Today, President Obama announced at a Walmart in California that 300 leading U.S. companies have taken the “solar pledge,” committing to install nearly 1 gigawatt (GW) of new solar as part of their business plans. For America’s solar energy industry, this is like getting a triple-A investment rating from Moody’s or Standard and Poor’s. Solar has become a ‘street-smart’ investment. These companies are expanding their use of solar because it makes sense from both a business and social responsibility viewpoint. Having worked closely with both the Administration and the private sector to increase the use of clean, reliable solar nationwide, SEIA applauds this exciting, new initiative, and we look forward to assisting commercial businesses, home builders, rural coops, governmental entities and America’s financial community in bringing these new solar installations online.
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President & Chief Executive Officer
In the last eight years as President and CEO of SEIA, Rhone Resch lead the industry's charge on the creation of the 30 percent investment tax credit, the 1603 Treasury Program, and over 18 other provisions that have helped grow the U.S. solar industry from a 52 MW/year market in 2004 to nearly a 2,000 MW/year market today. Full bio>>
As expected, a non-partisan committee of experts released its 148-page National Climate Assessment (NCA) report today, offering the starkest warning yet about the dangers of climate change. After reading the report, I was left with one inescapable conclusion: We’re in real trouble unless we dramatically ramp up our efforts to curb pollution.
In 1970, the first Earth Day was held to demonstrate broad global support for environmental protection. At the time, the world’s population stood at 3.63 billion. Today, that number has more than doubled.
Well, guess what? Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since then, too. Simply put, the world is in real danger, locked in on a collision course with disaster.
According to new industry data, a growing sector of the U.S. solar energy industry has reached a major new milestone, with 5 million square feet of building-integrated solar air heating collectors now installed in North America. These systems represent 250 megawatts (MW) of thermal energy and displace nearly 100,000 tons of CO2 each year from the atmosphere.
What would Alexandre Edmond Becquerel be thinking now? In 1839, at the age of just 19, Becquerel built the world’s first photovoltaic panel, later inspiring the imaginations of millions of people worldwide, including legendary scientist Albert Einstein. Still, it took another 115 years before Bell Labs invented the first modern silicon solar cell. By comparison, it’s no stretch to say that the solar timeline has rocketed forward at warp speed in recent years.
With the coldest winter in two decades gripping much of the country this year – and wild price swings for natural gas rattling the markets, not to mention American consumers – it’s easy for many people to overlook the “hot start” in 2014 for solar energy.
But so far this year, it’s been good news followed by even more good news for the U.S. solar industry.
On January 24, 1974 – with Richard Nixon in the White House, but knee deep in the Watergate scandal – five people met in the noisy basement of the Washington Hilton to discuss the possibility of establishing an association for the nascent solar energy industry.
They agreed to create "a broad-based trade association supporting prompt, orderly, widespread and open growth of solar energy resources." This was the beginning of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) four decades of successful advocacy.
Today, I was asked to take part in an online discussion on Capitol Hill as to whether Congress should extend renewable energy tax credits? Well, in some ways, this discussion is putting the cart before the horse. Most importantly, are incentives for renewable energy sources achieving their goals? In the case of solar, the answer is a resounding yes.