U.S. Polls Solar Energy Sector on Surveys

The U.S. government wants to extend the legal requirement for the solar thermal and solar electric industry to file annual forms.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) is soliciting comments on the proposed three-year extension to Form EIA-63A (Annual Solar Thermal Collector Manufacturers Survey) and EIA-63 B (Annual Photovoltaic Module/Cell Manufacturers Survey). A call for comments was placed in the Federal Register on March 6, with a deadline for comments of May 7. The Federal Energy Administration Act of 1974 and the DOE Organization Act require EIA to carry out a centralized, comprehensive and unified energy information program. This program collects, evaluates, assembles, analyzes, and disseminates information on energy resource reserves, production, demand, technology, and related economic and statistical information, and is used to assess the adequacy of energy resources to meet near and longer term domestic demands. The EIA, as part of its effort to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, provides opportunities to comment on collections of energy information conducted by EIA. These comments help the EIA to prepare data requests that maximize the utility of the information collected, and to assess the impact of collection requirements on the public. The forms currently are used to gather information on the supply and distribution of solar thermal collectors, photovoltaic cells and photovoltaic modules. Specifically, the forms collect information on manufacturing, imports, exports, and shipments. The EIA has been collecting this information annually and proposes to continue the surveys. The data collected will be published in the Renewable Energy Annual and will also be available through EIA’s Internet site. The EIA will request a three-year extension through August 2004 to continue using Forms EIA-63A and EIA-63B. No substantive modifications to the currently approved forms will be proposed unless substantive suggestions are received and approved. EIA wants the solar industry to indicate if the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency and if the information has practical utility. Proposed enhancements to the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected would be accepted. The reporting time to complete the form is estimated at three hours, and EIA wants to know if that estimate is accurate. It also wants to know if solar companies incur any costs for reporting or for maintenance of services associated with the information collection. Potential users of the collected information are asked if the information is useful and for the specific applications they use the data.

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