This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 02, 2005

Solar Power Industry Roadmap Looks to a Brighter Solar Future

The U.S. solar energy industry released a report on January 26th that looks to the future of solar power in the United States. The report, titled "Our Solar Power Future: The U.S. Photovoltaic Industry Roadmap for 2030 and beyond," was unveiled by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) at a Capitol Hill briefing in Washington, D.C. Noting that the United States has lagged behind Europe and Japan in solar industry manufacturing and deployment, the Roadmap report calls for sustained, annually declining tax credits for solar deployment on homes and business. It also proposes modifying the Production Tax Credit to include solar power, establishing uniform net metering and interconnection standards, boosting federal procurement of solar power to $100 million per year, and supporting state initiatives that promote solar power. In addition, the report calls for increasing the U.S. investment in solar power research and development to $250 million per year by 2010 while supporting higher-risk, longer-term research.

According to SEIA, the proposed actions would lower retail solar electricity prices from the current rate of 18 to 25 cents per kilowatt-hour to 5.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in 10 years, making solar the least-cost retail option. Solar would provide half of all new electricity generation by 2025 under this scenario, creating 60,000 solar industry jobs in the United States and drawing more than $34 billion in new manufacturing investments over the next 10 years. SEIA claims the U.S. solar industry could employ 260,000 people by 2030. See the SEIA news release or go directly to the roadmap report (PDF 2.3 MB). Download Acrobat Reader.

The new solar energy report is sure to be a hot topic of discussion at the Power-Gen Renewable Energy conference, to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from March 1st to 3rd. Presented by Power Engineering magazine and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), the conference has been endorsed by nine renewable energy trade organizations. See the Power-Gen Renewable Energy conference Web site and the ACORE endorsement letter (PDF 47 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.