During the keynote address at the 2014 Solar Power International (SPI) trade show, held in Las Vegas this week, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz called solar ‘critical to the United States’ when it comes to meeting future carbon-reduction goals.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which co-sponsored the event, Moniz said, ‘Cost reduction, as we have seen dramatically in solar energy, is very much a part of shaping our clean energy future. We've seen costs of modules decline by nearly 80 percent.’
‘Some of the world's largest companies are deploying solar on a massive scale – Apple, FedEx, GM, Google, Walmart and many more,’ he added. SEIA says Moniz also pointed out that 85% of the U.S.' energy, with a big assist from renewable energy sources such as solar, is now homegrown.
In conclusion, Moniz said, ‘We are big on solar. The fundamental case is extremely strong, built on both technology and business model innovation, but we have to keep working together to grow solar in this country.’
SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch applauded Moniz for his support of clean energy.
‘With his broad knowledge of solar – and the benefits it provides to both our economy and environment – Secretary Moniz is uniquely positioned to help our industry continue its remarkable growth," said Resch.
During SPI's opening session, Resch announced that SEIA is launching a national campaign to extend the 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC) past 2016. The mission will start in earnest in 2015, when a new Congress is sworn in.
And it appears the ITC campaign might have a powerful supporter: At SPI's general session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said key public policies, such as the ITC, are paying huge dividends for the U.S. economy.
‘These incentives help to make solar more affordable to consumers and more attractive to investors. Letting these critically important incentives expire is not an option,’ said Reid.
The senator went on to point out the rapid growth of solar in his home state of Nevada. According to SEIA, there are 480 MW of solar energy installed in Nevada, making it sixth in the nation in installed solar capacity.
‘Sen. Reid has worked tirelessly to advance the cause of clean energy in America – especially when it comes to solar,’ commented Resch. ‘Through his outstanding leadership and support of smart, effective public policies, solar continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in America, creating thousands of jobs, pumping billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and helping to protect the environment. This incredible growth will certainly be part of Sen. Reid's rich legacy.’