Solar industry applauds EPA’s clean power plan
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Calling President Obama’s signature climate change policy both “historic” and “critically needed,” the solar industry issued its strong support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, scheduled to be released on Monday, urging states to consider solar as a clean, affordable, reliable and carbon-free solution.
“Solar energy is the most sensible compliance option for states under the Clean Power Plan. Solar works in all 50 states, has zero carbon emissions, creates more jobs per megawatt (MW) than any other technology, and can be deployed cost-effectively and quickly - all while improving grid reliability,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Just look at the facts: Today, solar energy is the fastest-growing source of energy in America and there’s a reason. States want clean, reliable and affordable energy and in today’s market, that is solar. This growth has allowed the United States to create more than 150,000 new solar jobs in the last decade alone. By the end of 2016, there will be enough solar energy in the U.S. to power 8 million homes, offsetting nearly 45 million metric tons of carbon emissions.”
As part of a balanced energy portfolio, Resch said solar can improve grid reliability and provide significant relief to existing energy infrastructure by reducing transmission losses and relieving grid congestion. Investments in clean energy, including solar, will also spur good-paying job growth and significant benefits to local and state economies.
“SEIA has spent the past several years meeting with EPA officials and educating them on the growth potential for solar and its ability to help states meet their carbon reduction goals,” Resch said. “Over the last five years, the solar industry has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. We will continue to expand production and lower costs to meet the increased demand from states under the Clean Power Plan, which means solid, well-paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
The final rule will include an incentive period to encourage states to take advantage of solar energy's falling costs and rapid deployment early, which Resch said emphasizes the significant role the EPA believes solar will play in helping states cut their carbon emissions over the next 15 years.
“As a nation, it is time to replace our aging, dirty energy infrastructure with clean, reliable 21st century energy technologies, like solar. And as an industry, we look forward to solar helping states achieve an optimal long-term strategy for their economy and environment,” Resch continued.
For states looking for step-by-step guidance on how to incorporate renewable energy into their state compliance plans, SEIA and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) jointly published “A Handbook for the States: Incorporating Renewable Energy into State Compliance Plans for EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”
- Today, the U.S. solar industry employs nearly 174,000 Americans – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into the economy.
- Utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) power plants are now being contracted and installed at a lower cost than conventional power plants that are fueled by coal or natural gas.
- The average cost for a residential solar system is now 50 percent lower than it was in 2010.
- The average American family will save an estimated $85 on their energy bill annually under the Clean Power Plan by 2030.
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Companies: Solar Energy Industries Association