All across the United States, rooftop solar panels are popping up on homes, businesses and schools like mushrooms in a forest, and utility-scale solar projects are bringing huge amounts of clean energy into our communities. Why? Well, among other things, consumer choice in America is something that we all hold very sacred.
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The U.S. solar industry is booming. "U.S. [Residential] Installation Frequency Hits One Every Four Minutes," according to a recent article in PV-tech.org. That puts the US residential solar industry on track to install 128,000 systems in 2013, according to GTM Research (Q213). We have come a long way since 2007 when I sold the first residential solar power purchase agreement to a homeowner in Redwood City, CA.
When the U.S. Department of Energy held its first Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2002, Americans were growing nervous about energy issues for the first time in decades. Natural gas prices had skyrocketed, California had just recovered from rolling blackouts, and the events of 9/11 and our continued dependence on foreign energy sources were at the foreground in our minds.
Every day, I talk to groups and reporters about the amazing growth of solar all across the United States. But for the past week, there has been more buzz than ever about America’s solar industry because of the decision by President Obama to install solar panels on the White House.
Solar power is one of the cleanest, safest, and most abundant domestic energy sources available. In addition to helping power our homes, schools, and businesses, the U.S. solar industry strives to be a leader in sustainability among energy producers by ensuring environmental and social responsibility along the entire solar supply chain.
August 14, 2003, was a dark day in U.S. history – in a lot of different ways.
It started off as a quiet Thursday. Then a single tree limb in Ohio came crashing down, touching off a power outage which cascaded across eight states and parts of Canada, leaving 50 million Americans in the Northeast in the dark. Commuters were stranded. Businesses closed. People sweltered in the heat. And the U.S. economy took a huge beating, losing an estimated $10 billion.
I’m looking forward to speaking at Senator Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit next week in Las Vegas. I’ll be on the “21st Century Energy Market” panel where we’ll address what can be done to make the grid friendlier to renewables while ensuring long-term access to affordable and reliable electricity.
For the first time in decades, Congress appears serious about tackling the issue of comprehensive tax reform. But for the solar industry, there’s a real risk is that some members of Congress will try to eliminate all renewable energy tax credits in order to reduce corporate tax rates--and that could roll back the tremendous progress solar has made in recent years.
This week, the Solar Energy Industries Association joined other renewable energy advocates, businesses, and environmental groups to urge the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to reject a new proposal from Xcel Energy that would discourage net-metered solar energy growth in its territory.
Following months of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, it appears the Senate will begin debate soon on critically important legislation which could help American consumers, businesses and the federal government to save hundreds of millions of dollars each year by using less energy. And using less energy gives us a big leg up in the fight against climate change.