Senate Wants Clean Energy, Solar in Jobs Bill

by | Jan 25, 2010

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USCapitolWith comprehensive climate legislation on hold, Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee will focus on clean energy job opportunities at an upcoming hearing as President Obama calls on Congress to pass a jobs bill that puts more Americans to work, reports the New York Times.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Green Jobs and New Economy Subcommittee, who is calling for more incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency, has added several provisions in last year’s stimulus bill for training and education for “green” jobs.

Sanders told the New York Times he plans to reintroduce legislation that will provide incentives for buying solar panels and for solar companies to produce 10 million solar rooftops in the United States in 10 years.

Five Democratic senators also asked that equipment and manufacturing facilities for solar companies to be covered under the current 30 percent solar investment tax credit, reports the New York Times.

It is estimated that these credits will support total capital investments of almost $7.7 billion in new, renewable and advanced energy-manufacturing projects.

In January, President Obama awarded $2.3 billion in tax credits for clean energy manufacturing projects, including investments in manufacturing facilities that solar, wind, energy efficiency and energy management technologies.

Three leading U.S. solar companies, which are already competing in overseas markets, are expected to speak at the Senate hearing, reports the New York Times. They are Vermont-based GroSolar, Ariz.-based First Solar and Calif.-based eSolar, according to the article.

While U.S. solar companies are making inroads into the solar manufacturing and technology market, China dominates the industry, according to the New York Times. The article notes that tax incentives could help U.S. manufacturing companies compete with China, which now supplies the majority of the world’s solar components.

The growth of U.S. solar energy projects and manufacturing has also been slowed by a long permitting process, delaying the construction of hundreds of clean energy projects, reports the New York Times.

To speed up the construction of transmission projects, the U.S. Interior Department streamlined the permitting process last year, though they still face state, local and other federal regulatory hurdles. In addition, the Interior Department pegged $41 million from the economic stimulus package to advance production of clean energy on public lands.

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