The Fight for Solar Rights is the Greatest Social Justice Movement of Our Time Posted on Mar 18, 2024

Guest Blog Post By Angela Lipanovich, Attorney & Founder of Estriatus Law

Do people and businesses want self-sufficient power generation for their personal and professional needs? Do people want this now?

When a fire consumes your power pole, you want your own power supply.

During a utility-issued Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), you want your own power supply.

In the aftermath of a storm that disrupts your power lines, you want your own power supply.

When a hurricane, tornado or natural disaster takes down the electric grid, you want your own power supply.

In times of political unrest or war, you want your own power supply.

Do homes and businesses deserve the same amount of security as our military bases?[1]

The movement to own solar power supplies is the most significant social justice movement of our time.[2] This social justice movement aims to address the unequal division of access to ownership of electric power generation. Historically, the right to own electric power generation has been monopolized by large investor and publicly owned utilities. In 2022 for example, 92.56% of California’s electric generation was utility owned versus 7.44% owned by distributed solar PV owners.[3]

The redistribution of power generation resources from utilities to individuals would dramatically affect how people’s lives and businesses turn out. A truly fair distribution of power generation resources secures people’s access to directly impact their climate footprint, secure their energy resilience for the safety of themselves and their businesses, and invest in their own future. This is not just a re-distribution of resources to the rich. Ownership of power generation resources by individuals and businesses is often accomplished by a financing mechanism, such as a mortgage-backed security or private or bank owned financing product. Simply put, the purchase of a solar PV system is as straightforward as getting a loan to buy a car, and as smart as investing in home ownership.

As the impacts of climate change are intensifying, people’s desire to own solar power is escalating. [4]The autonomy and security of owning enough clean energy to meet all of one’s energy needs from a fully electric lifestyle is security.

Policymakers and advocacy groups working on the urgency to decrease global carbon emissions have a tough job weighing what policies will work in time to stop climate change’s worst effects. Can full-scale support of individual power generation ownership occur simultaneous with full-scale support of utility owned renewable generation supplies? Individual homeownership does not harm the interests of real estate developers. One industry is not harmed by the other industry – both are valid policy goals.

If a fire was raging towards your house twenty miles away, would you protect your home and also call the firefighters? Climate change solutions involve policy choices that address large-scale and personal solutions. 

Policy-makers must meet the needs of interests that often compete. Seventeen years ago, when I was working on getting the federal Investment Tax Credit for residential solar ownership uncapped in Washington DC, I was surprised by the level of infighting between commercial and residential solar interests.[5] The commercial solar companies saw individual ownership of solar as a risk to the viability of their business models. Many of those companies depended upon commercial solar tax advantages. This same “renewable energy industry infighting” is occurring between utility scale renewables and “rooftop solar” (distributed energy solar).  

When it comes to climate policies, this quote from Tom Hanks applies: “If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great.” Policies that dramatically promote individual ownership and utility ownership of renewable power generation supplies transcend the mere fight against climate change; they are about ensuring personal safety, enhancing quality of life and re-distributing resources in an equitable manner.

A rigid adherence to traditional electric grid management parallels contextualist interpretations of archaic writings. As society evolves, some historical contexts are invariably lost. Many churches have embraced the social justice movement to own energy generation supplies as a spiritual cause that addresses issues of climate care and creation care.[6]

The social justice movement to redistribute power generation ownership has roots in people’s desire for independence from the control of large industries and bureaucracy. The movement is rooted in the desire to empower individuals and businesses to make their own decisions -- a freedom from the control of those who presume superiority.

The question is whether state and federal policies should prioritize making solar ownership more broadly accessible so that people can secure the preservation of their lives, cook and store their food, provide a warm and comfortable place to sleep for themselves, save money, and ensure the wellbeing of their children in the face of natural disasters, political unrest and PSPSs. The fight for solar rights is about equitably distributing resources that people need for their welfare making it the greatest social justice movement of our time.


[1] Hitchens, Kathy, U.S. Army Improves Resilience at Fort Cavazos with New Microgrid, Microgrid Knowledge (March 14, 2024) @
[2] “Social justice is a political and philosophical movement aiming for a more equal division of resources and opportunities. By addressing historical injustices and directing resources to underserved communities, social justice advocates hope to establish a more fair and equal society.” Quote from: Mollenkamp, D., Social Justice Meaning and Main Principles Explained” Investopedia (Feb 26, 2024) @,more%20fair%20and%20equal%20society
[3] In California for year-end 2022, the total utility-scale electric generation was 287,220 gigawatt-hours (GWh) (see data from the California Energy Commission at,from%2093%2C333%20GWh%20in%202021) as compared to 23,094 GWh owned by distributed PV solar owners. (see,%25)%20by%20utility%2Dscale%20thermal, Citing "Electricity Data Browser". U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. Department of Energy. March 28, 2018. Retrieved March 10, 2023).
[4] Hartman, Devin, A New Surge in Power Use Is Threatening U.S. Climate Goals, The New York Times (March 14, 2024) @
[5] The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343) included an eight-year extension of the commercial and residential solar ITC, eliminated the monetary cap for residential solar electric installations, and permitted utilities and companies paying the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to qualify for the credit. See full history of ITC @
[6] Ross, Lizzy. Across the country, houses of worship are going solar, Grist (Jan. 31, 2024) @