As bill HB 1580 to revitalize the Sunshine Rebate Program languishes in the Pennsylvania House, the Federal government is on the move out West. On October 27 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a roadmap for utility-scale solar power development in AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, and UT. The roadmap will deal with incentives for development of projects, best locations, conflicts with other resource uses, and transmission issues. The action by Interior was generally welcomed by the environmentally community.
“Our partners in this effort have suggested ways to strengthen the proposed solar energy program and increase certainty regarding solar energy development on public lands,” Secretary Salazar said. “This Solar PEIS establishes for the first time a blueprint for landscape-level planning that will help facilitate smarter siting of solar energy projects. Today’s announcement lays a solid foundation for an enduring, sustainable solar energy future for our nation.”
According to the DOI press release, “In the past two years, Interior has approved 22 major renewable energy projects, including 13 commercial-scale solar energy facilities that combined will create about 8,600 construction and operational jobs and produce nearly 5,000 megawatts of energy, enough to power approximately 1.5 million American homes.”
NOTE: Jobs in the solar energy industry are growing at a steady rate. A Cornell University/Solar Foundation report found that Pennsylvania is fourth in the nation with 4,703 solar jobs.