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A report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that power from the sun could generate 15 percent of America's power in the next decade, but only if Washington levels the playing field on subsidies. The fossil fuel industry, led by oil and coal, received $72 billion in total federal subsidies from 2002 to 2008, but earlier this year President Obama called for those subsidies to end.About $2.3 billion of the $72 billion went to so carbon capture and sequestration projects and research, which seek to trap carbon dioxide and bury it underground. There is no large scale CCS project in existence.
But during that same 7-year period, the solar industry got less than $1 billion, says SEIA. Putting the subsidies even with those for fossil fuels would create jobs and dramatically cut the country's global warming causing emissions. Currently, the solar industry employs about 60,000 people, but an increase in subsidies would likely increase that amount 882,000 new jobs, the association said.
Additionally, the amount of solar energy could jump from today's 1,500 MW to 350,000 MW by 2020. A new grid would be needed to distribute the additional energy, and a global deal among the G20 countries to phase out dirty energy subsidies would have to actually happen.