10 million solar rooftops

July 2, 2008


As reported in BUZZFLASH
by Amy Weiss


While the Bush administration put a two-year moratorium on solar energy projects on public land last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and colleagues drafted a bill to promote the creation of 10 million new solar rooftops in private homes and businesses over the next ten years.


The bill, co-sponsored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Arlen Specter (R-PA), John Warner (R-VA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), provides incentives for solar unit installation, covering about half the average costs.


The proposed units are photovoltaic systems that use panels to turn sunlight into energy. The moratorium suspended both photovoltaic and concentrating solar plants–concentrating plants use mirrors to direct light to power steam turbines.


Sen. Sanders said in a statement Tuesday that the benefits of the bill, known as the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008, would be numerous:


We can reverse greenhouse gas emissions. We can break our dependence on foreign oil. Transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels can be a tremendous boom for the United States economy and create millions of good-paying jobs. This is a win, win, win situation.


Solar energy companies have been critical of the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to halt new solar endeavors, understanding that a review is necessary but claiming that freezing the process altogether doesn’t make sense.


“It doesn’t make any sense … This could completely stunt the growth of the industry,” one solar company executive told the New York Times.


The director of a renewable energy trade group said in the same article, “I think it’s good to have a plan … but I don’t think we need to stop development in its tracks.”

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sen. Sanders, told BuzzFlash that the bill was in the works before the Bureau of Land Management’s moratorium. He also emphasized the importance of solar in solving current energy and environmental issues.


“Clearly we’re at a time with oil prices setting records practically everyday and with the prospect of global warming that is going on,” he said. “Solar energy is going to be a key part of responding to both of those forces.”


Briggs anticipates the response once the bill is passed will be very positive. He said the experience in state programs that the bill is modeled after, like those in New Jersey and California, has been “that the technology is there, it’s just a matter of making it available and at competitive prices. People want to do this and I think the impact would be dramatic.”


Sen. Sanders, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will participate in a hearing in Albuquerque, NM on Wednesday led by Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to “consider the value and examine the progress of electricity generation from concentrating solar power.” Briggs expects the Bureau of Land Management’s moratorium will come up at the hearing.


Our perspective:


Over the next 8 to 10 years electric demand is projected to increase at a rate of 1.5% a year. The dilemma is that we will not be able to provide the needed electric to support the additional demand. The state of NJ has implemented an energy master plan to reduce demand by 20% by the year 2020. They have also established a goal of having 22.5% of the electric provided by alternative sources, solar being one of them. Gov. Corzine recognizes that alternative energy is the future and  have drafted plans to provide incentives that will dramatically defray the cost of participating.


NJ has established a SREC ( solar renewable energy certificate ) program that will pay $711 for every 1000kwh of electric you produce. The SCEC are a commodity paid by the local electric provider for producing your own electric and payments are guaranteed for 15 year.  NJ is also looking to provide additional incentives to homeowners to offset the $2000 cap on the federal tax credit.


PA is looking to put their foot into the arena and details of their incentive program should be out shortly. Stay tuned for we will be reporting on them as soon as they become available.


To learn more about the solar opportunities in NJ and PA email george@hbsadvantage.com


Hutchinson Business Solutions


Your CFO on The Go


Creating Opportunities Today … Defining Savings for Tomorrow


Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

One Response to “10 million solar rooftops”

  1. preplan said

    I used to be a big fan of net-metering (which is what you are talking about). While such a plan would work, it would generate about 1/5 to 1/10th the energy a similar expenditure would produce if invested in large-scale projects. I won’t do the whole song and dance here but you can find out about a plan that will cost the govt. nothing and save individuals tens of thousands of dollars and cost them less to get into. The book is Profitable Renewable Energy:It Can Be Done, the web site is ProfitableRenewableEnergy.com.

    The plan is everything you describe here but works sort of like an energy co-op and is far more financially doable.

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