President Barack Obama delivered his second state of the union speech yesterday. Much to the delight of solar energy companies, PV manufacturers, and clean energy advocates, the President gave some strong support to clean technology and specifically solar power — he mentioned energy (renewable or clean) about 8 times and solar 3 times in the speech.
Some highlights from yesterday’s speech:
1. “China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility…”
The president mentions China’s growth in solar energy research to signal to the American community that we need to make moreinvestments in renewable energy innovation and education.
2. “We’ll invest in biomedical research, informationtechnology, and especially clean energy technology — (applause) — aninvestment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, andcreate countless new jobs for our people.”
Well said. We’re heard that clean energy will protect our planet and create new jobs, but I don’t think we can forget that it willstrengthen our country. We have an addiction to oil that threatens ournational and economic security. As a nation, we let more than $1 billion go to foreign countries to finance our oil needs. This is money thatsometimes goes to enemies who pose a threat to our country.
3. “Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a smallMichigan roofing company… with the help of a government loan, that empty (vacant factory) space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold across the country.”
Obama talks about how existing companies can “reinvent” themselvesfor the clean energy industry and how renewable energy is creating newjobs. I’m not sure about employment opportunities in other states, but Massachusetts has reported that solar jobs related to manufacturing, installation and services have tripled since 2007.
4. “We need to get behind innovation. And to help pay forit, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if — I don’t know ifyou’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead ofsubsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”
In 2008, Bloomberg identified that fossil fuels received $557 billion in subsidies worldwide compared to between $43 and $46 billion for renewables. It’spretty disturbing, right? There are many people out there who thinkthat solar incentives are careless, unethical, and just plain foolish. In their opinion, why should we prop up an industry that has to rely onsubsidies to compete when we have affordable fuel sources like oil, gas, and coal? Maybe their opinions may change when they find out thatthese “affordable fuel sources” require 12 times the subsidies to get to that price. I think the world would be a much different place, bothpolitically and socially, if all the incentives from fossil fuels wereshifted to renewable forms of energy, like wind and solar power.
5. “Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translateinto clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market forwhat they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come fromclean energy sources.”
The president reinforces our commitment to a clean energy economy byintroducing an ambitious goal for electricity generation. This is notthe solar power industry of the 70’s that came and went; clean energy is here to stay.
6. “Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear,clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all —and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make ithappen.”
Obama will consider all clean energy options to get to the ambitiousgoal mentioned above. I do like how wind and solar were mentionedfirst, though!
Brightstar Solar is a licensed solar contractor that offers free evaluations in Massachusetts and Connecticut to find out if solar electricity is right for your home or business. Be part of the solution, and request your evaluation. We would be happy to navigate you through the incentives available and show you how solar power can save you money.