The 20 Million Solar Roof Act

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Act VIII of Energize America

Contents

Objectives

1) To harness the power and heat of the sun to generate electricity from rooftop-mounted photovoltaic (PV) systems and, 2) to eliminate the bulk of the energy required for domestic hot water heating by placing solar-assisted heaters on the roofs of buildings across the US.

Description

Massive amounts of clean and renewable solar energy reach the Earth every day. However, current methods for converting this energy into electricity are not yet cost-effective and their use, therefore, has not been widespread. Furthermore, hot water heaters in American homes are inherently energy-inefficient, and typically comprise the second-largest residential energy expense (30%) behind heating and cooling. By redesigning hot water heaters to capture the sun’s rays, Americans can reduce both their monthly electric bills and the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. The 20 Million Solar Roofs Act is composed of two essential elements: 1) the deployment of 10 million small-scale (<6kW), roof-top PV systems for homes and small businesses, and 2) the deployment of 10 million roof-top solar-based hot water heaters.

The 20 Million Solar Roofs Act will extend the current solar energy tax credit, set to expire in 2007, and to increase the tax credit from $2,000 to $6,000 for residential solar PV installations ($1,000 per installed kilowatt of capacity). In addition, the act will maintain the $2000 credit for homeowners and builders to defray the expense of migrating to roof-mounted water heating systems.

Commercial parking facilities that employ solar-powered hybrid vehicle recharging stations for five or more vehicles will be eligible for a $5,000 tax credit per facility. Not only will these parking structures generate electricity from the sun, the shaded vehicles will be cooler throughout the day – reducing air conditioning needs, improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gases.

In addition, the Federal Government will work with state and local agencies to develop standard building codes and approval procedures for removing barriers to effective roof-top solar programs – including, potentially, legislative remedies to covenants preventing homeowners from installing solar energy systems.

Benefits

This act will generate 15,000 megawatts of new solar-powered electricity by 2020, more than 15 times the currently installed worldwide amount. The 20 Million Solar Roof Act will enable Americans across the county to actively participate in the national transition to a new, clean energy future, and to directly enjoy some of Energize America’s benefits. In addition, the 20 Million Solar Roof Act will create over 100,000 new manufacturing and service jobs in the solar industry, and will make the electric grid more resilient by providing localized energy in the event of a power failure.

Investment

The 20 Million Solar Roof Act will cost $3 billion per year on average through 2020.

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