At COP15 briefing, US solar industry leaders highlight national policies needed to
accelerate solar deployment
COPENHAGEN – Leaders representing the U.S. solar energy industry reported the potential of solar energy to meet 15 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2020 at an UNFCCC press briefing in the Bella Center, the hub of activity at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP15). The “Expanding Solar Energy in the United States” briefing was hosted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and featured U.S. solar industry leaders outlining the Solar Bill of Rights legislation needed to rapidly deploy solar energy to fight climate change and create jobs.
“The evidence is clear on the problem of climate change: we need to do more and do it quicker,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Solar energy is our immediate solution. The solar industry is ready now to do more, do it faster and create jobs. The only things holding solar back are antiquated policies developed over the last century that favor polluting sources of energy. Ultimately, it’s important to have a price on pollution, but U.S. policymakers need to enact the provisions in the Solar Bill of Rights to make an immediate difference in addressing climate change.”
In a report released jointly with solar industry groups representing more than 90 countries around the world, SEIA presented an accelerated solar deployment scenario for the United States to meet 15 percent of electricity needs by 2020. Twelve percent would come from solar electric power generated by photovoltaic solar panels and concentrating solar power plants. Another 3 percent of electricity would be offset by solar thermal (solar water heating) systems.
The report also noted the key policies needed for the industry to scale up and compete effectively. These policies are conveyed in the Solar Bill of Rights, unveiled by Resch. The platform lays out eight basic rights that give the solar industry equal access to the electricity marketplace and levels the playing field with the fossil fuel industries:
- The right to put solar on our homes and businesses
- The right to connect our solar energy systems to the grid
- The right to net meter and receive at least full retail rates
- The right to a fair competitive environment
- The right to equal access to public lands
- The right to build and interconnect new transmission lines
- The right to buy solar electricity from utilities
- Consumers have the right to the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry
“If you’re one of the 92 percent of the American public that supports greater use of solar, I encourage you to go to www.SolarBillofRights.com, become a signatory, and let your elected officials know that their constituents want pro-solar policies,” Resch added.
The industry estimates that by 2020 more than 880,000 new solar jobs would be created in the US while reducing total energy emissions by 10 percent (nearly 600 million metric tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions would be avoided annually).
Archived webcast of “Expanding Solar Energy in the United States” briefing: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_15/virtual_presentation/items/5092.php
Solar Bill of Rights in detail: http://www.SolarBillofRights.org
Seizing the Solar Solution: Combating Climate Change through accelerated deployment: Dec. 14 report by SEIA and EPIA. http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/SEIA-COP15%20Report_HR.pdf
SEIA COP15 Clearinghouse - http://seia.org/cs/COP15
National Polls Shows More Than Nine Out of 10 Americans Want Solar Now: http://www.seia.org/cs/news_detail?pressrelease.id=638