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Developing State Solar Photovoltaic Markets: Riding the Wave to Clean Energy Independence

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Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher(s): Center for American Progress

Author(s): J. P. Ross

Funder(s): Center for American Progress

Funder(s): Center for American Progress

Topic: Energy (Renewable energy sources)

Type: Report

Abstract:

Solar photovoltaic energy is an established technology that has proven its ability to improve our national security and boost the economy. Photovoltaics produce energy that is both domestic and emission-free, making it key to weaning the United States of our dependence on polluting fossil fuels and helping to curb the effects of global warming. Solar PV also bolsters our economic security by creating more new jobs than any other energy technology.

The federal government has shown support for solar energy in recent years with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which provides tax credits for investors in solar power systems. The Securing Energy Independence Act of 2007 (HR.550/S.590) would extend the tax credits through the end of 2016, a necessary step for a rapid transition to solar energy.

Yet federal action is not enough. Energy policy is largely determined at the state level through state and local laws and utility regulation. States must therefore take the lead to ensure that incentives are properly structured to keeps costs declining while regulatory processes become more easily navigable by businesses and consumers. Solar photovoltaics must rival power from the utility grid in both cost and accessibility in order to make solar power appealing to consumers.