using 100 percent renewable energy, we’ll get there sooner and realize more of the benefits to California and our society.

Here in Southern California, we applaud cities as diverse as San Diego and Lancaster for committing to 100 percent renewable energy and are encouraged that more cities, including Los Angeles, are putting together roadmaps for how they will achieve 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

At the statewide level, California has a tremendous opportunity to continue this momentum. California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León is championing a bill, SB 100, which will accelerate California’s current mandate to achieve 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources from 2030 up to 2026; it would further establish that California would generate 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045. All of these are goals that we can and must achieve, and it is up to our state representatives like Chris Holden to help lead the way.

Enjoy the long days of summer but remember this: every hour enough solar energy reaches the earth to supply all human energy needs for a year, meaning that every minute of sunlight can be harnessed to create clean, renewable energy to power our lives. As we continue to use energy more efficiently, ramp up storage of renewable energy and scale up our use of clean energy resources, we’ll make our air and water cleaner, save lives, and create a stronger domestic economy. Enacting SB 100 will leave a legacy that Californians can be proud of for generations to come.

Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, a Pasadena-based installer and integrator of solar power systems.

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