WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) applauded an ambitious solar power initiative announced today by the Department of Energy. Sanders plans to integrate much of the department’s plan into his “Ten Million Solar Roofs” legislation.
“I look forward to working with the Obama administration to incorporate elements of the new solar initiative into the Ten Million Solar Roofs Act to make the legislation even stronger,” Sanders said. “We have an opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and make America the world leader in solar energy.”
Sanders, a member of both the energy and environment committees, is the author of legislation that would spur much-needed investment in domestic renewable energy sources for American homes and businesses. During the last session of Congress, the senator’s “Ten Million Solar Roofs Act” passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and had 16 Senate cosponsors.
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today outlined his department’s “SunShot” initiative aimed at a 75 percent reduction by the end of the decade in the cost of installing solar panels.
The senator’s legislation in the last session of Congress featured a competitive grant program for states and local governments to encourage solar energy deployment and overcome barriers to solar access for homeowners, businesses, and schools. An analysis by the Department of Energy showed that Sanders’ proposal could double the number of American homes with solar power in one year.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the United States placed fourth in solar photovoltaic installations in 2009, behind Germany, Italy, and Japan. The United States has fallen behind other nations in solar panel manufacturing as well, with China now accounting for seven of the top ten solar manufacturers globally, while American solar manufacturers produce just six percent of solar system components worldwide.