If you haven’t heard by now, the U.S. Senate Energy Committee advanced a big piece of solar energy legislation last week (prior to the killing of the climate and clean energy bill). Vermont senator and Green Jobs Committee chairman Bernie Sanders got his “Ten Million Solar Roofs” bill through the influential Energy Committee on Wednesday with a vote of 13-10.
This bill (one of my Top 10 Clean Energy Topics to Keep an Eye On in 2010), as you might guess, is aimed at getting 10 million new solar systems on U.S. roofs in the next 10 years.
If the legislation is eventually approved, it is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions immensely.
“We are losing the race for solar jobs, and falling behind other nations in solar installations,” said Sanders. “That must change. The question is whether we will take advantage of clean, renewable solar energy or let other countries create solar jobs using technology developed in America. I think we can lead. This bill will help us do that.”
Sanders also mentioned the deflating fact that though the U.S. invented the solar cell, countries like Japan, Germany, and Spain have surged ahead of us in the use of this technology.
If the bill goes through, it will offer $250 million for competitive grants in 2012 and $500 million a year after that until 2021.
The U.S. Department of Energy claims that combined with existing solar energy incentives, the 10 Million Solar Roofs bill could exceed its goal of 10 million new solar systems in 10 years.
Though a comprehensive climate and energy bill is now dead, this bill focused on one of the cleanest technologies in the world is alive and worthy of great support. And you can help it along! Contact your Senators today and tell them to support this bill.
Photo Credit: kbaird via flickr
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