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America’s Solar Industry Looks to Play Key Role in Grid Modernization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reacting to a new report issued today by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says its members are well-positioned to assist efforts to modernize the U.S. electric grid and to make it more resilient in the future when pounded by severe weather.

SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch released the following statement after the report’s release:

“Ten years after the largest blackout in U.S. history, which blanketed eight states in the Northeast in the summer of 2003 and left 50 million Americans in the dark, solar is more important than ever to our nation’s energy security and grid reliability.  We look forward to working with the White House, DOE and Congress to leverage ways that solar can add to the grid’s resiliency and overall long-term effectiveness.

“As more and more nuclear and coal plants are mothballed, America’s solar energy industry is doing its part to make up for some of that lost generating capacity.  Today, more than 30 utility-scale, clean energy solar projects are under construction, putting thousands of electricians, steelworkers and laborers to work and helping to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.  These facilities, along with rooftop solar on homes, businesses and schools, will generate electricity for generations to come.  In fact, by the end of next year, distributed generation from residences alone is expected to top 3,000 megawatts (MW) for the first time ever.

“All totaled, there is now more than 8,500 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity installed in the U.S. – enough to power more than 1.3 million American homes.  What’s more, in the first quarter of 2013, more than 48 percent all new electricity added to the grid was solar.  In addition, innovative solar heating and cooling systems are offering American consumers cost-efficient, effective options for meeting their energy needs.

“Today, solar employs nearly 120,000 Americans at more than 5,600 companies, most of which are small businesses spread across the United States, making solar one of the fastest growing industries in America.  Part of this amazing growth is attributed to the fact that the cost of a solar system has dropped by nearly 40 percent over the past two years, making solar more affordable than ever.

“Simply put, solar is critically important to our nation’s energy security and national security – and we’re doing our part to fight climate change, too.  By anyone’s standards, that’s a win-win for America.”

About SEIA:
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Media Contacts:
Jamie Nolan, jnolan@seia.org, 202.556.2886
Ken Johnson, kjohnson@seia.org, 202.556.2885

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