PV Group Lobbies to Advance U.S. Solar Energy Development
Meetings Push for Renewable Electricity Standard and Green Bank
Washington, D.C. – October 1, 2009 – PV Group, the SEMI Special Interest Group for the photovoltaic supply chain, recently organized a PV Lobby Day to talk with legislators about ways to promote the development of solar energy in the United States. Participants met in Washington on October 1 for a dozen meetings with key policymakers in the Senate, House and the Department of Energy. Participating companies included Advanced Energy Investing, Applied Materials, Brewer Science, KLA Tencor and Matheson Tri-Gas.
The SEMI PV Group and participating companies lobbied for:
- Renewable Electricity Standard (RES): Adopting renewable electricity standards is critical. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia already have taken this approach. Many of these efforts are more vigorous than proposals at the federal level. Adopting a federal RES is vital to increase adoption of renewable energies such as solar. The House bill provides for an RES of 20 percent by 2020. The Senate bill provides for an RES of 15 percent by 2021. Both bills would allow energy efficiency improvements to count towards about a quarter of the RES requirement. PV Group members urged Congress to approve final legislation with the higher numbers of the House bill – an RES of 20 percent by 2020.
- Green Bank/Clean Energy Deployment Administration: Both the House and Senate bills include a range of provisions to create a Green Bank, or the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA). It is critical that Congress finalize the creation of a Green Bank to address many of the funding challenges that are obstacles to investors seeking to start solar projects in the U.S. The House bill would create the Green Bank as an independent corporation of the U.S. while the Senate bill would create the Green Bank as a corporation within DOE. PV Group members urge Congress to adopt the independent corporation structure proposed in the House bill to allow the Bank to operate with greater flexibility while ensuring oversight. The House bill provides the Green Bank with an initial capitalization of $7.5 billion and the Senate bill provides $10 billion. SEMI PV Group urged Congress to adopt the higher funding level proposed in the Senate bill.
The PV Lobby Day featured meetings with a dozen key policymakers on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Energy (DOE). Lobby Day participants met with aides to three prominent members of the Senate Energy Committee— the Chief of Staff to committee chairman Bingaman (D-NM) as well as the offices of Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Udall (D-CO). The team met with the following House offices: Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY), Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. John Tanner (D-TN), and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY).
The SEMI PV Group team also met with representatives of the Solar Energy Technologies Program at the DOE, to provide an update on the results of our congressional meetings and discuss ways to continue to collaborate.
PV Lobby Day keynote speaker Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a leading champion of solar energy and sponsor of several pro-solar bills, including the Solar Technology Roadmap Act, discussed the political dynamics of trying to increase support for alternative energies.
The coming months will see a lot of activity in Congress and in the Obama Administration regarding energy policy. Senate negotiations on a climate change bill will escalate this fall and congressional leaders will decide what should be included in a final climate change/energy bill and when to take action.
The DOE is preparing several informational reports of interest to those involved in solar energy and readers are encouraged to regularly visit the website for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (http://www.eere.energy.gov/) for more information.
SEMI PV Group encourages companies to join our PV advocacy efforts. For more information and to get involved, please contact Maggie Hershey, Sr. Director, Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deborah Geiger/SEMI PV Group