The sun accounts for nearly 99 percent of the mass of our solar system, provides heat and light to the eight planets and is responsible for all life on Earth, sustaining billions of plants and animals with its rays, while also driving our planet's climate and weather patterns.
It is, bar none, the most powerful force we have ever known. And today, we are closer than ever to unlocking its potential to help tackle our nation's energy and sustainability challenges.
Business Roundtable has long been an advocate for increasing the role of renewable energy in America's power generation mix. In fact, we recently released an economic modeling study that advocated for renewable power investment — including solar — as a critical pathway to enhancing the efficiency of a carbon pricing mechanism, as called for in the American Clean Energy and Security Act now making its way through the Senate. This bill provides a good vehicle for policymakers in Washington, D.C. to build on the investments in the recently passed stimulus package, which contained billions of dollars in tax and loan incentives to advance solar energy in the United States, including a consumer tax credit for the purchase of solar water heating equipment, appropriations for the installation of solar energy technology on federal buildings, federal dollars for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and bonds to finance solar energy facilities.
These are all positive steps forward and we urge policymakers to continue making these critical investments in solar and renewable energy technologies to help America achieve a balanced energy portfolio and a more diverse fuel mix. Not only does it make sense from the perspective of our nation's energy security and environmental conservation, it also makes economic sense: implementing these technologies will create "green jobs" that can help reduce unemployment and accelerate economic recovery.
The members of Business Roundtable understand this. They have been, and continue to be, out in front on solar energy and other renewables, creating jobs and promoting cleaner, greener technology. For instance:
- AT&T; recently installed nearly 3,700 solar panels at its facility in San Ramon, California, which provide up to a quarter of the plant's energy;
- Dow is investing more than $100 million in research and development for solar photovoltaic building materials that could revolutionize the way we power our homes;
- FedEx recently installed solar equipment that help avoid nearly 2.9 million pounds of carbon emissions every year, and is currently installing another facility that will nearly double its production of renewable energy; and
- FPL Group is America's leading producer of renewable solar energy, operating the largest solar thermal facilities in the world with enough capacity to power more than 230,000 homes with emissions-free electricity.
Clearly, both U.S. businesses and policymakers cannot afford to ignore this precious, abundant resource. The power of solar energy can take our nation one step closer to a more sustainable and prosperous future. The bottom line is, when it comes to increasing energy security, combating the effects of global climate change and enhancing economic recovery, it's important for our nation to explore all avenues and press forward with a variety of traditional and renewable energy technologies — including solar.
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