Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten Million Solar Roofs Bill Passes Energy Committee

If you haven’t heard by now, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee advanced a big piece of solar energy legislation last week (prior to the killing of the climate and clean energy bill). Vermont senator and Green Jobs Committee chairman Bernie Sanders got his “Ten Million Solar Roofs” bill through the influential Energy Committee on Wednesday with a vote of 13-10.

This bill, as you might guess, is aimed at getting 10 million new solar systems on U.S. roofs in the next 10 years.

If the legislation is eventually approved, it is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions immensely.

“We are losing the race for solar jobs, and falling behind other nations in solar installations,” said Sanders. “That must change. The question is whether we will take advantage of clean, renewable solar energy or let other countries create solar jobs using technology developed in America. I think we can lead. This bill will help us do that.”

Sanders also mentioned the deflating fact that though the U.S. invented the solar cell, countries like Japan, Germany, and Spain have surged ahead of us in the use of this technology.

If the bill goes through, it will offer $250 million for competitive grants in 2012 and $500 million a year after that until 2021.

The U.S. Department of Energy claims that combined with existing solar energy incentives, the 10 Million Solar Roofs bill could exceed its goal of 10 million new solar systems in 10 years.

Though a comprehensive climate and energy bill is now dead, this bill focused on one of the cleanest technologies in the world is alive and worthy of great support. And you can help it along! Contact your Senators today and tell them to support this bill.



Debra said...

Yes, we as a Nation are lagging behind Europe and other countries. We need to wake up and start doing more to utilize renewable energy. Why do we always act upon crisis, instead of anticipating and implementing before a crisis? The almighty $$$$. For too long we have allowed the politicians and large corporations, like oil companies be the ones to make all of our decisions. Wake up America. Insist on using solar, hydro, geothermal and wind power.

Neeraj said...

I'm curious to know what exactly this bill entails and how they plan to go about it. What sort of subsidy scheme is being promoted here? Any more details I can get on this?

Maureen McHale said...


The Bill is designed to encourage the installation of 10 million solar systems over a 10 year period in the US and is a measure that is welcomed by the majority of the US Solar Industry.

As currently written, the measure would authorize $250 million for competitive grants in 2012 and additional funding through 2021. According to the Department of Energy, the Bill (when added to existing incentives) could meet or even exceed the 10 million solar systems goal over the ten year period.

According to Senator Sanders, the legislation would help finance the installation of up to 40,000 Megawatts of new solar energy. He says that in the process, the cost of generating solar power would fall and the US would become the world's leading market for electricity generated from the sun.

Hope this helps!