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America’s solar energy industry looks to play key role in grid modernisation

“Solar is critically important to our nation’s energy security and national security – and we’re doing our part to fight climate change,” said the head of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch, stressing the sector has a key role to play to ensure the lights stay on should disaster strike.

Reacting to a new report issued this week by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said its members are well-positioned to assist efforts to modernise the US electric grid and to make it more resilient in the future when pounded by severe weather.

“Ten years after the largest blackout in US history, which blanketed eight states in the Northeast in the summer of 2003 and left 50 million Americans in the dark, solar is more important than ever to our nation’s energy security and grid reliability,” said Resch, SEIA President and CEO. “We look forward to working with the White House, DOE and Congress to leverage ways that solar can add to the grid’s resiliency and overall long-term effectiveness.??"

As more and more nuclear and coal plants are mothballed, America’s solar energy industry is doing its part to make up for some of that lost generating capacity. “Today, more than 30 utility-scale, clean energy solar projects are under construction, putting thousands of electricians, steelworkers and laborers to work and helping to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. These facilities, along with rooftop solar on homes, businesses and schools, will generate electricity for generations to come. In fact, by the end of next year, distributed generation from residences alone is expected to top 3,000 megawatts (MW) for the first time ever,” Resch said.

There is now more than 8500MW of cumulative solar electricity capacity installed in the US – enough to power more than 1.3 million American homes. Moreover, in the first quarter of 2013, more than 48% all new electricity added to the grid was solar. “In addition, innovative solar heating and cooling systems are offering American consumers cost-efficient, effective options for meeting their energy needs,” Resch added.

Solar is also one of the fastest growing industries in America. The sector employs nearly 120,000 Americans at more than 5600 companies, according to the SEIA. “Part of this amazing growth is attributed to the fact that the cost of a solar system has dropped by nearly 40 percent over the past two years, making solar more affordable than ever.” 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling

 

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