Across the American southeast, people have a growing affinity for renewable energy and solar in particular. On the right side of the political spectrum, it taps values around free market competition and property rights; on the left, it taps concerns around climate change and energy equity. But as polling shows the public is for expanding access to solar in places like North Carolina and Virginia, this support is threatened by concerted opposition by utility companies. Utilities across the country have been pouring resources into PR offensives that aim to drive a wedge in popular support for solar by positioning it as costly and benefitting elites at the expense of regular ratepayers, particularly low-income ones.
As similar offensives began rolling out in the states where the Southern Environmental Law Center works, including in North Carolina where utilities were working to swing farmers against solar, the organization recognized the need for a campaign to help frame solar around the benefits it offers to everyday people and their communities, and the potential to scale up these opportunities through progressive policy. Learn more about SELC's video storytelling project, Stories of Solar, and how it engaged non-traditional audiences around renewables in the southeast.