NAACP releases principles to promote equity in solar policies

The NAACP released a list of eight principles on Tuesday that the group hopes will lead to more equitable policies and adoption of solar energy across the country.

Among the Equitable Solar Policy Principles proposed are ensuring that policies are community driven; address past, present and future affects of climate change; result in measureable increases in the adoption of solar technologies; address issues other than just climate change including water quality; housing affordability and community development; be integrated with energy efficiency and updates to the electric grid; and ensure solar is accessible across income and racial groups. A full list of the principles can be found here.

Officials hope the principals will help guide local and national policymakers as they seek to expand solar projects.

Denise Abdul-Rahman National Field Organizer NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, said the goal is to ensure solar power leads to investments in under-resourced communities, creates local wealth and creates more resilience both in terms of the climate and grid stability.

“Low-income and communities of color have suffered disproportionate harm from the fossil fuel economy. The new clean energy economy is an opportunity to address past injustices, but only with intentional policy decisions such as those outlined in the Equitable Solar Policy Principles,” said Denise Abdul-Rahman National Field Organizer NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program.

The NAACP has been involved with solar energy since 2018, when it created the Solar Equity Initiative to increase solar installations in communities of color and to connect people to skills training for solar jobs, all supported by strengthened solar equity policies. 

Studies have shown that Black people and other people of color are more likely to bear the brunt of pollution and emissions from heavy industry and fossil fuels. Princeton University researchers, for example, reported last year that African Americans are 75 percent more likely than white people to live in communities close to commercial facilities that produce greenhouse gas emissions.