Mark Tauscher grew up in Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he played football. Eventually, he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and spent about ten years in the NFL playing for them. He also won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers.
Today, he is retired from football and has a foundation that helps children learn to read. He also recently took up the solar power cause in an editorial published in the Cap Times. Let’s take a look at some of his comments. He mentioned visiting with solar power industry representatives and what he discovered, “We learned people have benefited from solar panel prices falling nearly 70 percent in five years and no-money-down solar leases have driven hundreds of thousands of homeowners (in other states) to choose to generate a portion of their own power. And people want it — a recent bipartisan poll showed 93 percent of Wisconsinites believe they should have the right to put solar on their homes and pay for it however they choose.”
Apparently, Wisconsin as a state spends a lot money importing energy resources, “But rather than embracing solar and letting it compete for consumer choice, our utilities are proposing billing changes that will favor business as usual, continuing to send our dollars — $12 billion annually — out of state to import energy resources.”
Here he talks about how only a tiny part of Wisconsin’s electricity comes from solar power, “Today, just 0.02 percent of Wisconsin’s electricity comes from solar. Let’s grow that number to 1 percent. Amazingly, this simple, fair and conservative change would create thousands of jobs in Wisconsin’s solar industry.
Let’s have the discussion — in a way, let’s give solar a shot at being a walk-on to Wisconsin’s energy team.” He says walk-on because he did not get recruited to play football at Wisconsin, he tried out or ‘walked on’.
The Solar Energy Industries Association says Wisconsin has enough solar power for 2700 homes. Wind power is obviously quite different from solar power, so this is not the best comparison, but one of Wisconsin’s neighbor state’s Iowa generates over 25% of its power from wind.
So, it is possible for a Midwestern state to develop a renewable energy source and produce electricity in an more sustainable way. Tauscher mentioned that solar power costs have dropped dramatically recently and he is correct. Rooftop solar power is at the most affordable level it has ever been. So, again he is correct to advocate for more solar power at this current time.
Wisconsin does have a more northern location, but it also has good solar power potential. Environment Wisconsin has written that it has more solar power than world leader Germany, “Wisconsin has more potential for solar power than Germany, the world leader in solar energy. By harnessing the power of the sun we can protect clean air, counter fossil-fuel pollution, and lay the foundation for a clean energy economy. In fact, Wisconsin is becoming an example across the country of how solar energy can be a bright spot in a dim economy. All over the state, solar manufacturers, installers and distributors are establishing themselves as engines for job creation — Wisconsin’s solar industry ranks fifth nationally in overall jobs.”
Image Credit: Mike Morbeck