The Solar Technology Roadmap
By guest blogger, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08)
The United States has some of the best solar resources of any industrialized country in the world – enough to power the whole country several times over.
The state of Alaska has about the same solar resource as all of Germany. And yet, in 2006 Germany installed about seven times more solar power than the entire U.S.
This is why I am pleased that my Solar Technology Roadmap Act passed the House Thursday with not only overwhelming bipartisan support, but with the strong backing of the business community.
Major companies in Europe and China have been aggressive in building up their manufacturing capacity and competing to meet demand. If our policies and innovation models for solar energy don’t change, the U.S. may transition from importing foreign oil to importing foreign-made panels.
This country invented photovoltaic technology and we still have some of the smartest, most talented people in the world working to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of solar cells. But to use our research dollars as effectively as possible, these people need a roadmap.
The Solar Technology Roadmap Act would require the Department of Energy to engage stakeholders and create a comprehensive plan to guide funding for the research needed to make the U.S. the global center for solar innovation.
The bill has been endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Solar Energy Industries Association, IBM, Intel, BP Solar and National Semiconductor.
The U.S. has an opportunity to be the leading developer and exporter of clean solar technologies in the coming years and decades. This bipartisan bill is designed to advance that goal.