The US solar industry has welcomed the nomination of physicist Ernest Moniz as the country’s new Energy Secretary.

President Barack Obama yesterday named Moniz as his nomination to lead the Department of Energy, replacing the outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Moniz, a physicist, currently directs the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative and was a former energy undersecretary in the Clinton administration.

Obama also nominated Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a key role in regulating US greenhouse gas emissions. McCarthy has been working as the Assistant Administrator in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Rone Resch, Chief Executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said Moniz would have a key role in boosting the fortunes of solar in the US.

“The DOE has been a critically important partner in the solar industry’s efforts to make solar technology more affordable and help break down barriers to solar deployment across the nation to establish America as a leader in clean energy.

“Dr. Moniz’s prior leadership at DOE and MIT will be instrumental in promoting the innovation across the solar value chain to develop a strong clean energy economy.”

And commenting on McCarthy’s appointment, Resch added: “As the assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation and throughout her work in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Gina McCarthy has shown that she understands the importance of renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep our air clean for future generations.”