Learn what you need to know about promoting solar renewable energy in your state.
Four Steps to Promoting Solar Renewable Energy
If your state's policies promoting renewable energy fail to impress you, there are several courses of action you can take:
1. Lobby your elected state officials and encourage them to support renewable energy. I worked as a legislative assistant in a past life, and yes, elected officials at the state level usually do read their mail and e-mail — although they may not have time to answer all of it. There is indeed power in numbers; the more mail — and the more people who send it — the merrier. (If you do not know who your elected officials are, visit www.vote-smart.org to find out their names and contact information.)
2. Stay informed of developments in renewable energy incentives and policies in your state and other states by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) website (www.dsireusa.org), which is updated weekly. DSIRE is especially useful for comparing state policies and tracking regional policy trends.
3. Get involved with existing renewable energy organizations. Organizations can play key roles in developing public policy by means of persistent lobbying and assertive participation in relevant meetings. You can find out more about local or statewide renewable energy organizations by contacting your state energy office (www.naseo.org/members/states.htm) or visiting energy.sourceguides.com, For information on state — and local-level Million Solar Roofs partnerships, visit www.millionsolarroofs.com/partnerships_statelocal.
4. Read the newspaper and write columns or letters to the editor when appropriate. Since Sept. 11, 2001, many columnists and publications have called for an "energy revolution" in the United States and abroad. Momentum has remained high, and policymakers seem to be getting the point.
Rusty Haynes works as a policy analyst at the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University, where he researches and analyzes state-level renewable energy and energy efficiency policy, and coordinates various communication and outreach efforts.