In 2021, ISSP will begin solar demonstration programs with Solar Dividends in schools globally starting with students in the United States and East Africa, at the elementary through college levels. Solar pilot systems will be constructed and placed on the school grounds (rooftop or ground mounted). Students selected for this Solar Dividends program will receive revenue streams created by selling electricity generated from solar panels dedicated to providing basic income. ISSP will work carefully with schools to develop the Global Solar Partnerships program, with solar projects benefiting the students and eventually the entire community. This single action will address Climate Change — with renewable energy development — and provide Unconditional Basic Income for youth and the impoverished.
Energy is fundamental to all economic activity, so lack of energy leaves people behind. The uneven distribution of fossil fuels on our planet has built enormous inequality into our economic systems. Solar energy gives us a unique opportunity to correct the inequality imposed by an unequal ownership of fossil fuel energy by making sure everyone has a stake in the new solar energy system.
There are not enough oil wells to go around, but there is enough sunshine for everyone. If we were to start over and design an energy system to serve all of humanity instead of the fortunate few, solar energy would be the natural choice. The sharing of solar energy is made possible by these four facts first stated in this book’s introduction:
- Solar energy is inexhaustible.
- Solar energy is available all over the world.
- Solar energy has economic value.
- No one owns the sun.
Because no one owns the sun, everyone has a right to a share of the energy from the sun. That our current economic system does not yet embrace this notion should be no great surprise, because that economy was built over the last two hundred years on a foundation of private ownership of fossil fuels. Now that old economic system is stressing the planet with global warming and ocean acidification, which in turn stress our civilization with the threat of collapse. We can survive in the long run only if we put in place new economic patterns based on carbon-free energy sources.
The program of solar dividends is one such new economic pattern. Solar panels convert the natural value contained in the sun’s rays into spendable money. And solar dividends can distribute that value fairly to all citizens of Planet Earth, creating a more stable and peaceful society.
Global Solar Partnerships is based on the Solar Dividends program, laid out in detail in Robert Stayton’s book Solar Dividends, published in 2019 by Sandstone Publishing. Learn more about this at solardividends.org.