MILLION SOLAR ROOFS
10 Point Action Plan
Success of the Million Solar Roofs Initiative requires participation of businesses, industries, governments, Federal agencies, utilities and non-governmental organizations. The Initiative will work "bottom-up" attracting partners building by building, community by community, state by state and business by business. It will also work "top-down" by developing financing, leveraging resources, coordinating Federal agency support and sharing information with Million Solar Roofs partnerships. The implementation activities listed below detail the variety of actions that the Federal government will undertake under the leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Since the announcement of the Initiative in June, 1997, nine utilities, states and non-governmental organizations have announced preliminary plans to install more than 500,000 solar energy systems on buildings. In addition, the Federal government has committed to installing 20,000 solar energy systems on Federal buildings by 2010. The Department of Energy will work to establish sixteen more partnerships by September 30, 1999.
The Million Solar Roofs Initiative will link financing from Federal, state, local and private institutions with major partnerships and individuals. One of the Initiative's primary roles will be to reduce regulatory and programmatic barriers and thereby facilitate financing of solar energy systems. The Initiative will help provide access to existing solar energy financing, expand existing energy efficiency financing activities to include solar energy and create new financing instruments when appropriate. In addition, the Initiative will assist in linking financing available through state electric utility restructuring to solar energy installations.
Eleven states have established renewable energy funds to purchase, finance and/or buy-down the cost of solar energy and other systems. When fully implemented, these Funds will provide approximately $1 billion between 1997 and 2002 for renewable energy including solar. These states have a variety of programs including a $3 per watt buy-down fund for photovoltaics as part of California's $540 million program, a $146 million renewable energy development fund currently being instituted in Massachusetts and a $5 million per year fund in Illinois. The Department of Energy will facilitate an effort to develop communications and information sharing among these states and assist other states in developing similar funds.
As part of a proposed $6.3 billion package of Federal tax and research incentives for energy technologies to address the global warming threat, the Administration has proposed tax credits of up to $2,000 for the installation of rooftop solar energy systems. The proposal calls for a credit of fifteen percent of the cost of a new solar energy system, with a maximum credit of $1,000 for hot water systems and $2,000 for photovoltaic systems. The Department of Energy will educate partnerships and consumers of the benefits of the tax credit when they are adopted by Congress.
In establishing the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, the President called on all Federal agencies to examine ways to support implementation. The Department of Energy has been working through the Council on Environmental Quality at the White House to engage agencies in the Initiative. Many agencies have already drawn up plans to both install solar energy systems on their buildings and align their financing and regulatory programs with the Initiative. The President committed the Federal sector to install 20,000 solar energy systems on Federal facilities by 2010. As an interim goal, Federal agencies have plans in place to install at least 2,000 systems by the end of 2000.
With the broad array of Federal initiatives and programs, DOE has been targeting a number of Federal agency partners. These activities will be expanded throughout the Federal sector in the coming year.
Through DOE's Federal Energy Management Program, aggressive efforts are underway to incorporate solar energy installations in all Federal energy management activities and to develop financing for Federal solar energy applications.
The rapid change in the nature of the electric industry provides significant opportunities for the Million Solar Roofs Initiative. The Administration's restructuring proposal to Congress calls for net metering in all states, a renewable energy portfolio standard and a $3 billion public benefit fund. Implementation of these policies will provide a strong foundation for the Million Solar Roofs Initiative and installation of solar energy systems.
Many solar energy applications are stymied by lack of information and questions about systems operations and building code requirements. Conversely, certain policies, such as net metering, can increase the desirability of installing solar energy systems. The Department of Energy is working with the National Laboratories, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Utility PhotoVoltaic Group, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and others to reduce barriers to the use of solar energy systems.
With their myriad of contacts throughout their regions, the staff of the Department of Energy's six Regional Support Offices are uniquely placed to assist in developing partnerships and providing support to them. The Regional Support Offices in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver and Seattle will help coordinate the distribution of Federal assistance to partnerships including technical assistance, training and partnership development. They will also serve as facilitators of the diverse parties in their region including the solar energy industry, utilities, governments, private businesses and others interested in supporting the implementation of the Initiative.
The Department of Energy will also play a central role in sharing technical information, highlighting successful implementation activities, providing training and stimulating public awareness of the benefits of solar energy applications. Working in partnership with many other public and private organizations and institutions, DOE will coordinate the implementation of support activities to further the installation of solar energy systems.
Various types of assistance can be provided. For example, the DOE National Laboratories can provide solar energy systems analysis, design assistance and systems testing. Public and private training organizations, such as the Florida Solar Energy Center and the Southwest Technology Development Institute can train installers, inspectors and code officials. The solar energy industry and utilities also offer many types of technical training and community awareness activities.
The Department of Energy's research, development and demonstration programs are fundamental to increasing the conversion efficiency and performance of solar devices, reducing costs, and improving the reliability and life expectancy of solar systems. In turn, successful research and development has made the U.S. solar industry leaders in science and engineering, and led to better products for partners in the Million Solar Roofs Initiative.
The Department is committed to continued support for research and development that will lead to more efficient and effective solar energy systems. The Department's FY 1999 budget request for solar energy programs calls for a 49% increase in funding. Those funds will be used to continue and expand the strong emphasis on research, development and demonstration.
The Department of Energy is committed to keeping the American people, local and state governments and Congress aware of the progress made in implementing the Million Solar Roofs Initiative. The solar energy industry is establishing a Million Solar Roofs Registry to keep track of the solar energy installations. Extensive use of the Internet and coordination among State Energy Offices, the DOE Regional Support Offices, non-governmental organizations and other groups will keep information flowing. The Department of Energy will undertake a number of activities to regularly track the Initiative's progress.
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