There are four main impacts of the Solar Commons Project in categories of Equitable Wealth, Integrated Climate Mitigation, Just Energy Transition, and a Commons Sector Infrastructure that makes it possible to achieve and scale the first three impacts.
In the twentieth century private and public ownership structures created wealth for corporations, private companies and individuals and state treasuries. By the end of that century wealth disparity in the US had grown and common wealth in air, water, forests, and soil was dangerously depleted. Solar Commons trusts embed a market economy (market value of electricity) in the regenerative ecological principles of a gift economy (social wealth fund value) to create and share more equitable wealth for people and planet.
Integrated Climate Mitigation
The most important factor in stopping climate change is mitigating the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. The Solar Commons Project reduces CO2 and embeds the value of the earth’s climate system in the common wealth values of healthy and equitable local livelihoods. The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the nation’s premier research institute on accelerating and scaling the shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewable energy, has analyzed the Solar Commons Model and found it to be a viable financial model with extensive scaling capacity. The RMI financial analysis report shows how funders realize quantifiable GHG reductions and a positive net present value on the money they put into a Solar Commons array. The RMI scalability study shows how rightly-sized, distributed Solar Commons iterate to a minimum of 10GW in the US!
Just Energy Transition
The current fossil fuel energy system creates enormous wealth for some, smaller benefits for others, and disaster for our common home, the earth. The energy transition to cleaner sources is underway causing major shifts in production, distribution, and energy economic systems. But, without new energy economic models, this transition could extend these inequities rather than correct them. The Solar Commons Project offers two new policy opportunities that make our energy transition a more just one: a “Commons Option” where grid owners can pay their public right-of-way franchise fees directly to communities by purchasing clean electricity from Solar Commons arrays delivering local community benefits in social wealth funds; and a Common Wealth Rent Solar structured as a solar/community adaptation of the current “Alaska Permanent Fund” which pays dividends to state residents from state energy licenses).
Commons Sector Infrastructure
In order for communities to use the commons models to achieve impacts of equitable wealth, integrated climate mitigation and a just energy transition, they need supportive infrastructures. Communities lack economic institutions to support locally governed common good work. Solar Commons Project (SCP) creates civic tools to gather the sun’s common wealth and direct it to a community-governed social wealth fund that supports neighbors helping neighbors for the two decades plus lifespan of the solar technology. These legal and economic interconnections form an infrastructure for commoning.