Western Governors Hone in on Solar Goals

With a longer-term federal investment tax credit and state-based incentives, the western United States could install as much as eight gigawatts of solar electric generating capacity by 2015, according to a new report produced for the Western Governors’ Association.

According to the report prepared by WGA Solar Task Force the development of 8 GW of solar electricity – enough to power 4 million homes – would generate 32,500 new well-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction and installation. Deployment on this scale would also bring down solar costs to a point competitive with power produced from fossil fuels, according to the report. The task force envisioned half of deployment coming from central concentrating solar power (CSP) plants and half coming from distributed photovoltaic (PV) generation. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) applauded the findings and suggested that federal tax policy could help make such an ambitious solar goal possible. “A longer-term extension of the 30 percent federal investment tax credit would stimulate new US manufacturing jobs and investment, and enable the Western states to harness their abundant solar energy resources,” said SEIA president Rhone Resch. “At a time when natural gas prices are skyrocketing and consumers are feeling the pinch from high energy bills, the WGA task force has provided a clean and cost-effective path forward: solar energy,” said Resch. The report, which can be read online at the link below, will have a 30-day public comment period. The WGA is scheduled to adopt the document in June 2006.
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