Solar Lobbyists Vie for Stimulus Funds

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As soon as the ball can get rolling, federal stimulus funds will start rolling out to states, much of it designated for renewable energy ventures. That has created some high energy lobbying by solar power proponents. In Nevada, for example, Solar Alliance, a lobby made up of solar manufacturers and investors, went before the state legislature recently to urge more solar-favorable tax policies.

Nevada certainly has the solar potential—and much already exists there for the industry, but additional federal funds could mean even more payoff for consumers. The desire for solar power among consumers is rampant, affordability being the main detraction from even more widespread installation.

The solar lobbyists advocated, among other things, new interconnection standards and more solar-friendly utility rates. They urged Nevadan legislators to recognize solar power as the future of global energy, arguing that the United States could easily elevate itself to world leader in that regard. In addition, Nevada’s very sunny climate and available stimulus dollars could aid in making Nevada a net energy exporter.

Yet despite the strong arguments of solar industry lobbyists, legislators were resolute in their patience and determination to explore all avenues for extra money in detail. “You’re not the only renewable energy person that’s come to us saying, ‘I want this stimulus money,’” Senator Barbara Cegavske of Las Vegas told Rose McKinney James of Energy Works.

Solar Alliance members admit that more favorable solar policies and federal funding are not only good for the environment but great for business as well. Still, a booming solar industry, they claim, is a boom for the slumping national economy as well. In Nevada alone, said Julia Curtis of Sharp Electronics, the policies proposed by Solar Alliance would create well over 5,000 quality jobs per year.

Source: Mercury News

Posted on April 2 in Solar Politics by .

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