Leveraging off California\u2019s \u201cmillion solar roofs\u201d legislation, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee July 12 vetted a bill to speed installation of \u201c10 million solar roofs.\u201d Also on the committee\u2019s radar are measures to facilitate more geothermal use, other alternative energy investments, and to continue funding the Department of Energy to administer these. Under discussion this week was S. 1108, the 10 Million Solar Roofs Act. It streamlines permitting on a regional level--avoiding going through local government agencies--to install photovoltaics. Authored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the bill also allows for competitive grants from DOE to standardize solar permits. Called the \u201csunshot\u201d initiative, Steven Chalk, deputy assistant secretary for renewable energy, explained that streamlining permitting could reduce solar installation to 10 percent of initial costs. Chalk said today permitting accounts for 30 percent of solar installations\u2019 price. In California, if permitting is streamlined, it could add 130,000 installations, a total of 730 MW, according to Holly Gordon, vice president of regulatory affairs for SunRun. Now each installation is customized, she added. San Francisco-based SunRun, along with Oakland-based Sungevity on the residential side, and SunEdison on the commercial side, install solar systems without consumer upfront investments. The consumer pays the installer for the power produced for a set period of time--paying off the installer. Consumers receive the benefit of the solar, sometimes at a lower cost than supplied by bundled utility service. Chalk called this a \u201cbottoms up approach.\u201d Other bills before the committee include: -S. 1142, the Geothermal Technology & Information Act of 2011, by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). It provides loans for high risk geothermal exploration wells. To be administered by DOE, the fund aims at improving heat pumps, as well as direct geothermal use. -S. 1160, the Department of Energy Administration Improvement Act of 2011, authored by committee chair Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). It\u2019s a budgetary vehicle for future DOE funding. For colder climates, geothermal companies want development funds for underground heat pumps to replace fuel oil and heating\/cooling appliances. A ground-source heat pump saves 20 percent to 50 percent on electricity consumption, according to Doug Dougherty, Geothermal Exchange Organization president. In sharp contrast to recent hearings before its sister energy committee on the House side, the hearing showed harmony among both Republicans and Democrats in encouraging alternative energy through the three pieces of legislation.