Is Your New Year’s Resolution to Support Renewable Energy?

General By Nelnet Renewable Energy January 3, 2022

It’s 2022, and time to think about New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like many of us, our past New Year’s resolutions have been about improving ourselves – exercising regularly, living with our budget, or maintaining healthier relationships. While physical, financial, and emotional health are all important, maybe this is the year to go a little broader with our impact. By making changes to be a consumer of sustainable energy, you can positively impact future you, your community, and the planet.

By resolving to support renewable energy for 2022, you can join the growing public advocacy and momentum for climate change mitigation gained from passage of the infrastructure bill into law. Record-breaking growth was already expected for global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in 2022, and that growth should be turbocharged by the recent passage of the federal infrastructure. The International Energy Agency had predicted annual solar PV expansion to reach 145 GW in 2021 and 162 GW in 2022, breaking records and accounting for over 55% of all renewable energy expansion in 2021-22.

This graph shows that solar PV energy has had the greatest increase in net capacity since 2019, with increasing growth each year and expected for 2022. Wind capacity, with the second highest capacity additions, had huge growth in 2020, which then reduced in 2021 and is expected to decrease again slightly for 2022. With the third highest increase in capacity among renewables, hydro energy's capacity increased each year, with 2022 expected to level off or decrease slightly from 2021 capacity. A group containing "other renewables" has had the smallest increase in new capacity since 2019, remaining relatively stable. View disclaimer source.

Why not be part of the global momentum renewable energy is gaining and make 2022 the year you take action, too?

Deciding how you’ll make your New Year’s resolution a reality.

You can choose to have an impact in 2022 through small or large changes. When you make your resolution, decide on your level of commitment based on what you think you can do if you stretch your comfort zone.

Many people think first of transportation decisions when they consider their impact on the environment. Positive choices you can make in 2022 may include biking to work, using public transportation, carpooling, buying a more efficient vehicle, or buying an electric vehicle.

When it comes to shopping and making more sustainable-focused consumer decisions, you can eat less meat, minimize food waste, avoid disposable products, shop secondhand to help you reuse and recycle items, and choose to shop locally rather than buying online to reduce your carbon footprint. You can further aid sustainability by making carefully researched spending decisions – supporting companies that encourage sustainability.

Making changes at home to succeed with your New Year’s resolution.

Choices to save on energy can be as simple as unplugging electronics when you’re not using them or buying solar power chargers. For more examples, check out our Tips for Making Your Home More Energy Efficient. Many of the tips are simple, commonsense tasks that will also save you money.

If you own your home or business, you may have considered installing traditional rooftop solar panels to use sustainable energy that helps the environment. While traditional rooftop solar is an option, be aware there are requirements for your roof that you’ll need to meet, and the cost can be prohibitive. For those of us who rent, who can’t afford the typical five-digit start-up costs, or who don’t have a roof that works for panel installation, community solar is a great way to support the environment. (If you need help deciding which way to go, check out our blog, Community Solar or Rooftop Solar: Which is Right For You?)

Here’s how community solar works: A community solar farm, or project, is a collection of solar panels that produces clean energy that flows to your local utility company. Homeowners, renters, and businesses can sign up for community solar in just minutes, receive power from their same utility company, and receive solar credits on their monthly utility bill that save money on their energy costs. You can learn more about community solar and its benefits for you and the environment in our community solar guide. Then search for a community solar project to see if there’s one you can join.

If there’s no community solar project available in your area and you can’t do rooftop solar, contact your energy provider to see whether there’s a renewable energy program you can join. Many energy providers offer a way to support renewable energy through various programs and it’s usually possible to choose the price point you’re comfortable with.

Good luck with your resolution! We’re always here with resources related to supporting renewable energy.

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