Over 500 solar industry leaders from hundreds of businesses have signed and issued a joint letter to the White House, endorsing limits on carbon pollution from power plants and advocating that solar energy become a focal point of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan.
‘As solar power installers, manufacturers, designers, aggregators, product suppliers and consultants, we welcome the unveiling of the Clean Power Plan,’ reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment America. ‘This plan is a critical step toward transforming our energy system to one that protects our health and environment, and that of our children."
In June, the EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, which would require power plants to cut carbon emissions 30% nationwide below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan is open for public comment until Dec. 1 and is slated to be finalized next year.
Solar businesses and groups say they are ready and eager to help meet and exceed the pollution reductions proposed by the EPA.
"As a nation, we're poised to finally turn the page from sooty smokestacks to sunnier skies – and America's solar energy industry is uniquely positioned to play a key role in the fight against climate change," says Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association." Look at what's happening today. There's enough solar in the country right now to power more than 3 million American homes, and we're just scratching the surface of our potential."
Environment America says solar power is on the rise across in the U.S., where every four minutes another home or business goes solar. According to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed roughly 143,0000 people in 2013, adding more new employees last year than any other sector.
"Solar creates jobs and spurs job training at all levels and in all communities and grows the economies of solar-friendly states," says Polly Shaw, vice president for government affairs at SunEdison." And clear, long-term policy signals like the EPA's Clean Power Plan give manufacturing leaders like SunEdison the confidence to invest in new technology and infrastructure innovations."
As solar power capacity in the U.S. has grown, its costs have fallen dramatically, dropping 51% since the start of 2011, according to Environment America. The group says declining prices are one reason solar is becoming more accessible, more versatile and more equipped to play a big role in carbon pollution reductions.
"Solar power delivers significant environmental and financial benefits to consumers," comments Vikram Aggarwal, CEO of EnergySage, an online marketplace for solar power systems." The timing for this proposal couldn't be better. The Clean Power Plan will help the solar industry to reach more households more quickly, accelerating and amplifying solar's impact on preventing climate change."
Rob Sargent, energy program director with Environment America, adds," The climate crisis demands that we fulfill our vast potential for solar energy, and businesses across the nation are ready to rise to the challenge."
The letter and signers may be viewed here.