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Earlier this week Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA), testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing, "American Energy Initiative: Identifying Roadblocks to Wind and Solar Energy on Public Lands and Waters."
In his testimony, Resch detailed the solar industry's success so far in developing utility-scale projects on public lands and identified significant obstacles to further progress. He outlined policy recommendations that are aimed at overcoming the siting and permitting challenges on public lands while also stimulating significant job creation across the solar supply chain, from engineering and manufacturing to construction, installation and operations.
Below are highlights of Resch's oral testimony with links to oral and full written testimonies and key background materials:
"Even in a struggling economy, the solar industry has become an energy and jobs powerhouse. The solar industry grew 67 percent last year, employs 100,000 Americans in all 50 states, and is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation.
"Solar is an energy source available in every U.S. Congressional district. Given our vast solar resources, we could easily lead the world in solar deployment. Solar also enjoys overwhelming public approval: 94 percent of Americans support solar overall and 75 percent are in favor of building solar plants on public lands.
"Developers face many hurdles in bringing a solar project to fruition, whether on public or private lands. Our industry needs stable, predictable policies for continued growth. Today we propose several steps that will keep solar growing and surmount some of the hurdles that make it harder to locate utility-scale solar on public lands.
"Specifically, we are seeking:
A multi-year extension of the 1603 Treasury Program.
Maximum flexibility for solar developers to site projects on public lands without being restricted to zones.
A cost recovery mechanism and consistent time frames to speed up the Section 10 consultation process performed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
A solar rent policy that is comparable to private land prices.
Continued support for the DOE Loan Guarantee Program or a new Clean Energy Bank to provide long-term, low-cost financing for solar."
Rhone Resch Oral Testimony: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/Resch_Oral_Testimony_6.1.11.pdf
Rhone Resch Written Testimony: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/Resch_Testimony_with_Attachments_-_House_Committee_Natural_Resources_Hearing_-_6.1.11.pdf
U.S. Utility-scale Solar Power Projects in Operation, Under Construction and Development: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/Major%20Solar%20Projects.pdf
SEIA Fact Sheet on utility-scale solar power plant siting: http://seia.org/cs/solar_policies/plant_siting
Independent poll shows strong (94%) support overall for solar: http://www.seia.org/cs/news_detail?pressrelease.id=1061
Independent poll shows strong support by American public for solar energy on public lands:
Press statement: http://www.seia.org/cs/news_detail?pressrelease.id=769
Poll Report: http://seia.org/galleries/pdf/UtilityScalePollResults.pdf
"U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010" shows dramatic growth for the U.S. solar industry: http://www.seia.org/cs/news_detail?pressrelease.id=1292
Details on the solar energy companies operating in each state, plus examples of the real jobs they are creating: www.SolarWorksforAmerica.org
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. www.seia.org