U.S. Budget Request Includes $302.4 Million For Solar Program


President Barack Obama's $28.4 billion fiscal year 2011 (FY 2011) budget request includes investments in clean energy and the elimination of subsidies for the oil, coal and gas industries.

Specifically, the president's FY 2011 budget request includes the following:

  • Lending authority to support approximately $40 billion in loan guarantees for innovative clean energy programs;

  • More than $108 million in new funding to advance and expand research in the areas of wind, solar and geothermal energies;

  • More than $217 million in new funding for science research and discovery, including an additional $40 million for the existing Energy Frontier Research Centers program and $107 million for Energy Innovation Hubs; and

  • $300 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy.

In developing this budget, several program reductions and terminations are proposed, including eliminating more than $2.7 billion in tax subsidies for the oil, coal and gas industries. This step is estimated to generate more than $38.8 billion in revenue for the federal government over the course of the next 10 years.

The budget includes $302.4 million for the solar energy program, a 22% increase from last year's spending, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The Department of Energy's (DOE) Building Technologies budget includes another $7.2 million for solar heating and cooling, also an increase over last year.

These increases comes at a time when most of the government received substantial budget reductions, SEIA notes. In addition to the solar program, the president has requested a $5 billion expansion the Section 48C manufacturing tax credit that was passed in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. SEIA expects to see the expansion of this program pass as part of the Jobs Bill now under development.
The breakdown of the DOE Solar Energy Program is as follows:

  • $152 million for PV, increased from $128.5 million;

  • $98.2 million for concentrating solar power (CSP) – including $50 million for a new demonstration program – increased from $49.7 million;Â

  • $30.7 million for systems integration, increased from $23.3 million; and

  • $21.5 million for market transformation, decreased from $23.5 million.

The DOE Building Technologies Program includes $7.3 million for solar heating and cooling. Transmission-related budget requests include continued support for renewable generators and reliability, as well as an additional $6.4 million for ‘permitting, siting and analysis’ to educate states, regional grid operators, federal agencies and help assist in modernizing the electric grid. The Department of the Interior budget includes a total of $73 million investment in renewable energy.

SOURCES: The White House, SEIA

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