Solar Industry Presents 15% Plan by 2020; Solar Bill of Rights at Copenhagen

Leaders representing the U.S. solar energy industry at the Copenhagen climate conference said that solar power has the potential to meet 15% of U.S. energy needs by 2020.

Hosted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), group gave a press briefing during which they outlined the Solar Bill of Rights legislation needed to rapidly deploy solar energy to fight climate change and create jobs.

In a report released jointly with solar industry groups representing more than 90 countries around the world, SEIA presented an accelerated solar deployment scenario for the United States to meet 15% of electricity needs by 2020. Twelve percent would come from solar electric power generated by photovoltaic solar panels and concentrating solar power plants. Another 3% of electricity would be offset by solar thermal (solar water heating) systems.

The report also noted the key policies needed for the industry to scale up and compete effectively. These policies are conveyed in a "Solar Bill of Rights." The platform lays out eight basic rights that give the solar industry equal access to the electricity marketplace and levels the playing field with the fossil fuel industries:

  1. The right to put solar on our homes and businesses
  2. The right to connect our solar energy systems to the grid
  3. The right to net meter and receive at least full retail rates
  4. The right to a fair competitive environment
  5. The right to equal access to public lands
  6. The right to build and interconnect new transmission lines
  7. The right to buy solar electricity from utilities
  8. Consumers have the right to the highest ethical treatment from the solar industry

“Ultimately, it’s important to have a price on pollution, but U.S. policymakers need to enact the provisions in the Solar Bill of Rights to make an immediate difference in addressing climate change,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.

“If you’re one of the 92% of the American public that supports greater use of solar, I encourage you to go to, become a signatory, and let your elected officials know that their constituents want pro-solar policies,” Resch added.

The industry estimates that by 2020 more than 880,000 new solar jobs would be created in the US while reducing total energy emissions by 10 percent (nearly 600 million metric tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions would be avoided annually).

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