Rooftop Solar & Microgrids

Maren Schermer

Educator (NOT Journalism School)

Installing rooftop solar has become an effective climate change mitigation strategy as well as a poverty reduction tool. Project Drawdown regards small-scale solar systems to be one of the most effective climate change strategies, both standalone and connected to a grid. As they note, "In grid-connected areas, rooftop panels can put electricity production in the hands of households. In rural parts of low-income countries, they can leapfrog the need for large-scale, centralized power grids, and accelerate access to affordable, clean electricity—becoming a powerful tool for eliminating poverty."   

As the cost of panels fall, rooftop solar is becoming a viable option for millions.  According to a study by the Center for Behavior and the Environment, installing rooftop solar is among the seven most impactful actions that individuals and households in the United States can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The stories in this collection (see below) show that solar panels are a reliable, affordable, and clean solution to skip fossil fuels altogether. In Zimbabwe, rooftop solar is being deployed to provide reliable energy at health clinics. Solar energy will also be almost entirely powering innovative new construction projects in Utah and Florida. As climate change begins to intensify the severity of natural disasters, localized microgrids are also being viewed as a climate adaptation strategy. A start-up company is bringing solar microgrids to Puerto Rico and other areas impacted by disaster, supplying clean energy within a day where it is most needed. Recent California wildfires are accelerating the state's transition towards solar energy. By putting the power of energy into the hands of the people, rooftop solar panels are sure to lead the clean energy revolution. This solution is one of the Drawdown Ecochallenge actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


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