Bipartisan senators introduce resolution on industry milestone

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a resolution yesterday to celebrate the U.S. solar industry achieving its millionth solar installation.

The resolution cites statistics on solar industry growth, declining costs of solar panels and the increase in industry jobs. It states that “the Senate supports the United States solar energy industry in its effort to bring low-cost, clean, 21st century solar technology into homes and businesses across the United States.”

For example, the resolution says that the solar industry employs more than 208,000 solar workers in the United States. Solar energy costs dropped 70 percent in the last seven years, it says.

“Having reached the milestone of 1,000,000 solar installations in the United States, solar energy should be supported by sound policies and continued private sector innovation,” the resolution states. It is the latest political tidbit in an ongoing debate about whether federal tax credits for renewables should be broadened or be in place at all.

The Solar Energy Industries Association predicted in launching its #MillionSolarStrong campaign tied to the milestone this month that another million solar panels could come online in two years, even though it took four decades to achieve the first million. The group launched the campaign while supporting a digital “thunderclap,” where more than 76 million people pledged support for solar, including President Obama (Greenwire, May 3).

Heinrich and Gardner are both members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. In a statement, Heinrich cited first-hand knowledge of lower costs from solar, considering the solar panels on his home. “New Mexico, with its abundant solar resources, can and should be at the epicenter of American’s clean energy economy,” he said.

“In Colorado, over 400 companies, which are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, contribute to the solar industry and employ thousands of Coloradans,” Gardner added.