U.S. Solar Group Welcomes Democrats’ Energy Proposal

Any attempts by U.S. President George Bush to reduce support for solar energy would be rejected by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, says a U.S. solar energy group.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-03-26 <SolarAccess.com> The Solar Energy Industries Association has hailed the “bold proposals” introduced by Senate Democrats, including Jeff Bingaman and Minority Leader Tom Daschle. The bills introduced this week would use solar power to provide energy in the U.S., as well as position solar energy for an expanded role in the near future. “Rumors abound that in the midst of our energy crisis, the President’s budget will slash solar and other renewable energy programs by an astounding 50 percent,” says SEIA executive director Glenn Hamer. “This bipartisan consensus in support of solar energy shows that such a misguided retreat would be rejected by both parties in Congress.” The legislation provides for net metering to allow residential and small business consumers to generate their own electricity from renewable energy sources, and to receive credit for any electricity they provide to the grid. Electric meters literally run backwards when solar PV panels and small wind turbines generate more energy than the customers consume. “The Bingaman-Daschle bills include provisions that are vitally important to our nation’s short and long-term energy security,” adds Hamer. “We now have a bipartisan consensus emerging that solar energy must play a prominent role in our nation’s energy mix. Both parties’ Senate bills include increased renewables for federal buildings and in our schools, and both include a residential solar tax credit that is also in the President’s budget outline.” Other measures in the legislation requires the Federal government to purchase a certain amount of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources, and propose incentives for new energy efficient residential construction and a residential solar tax credit. President Bush’s budget outline and Senate Energy Committee Chairman Murkowski’s energy bill also include the residential solar tax credit. The bills establish a new program making grants to local school districts to expand the use of renewable energy in schools, provide for increased funding for renewable energy research and deployment programs, and provide a public benefits fund would be distributed to the states to fund renewable energy and other programs. SEIA is the national trade organization representing the solar photovoltaics and solar thermal manufacturers, component suppliers, and national distributors in the U.S.

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