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Statement From Center for Biological Diversity on Misleading Solar Report

WASHINGTON - The Institute for Energy Research last week released a new report, The High Cost of Rooftop Solar Subsidies, which contained misleading claims about the economic costs of rooftop-solar subsidies and net-metering policies that support expansion of the distributed solar-energy market.

“It's no surprise that an organization that has received funding from the Koch brothers and Exxon produced a report that's quick to point a blaming finger at solar subsidies, but let’s not forget that it’s the fossil fuel industry that has long been kept afloat by government subsidies," said Chad Tudenggongbu, a senior renewable energy campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This report’s so-called findings are simply regurgitating the same left-over arguments we've been hearing for years, but the facts are clear: Distributed solar is one of the most promising paths to a clean, healthy and affordable energy economy.”

According to studies by the International Energy Agency, global subsidies for fossil fuels are nearly 10 times as much as those received by renewable energy. The International Monetary Fund determined that, if climate and environmental costs were included, fossil fuel subsidies would increase another 10 times to nearly $5 trillion a year. Additionally, a recent Harvard study found that the negative affects for the full lifecycle of coal costs the U.S. public from one-third to one-half of $1 trillion every year.

“Despite the trivial governmental support it receives in comparison with fossil fuels, the solar industry is growing,” said Tudenggongbu. “In 2016 solar is expected to add more electricity-generating capacity than any other energy source in the United States, and the solar industry is employing workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy.

“If fossil fuel enthusiasts like the Institute for Energy Research are truly concerned about the welfare of Americans, they should encourage the government to shift subsidies from dirty fossil fuels to clean and distributed solar energy. Not only does the solar industry provide economic opportunity, but it also offers relief from the disproportionate pollution and climate impacts from fossil fuels borne by low-income communities. Distributed solar power is a critical part of achieving a just, renewable energy system to meet international climate goals and reduce energy-related threats to wildlife and wild places.”


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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