2017 has been a whirlwind of a year – for the country, for our region, and for Neighborhood Sun. While this piece is focused only on energy and climate, and not the many vitally important things that we need to correct in this country, there is still a lot to cover. The year has seen an unprecedented assault on clean energy and the environment from the top of our government, but a lot of inspiration, action, and hope from the grassroots. We’ve had a lot of low moments in the past year, but we are optimistic about 2018. Read on for the lowdown.
- President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement – sending a message to the world that avoiding climate change is at the bottom of his list. The good news is that states stepped up their game in the absence of federal leadership. Thirty-eight U.S. states – representing 80 percent of Americans – committed to reduce carbon emissions.
- This year’s hurricane season was one of the most destructive in history. From devastation in Puerto Rico to record-setting floods in Houston, local communities are still feeling the effects. Scientists linked the severity of many of these storms to climate change.
- The battle over the solar tariff has kept many of us glued to our solar news outlets over the last several months, and it’s not over yet. If a tariff is approved by President Trump, it could mean bad things for the US solar industry.
- Wildfires spread throughout Southern California, ranking as the fifth-largest in CA’s history. One reason for the fires: warmer temperatures dry out vegetation so that it burns more easily. And oh, did we mention that this year was the second warmest on record? Thanks, climate polluters.
- The Maryland Community Solar Pilot Program finally opened! While this isn’t technically news about Neighborhood Sun, it certainly was a big deal for us. It moved us that much closer to bringing clean energy to everyone, not just the select few.
- We expanded! Our VP of Operations Alyssa started in April, our Outreach Coordinator Emily came on board in September, and our intern Theresa was with us for a few months this fall. That’s on top of our stellar team that was already in place at the start of the year: CEO Gary and Outreach Associate Armando.
- We exceeded our expectations in raising capital for phase 2.0 of our company’s growth. We were especially pleased to see that so much of our funding came from committed people in our community – rather than investment firms – who know about our work and believe in us. If you’re one of our family investors, thank you!
- We were tired of waiting, so we stood up and took action by launching our Community Solar Commitment Campaign. It’s been exciting to see such a positive response from our community.
There you have it, 2017 has been a busy energy/climate year. Fortunately, we think the outlook for 2018 is bright. We’re working hard to prepare for our first community solar sign-ups in the New Year. Regardless of what’s happening at the federal level, we’re ready to work together to build stronger communities and help everyone access local, clean energy.
We’d love to hear from you – respond with a comment below to let us know what topped your list for 2017!