NAACP develops solar policy principles to address inequities

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The NAACP has launched Equitable Solar Policy Principles, a guide to equity and inclusion for solar policy and advocacy, as part of its greater Solar Equity Initiative.

The principles aim to address inequities caused by climate change and the energy transition, specifically for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community members, among others. 

“We envision a solar-powered future that invests in under-resourced communities, creates local, sustainable wealth, and adds to community resilience and a healthier future for all,” said Denise Abdul-Rahman, national field organizer for the NAACP environmental and climate justice program. 

Studies have shown that low-income and communities of color bear higher levels of exposure to pollution from fossil fuel-based energy production. The U.S. 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, and presents an opportunity for future exploration and incorporation into policy development, said NAACP. 

(Read, “Solar supplier diversity database published by SEIA”) 

The NAACP listed eight core principles, recommending that solar policy should: 

  • Reflect a community-driven theory of change demonstrated by Principles of Environmental Justice and the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing. 
  • Address past, current, and future impacts of climate change through a just transition.
  • Result in measurable improvements in solar adoption and ownership, with a focus on control and strong consumer protections in place. 
  • Increase and advocate for resilience at grid, community, and individual levels.
  • Be cross-cutting, addressing water quality, housing affordability, community development, clean air, workforce equity, and jobs. 
  • Integrate with energy efficiency, grid upgrades, transit electrification, and storage. 
  • Foster an inclusive solar energy workforce and business community. 
  • Design equitable access to solar that delivers net positive impacts and benefits. Consumers should be educated, and organizations should not engage in deceptive acts or abusive practices. 

The principles have received support from Solstice, the Solar Energy Industries Association, Vote Solar, Sunrun, Environmental and Energy Study Institute, United Methodist Women, and other solar and environmental advocacy groups. 

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