Washington, DC [New York Times] It was not so many years ago that solar power was a niche concept for electricity generation, an idea embraced mostly by the green-minded who were eager to do their part for energy conservation. It is still a niche concept, providing less than 1 percent of the electricity on the grid. … But the list of leading solar supporters now includes President Bush, a former oil man living in a partly solar-powered White House who is suddenly endorsing solar energy as an affordable source of power in the future. Mr. Bush’s overall budget for so-called renewable energy in the 2007 fiscal year is $1.17 billion, about the same as the current level of spending. And solar energy is only a tiny part of that, at $148.3 million. Still, spending for research on solar energy, both by government scientists and by outside scientists and academics, would be 78.5 percent higher than it was in the 2006 budget. … Full story at the following link.