SEIA - U.S. a "Sleeping Giant" for Solar Energy

Extension of Federal Tax Policy Vital to Realizing Economic Potential of Solar

WASHINGTON , D.C. -- Dr. Alex Marker, a research fellow for SCHOTT Solar, today provided expert testimony to the Commission on Security and Cooperation Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) regarding the economic impact of a robust solar industry in the U.S. Dr. Marker is also a director on the board of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Below are excerpts from his oral testimony.

Also today, John Stanton, executive vice president at SEIA, discussed U.S. renewable energy policy on a related but separate Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

“Not extending solar credits is an enormous tax increase that will cost American jobs," said Stanton. “Congress has an opportunity to act now to avoid a major disruption to the renewable energy sector that would put more than 115,000 jobs on the chopping block.”

Excerpts from Dr. Alex Marker’s testimony:

“In just one hour’s time, the amount of energy that the sun shines upon the earth’s surface exceeds the energy consumption of all mankind in an entire year. In the five minutes I’ll be speaking to you today, the sun shining upon the U.S. alone contains enough energy to satisfy America’s power demands for an entire month.

“Solar power has proven its strength through massive proliferation of solar technology in Germany, where they install eight times more PV annually than the U.S. Japan and Spain have both seen a recent surge in solar technology, thanks to aggressive and effective national policies. The same opportunity exists here in the U.S., to an even greater degree.

“The U.S. is a sleeping giant when it comes to solar energy. By extending the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), this giant will awaken.

“In 2007, U.S. PV installations increased by 45 percent. More than 4,000 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity is in the pipeline and scheduled to come on-line in the next five to ten years.

“The increase in solar energy adoption means an increase in jobs … On top of that, there will be an increased demand for electricians, plumbers, roofers, and engineers-potentially thousands of new jobs created each year.

“This is job growth for Americans, by Americans, for an industry that will benefit America … Rather than relying on fuel from abroad, the U.S. could become a clean energy leader.

“Renewable energy is domestic energy. Domestic energy not only means jobs for Americans, but it means reducing our dependence upon politically unstable regions of the world. Renewable energy is as much about energy security as it is about reducing greenhouse emissions and creating thousands of new jobs each year.

“We have the opportunity today to address the challenge of global warming while also growing our economy. All we need to do is harness the power of the sun.”

SCHOTT Solar, Inc., a subsidiary of the global SCHOTT group, is a leading provider of solar energy products world-wide. The company is currently constructing a PV and CSP receiver manufacturing facility in Albuquerque, NM that will employ up to 1,500 people. SCHOTT Solar estimates the company’s investment in New Mexico will reach $500 million and economic impact is forecast to exceed $1 billion. Learn more at

SEIA is the national trade association of solar energy manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contractors, installers, architects, consultants and marketers. Established in 1974, SEIA works to expand the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace. Learn more at

Dr. Alex Marker’s Oral Testimony, May 6:

Dr. Alex Marker’s Written Testimony, May 6:

EESI’s Panel: “ Can Renewable Energy Meet the Urgent Challenge of Climate Change?”

“Economic Impacts of the Tax Credit Expiration,” Navigant Consulting, Inc., Feb. 13:

,” Navigant Consulting, Inc., Feb. 13: “Big Oil’s Friends in the Senate”

New York Times Editorial– May 5

The Senate is still trying — but not hard enough. Three weeks ago, it approved a bipartisan measure that would authorize a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind and a multiyear extension of the investment tax credit for solar power ... So the burden remains with the Senate. And the choice for the senators, in particular the Republicans, is simply this: They can extract a few billion dollars from the ridiculously rich oil companies (Exxon alone made more than $40 billion last year), or they must explain to the American people why protecting the oil companies is more important than protecting the planet.

“Dumb as We Wanna Be” by Thomas Friedman

New York Times – April 30 
While all the presidential candidates were railing about lost manufacturing jobs in Ohio, no one noticed that America’s premier solar company, First Solar, from Toledo, Ohio, was opening its newest factory in the former East Germany — 540 high-paying engineering jobs — because Germany has created a booming solar market and America has not.

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