At the climate talks in Copenhagen, the American solar industrystepped into center ring with SEIA’s report on the effects fasterdeployment of solar energy could have on climate change.
Seizing the Solar Solution: Combating Climate Change through Accelerated Deployment (PDF)makes the case for obtaining 15 percent of our total energy needs fromsolar by 2020. 12 percent from electric-producing solar (bothphotovoltaics and concentrated solar, which uses solar thermaltechnology), and three percent from solar hot water energy offsets.Doing so, says SEIA, could reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent whileaffording nearly 900,000 new jobs. (The report is a joint publicationwith the solar industry associations of many other countries, and thereare sections as well for Canada, the Sunbelt countries, the EU, China,India, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.)
Renewable Energy World summarized the report’s findings and quoted SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch on the issue:
Solarenergy is our immediate solution. The solar industry is ready now to domore, do it faster and create jobs. The only things holding solar backare antiquated policies developed over the last century that favorpolluting sources of energy. Ultimately, it’s important to have a priceon pollution, but U.S. policymakers need to enact the provisions in theSolar Bill of Rights to make an immediate difference in addressingclimate change.
The three magic words for solar development are policy, policy, policy. As Connie mentions in her year-end summary of the German solar market,a country’s solar resource (available sunlight) isn’t what makes orbreaks success in the industry. Dedicated systems to facilitate thegrowth of the industry are necessary, and the high cost of thetechnology involved has deterred the private sector from making headwayon this alone. Government support in the form of policy architectureand funding is what has propelled solar in Europe, and is beginning toon home soil as well.