Solar Industry Petitions Congress for ‘Rights’

By Published On: April 2, 2010

The Solar Energy Industries Association is collecting signatures on its “solar bill of rights” petition in an effort to get Congress to roll away obstacles to sun power. The association is pressing lawmakers to include pro-solar provisions in any upcoming climate change or renewable energy bill, explained Monique Hanis, spokesperson for the trade group. The petition seeks eight basic rights for the industry and utility customers, including: -Putting solar systems on homes under federal preemption of local and home owner association restrictions; -Connecting solar systems to the grid under uniform national interconnection agreements; -Net metering solar energy production and receiving compensation from utilities at the retail rate for excess power fed into the grid; and -Building solar power systems on public land. In the short-term, Hanis said the industry also is seeking to extend the 30 percent federal cash grant for solar and renewable energy projects for two years. It expires at the end of this year. The industry also wants Congress to extend a manufacturer’s tax credit for solar panel factories and repay $2 billion taken from money earmarked for renewable energy under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act transferred last year into the cash for clunkers program to stimulate car sales. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are sponsoring legislation (S. 2899) to extend the cash grant program and manufacturer’s tax incentive. The measure is pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

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