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Going Green: 2040 Talks At UNF Promote Solar Energy Investing

U.S. Green Building Council

The North Florida chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is hosting its 2040 Talks Thursday, Dec. 5, at the University of North Florida's University Center.

The event will explore how the First Coast can become a green, sustainable region by the year 2040.

Hazel Henderson, author and founder of Ethical Markets Media, said the transition away from last century's fossil-fuel based economy is shifting very rapidly toward solar energy.

Henderson said the Council's Green Transition Scoreboard measures private investments going into green technology all over the world.

Since 2007, $5.2 trillion has been invested.

Henderson said, if the current level of private investment continues at a rate of $1 trillion every year, by the year 2020 we will have exited the fossil fuel-based economy and enter the "Solar Age."

In terms of solar power policies, Florida significantly lags behind other states in providing incentives for green energy.

The Solar Energy Industries Association reported that Florida ranked among the top three states in the nation for solar potential in 2012, but ranked 17th in solar capacity.

SEIA reported this may be due to the fact that Florida law does not allow power purchase agreements and has no renewable portfolio standard.

Henderson said many customers who rely on big utilities are now simply bypassing them.

She said solar energy panels are popping up on schools, private homes and factories across America, and people are switching to LED lights.

Henderson said the Scoreboard shows how the acceleration of investment in green technologies are rapidly bringing down energy costs.

She said solar power is now cheaper than it ever was, and is now competitive with the electricity from power plants, which run off oil, coal or nuclear power.

"The amount of private money going into solar is pushing the politicians in the right direction," Henderson said.

She said 191 countries last year pledged to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and shift to a green economy.

"This transition is going to be accelerated much more than anyone realizes," she said.