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Solar America Initiative

Goals

The goal of President Bush's Solar America Initiative is to achieve cost-competitiveness for solar technologies across all market sectors by 2015. DOE is working to accomplish this goal through public-private partnerships with industry, universities, national laboratories, state municipalities, and/or nongovernmental organizations. When federal solar energy research began in the 1970s, in response to rising oil prices, the cost of electricity from solar resources was about $2.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Technological advances during the last two decades have reduced solar electricity costs by more than 90 percent, opening up new markets for solar energy.

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Benefits to the Nation

When the Solar America Initiative reaches its full potential in 2015, photovoltaic (PV) technologies could:

  • Provide at least 5 gigawatts of electric capacity (equivalent to the amount of electricity needed to power 1.25 million homes)
  • Avoid 7 million metric tons per year of CO2 emissions
  • Employ 10,000 new workers

The Solar America Initiative benefits the U.S. economy even sooner than 2015 — with partner companies achieving as much as a tenfold increase in production at 30% lower costs by 2010.

Through these results, the Solar America Initiative will enhance U.S. energy security and improve the environment by:

  • Diversifying electricity sources
  • Displacing the costs of new electricity transmission infrastructure
  • Utilizing safe and abundant U.S. solar resources
  • Providing a clean source of electricity
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