Our Research

Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America's Solar Energy Revolution

Solar power is on the rise across America—increasing 200-fold in the United States since 2002—and major cities are helping to lead this clean energy revolution. Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution shows that cities from every region of the U.S. are driving solar development with strong public policies – reaping important benefits for the environment, public health, and the economy. By building local solar power, cities can keep more of their energy budget at home and create good local jobs.

(April 2014)
Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. State governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals – government-operated websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes. Following the Money 2014, our fifth annual ranking of states' progress toward online spending transparency, documents the progress states have made in the past year in empowering citizens to track state spending.

(April 2014)
Moving America Forward: State and Federal Leadership Is Producing Results in the Fight against Global Warming

As the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter of global warming pollution, American leadership in the fight against global warming is crucial. Fortunately, even in the absence of a comprehensive response from Congress, local and state governments and the Obama administration have taken leadership on global warming. Moving America Forward finds that a set of clean energy policies adopted by states and the federal government and in effect from 2007 to 2012 reduced U.S. carbon dioxide pollution by 162 million metric tons in 2012. That is equal to annual emissions from 34 million vehicles, or all the passenger cars and trucks in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and Colorado combined.

(March 2014)
Debt Collectors, Debt Complaints: The CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database Gets Real Results for Consumers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades. Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, to educate consumers about these practices, and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them. This is the fifth in a series of reports that review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints about debt collection, with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with debt collectors and documenting the role of the CFPB in helping consumers successfully resolve their complaints.


(February 2014)
Solar on Superstores: How Commercial Rooftops Can Boost Clean Energy Production in North Carolina

Although North Carolina has been a national solar leader, one of the state's biggest, largely untapped potential markets for solar power is large commercial buildings, such as "big box" retail stores, supercenters and shopping malls. Tapping into this solar resource to boost North Carolina’s solar capacity can have substantial benefits for the state’s environment, public health and economy. Solar on Superstores quantifies the solar power potential of North Carolina's commercial buildings and argues for strong solar policies that can help the state take advantage of this clean energy resource.

(February 2014)