In the global race to a cleaner energy system, solar is poised to play a huge role, not only in generating electricity, but also in creating jobs and reducing energy costs. A new documentary shines a light on how this is playing out in both the US and China.
As much as solar is catching the attention of both Treehuggers and offgrid-ers alike, there are still a lot of differing opinions about it from the general public, because while most of us would agree that reduced energy costs and decreased emissions are good things, there is a certain contingent of people who believe that the move toward a cleaner energy system is too dependent on subsidies and incentives that aren't worth the cost. But people much smarter than me have already debunked most, if not all, of those renewable energy myths and pointed out the historical and current policies that also prop up conventional energy technologies, so I believe that argument is a complete non-starter.
However, the mainstream view of solar is still missing a wide variety of information on both the direct and indirect impacts of an increase in the adoption of solar energy, so I'm really looking forward to the public launch of a new documentary, which is slated to be released nationwide on the first of April. This film, titled Catching the Sun, is directed by the up-and-coming filmmaker Shalini Kantayya, whose work crosses both "documentary and fiction genres to explore human rights at the intersection of water, food, and energy."
"The oil economy has created monopolies and concentrated wealth and power in the hands of the few. I was fascinated by the idea that solar power could democratize and decentralize energy in a way that rebuilds the ladder of economic opportunity." - Shalini Kantayya
Here's the trailer:
"Catching the Sun follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry and sheds light on the path to an economically and environmentally sustainable future. Through personal stories that illuminate the universal theme of hope for a better life, and set against the struggle to build a ‘green economy’, Catching the Sun will engage new audiences in solutions to climate change and income inequality."
Find out where you can view the film by going to the website, where you can sign up to get updates about screenings. And if, like me, you think that solar can have a big positive impact on not just our energy systems, but also on local economies, consider signing the Petition for Solar Rights (no affiliation with the film):
"Every American has the right to generate his or her own power from the sun. We should be able to go solar without being charged unfair fees. And we should receive full, fair credit from our utilities for that valuable solar power. We urge our state leaders to stand strong for innovation, progress and customer choice by defending these solar rights."