Biden urged to support ‘unprecedented’ solar deployment as pressure mounts over clean jobs

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The Biden/Sanders-led task force has called for a

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should drive the installation of half a billion solar panels in the US during his first term in office, a task force has recommended.

The recommendations of that task force, which consists of allies of both former vice president Biden and fellow Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders, come as nearly 650 US companies have urged Congress to throw its weight behind solar’s role in recovery legislation and amidst fears over clean energy jobs in the US.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

In a document published last week, the task force calls for Biden to launch a “clean energy revolution” to help rebuild the US economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans to “dramatically expand” solar energy deployment through community-based and utility-scale systems are also put forward, including the installation of 8 million solar roofs and community solar energy systems.

“The unity task force urges that we treat climate change like the emergency that it is and answer the crisis with an ambitious, unprecedented, economy-wide mobilisation to decarbonise the economy and build a resilient, stronger foundation for the American people,” the group said in a 110-page document.

Meanwhile, to reach net-zero emissions as quickly as possible, the task force calls for the elimination of carbon pollution from power plants by 2035 through technology-neutral standards for clean energy and energy efficiency. It also proposes a reduction in red tape to promote fast and easy permitting for rooftop solar retrofits.

The recommendations will be reviewed by Biden ahead of the Democratic nominating convention, which is due to take place in August.

As well as a call for the US re-join the Paris Climate Agreement, the task force also urges “immediate action” to reverse the Trump administration’s rollbacks of critical climate and environmental protections.

The administration was accused last month by the Center for American Progress of stifling solar and other renewables development on public lands in the US.

A report from the think tank said Trump’s “antipathy” towards renewables had been reflected in his administration’s policies, highlighting the imposition of new trade tariffs and opposition to continued tax credits as having cost jobs, stunted growth and impeded decarbonisation of the US’ power system.

A solar recovery

The task force’s work has been reinforced today by a letter addressed to Congress, co-signed by nearly 650 companies, which calls for the introduction and passage of legislation that would extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) while creating a direct pay option – a key inclusion in the Moving Forward Act which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO at the Solar Energy Industries Association, said the US should be looking at those creating jobs in the solar industry to “help lead us out of this economic crisis”, while insisting that job creation “isn’t a partisan issue”.

“With small policy changes, the solar industry can quickly and efficiently create jobs and add billions of dollars in investment. If lawmakers want to put Americans back to work, they should invest in solutions that can unleash the economic power of solar, one of the fastest-growing industries in America,” she said.

Job market ‘stops its free fall’

On the subject of jobs, new analysis of federal unemployment data has shown a gradual return to work by some in the US clean energy sector last month, but not at the rate that was hoped.

About 106,300 jobs were added back to the economy by clean energy companies in June, according to the analysis by BW Research. However, this leaves around 514,200 clean energy workers in the US out of work since March.

Clean energy employment is still down 15% from the start of the year, when nearly 3.4 million Americans worked in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and fuels and other clean energy sectors.

“While last month’s numbers show a clean energy job market that stopped its free fall, we are by no means out of the woods yet,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“This report shows more than 82,000 in the renewable workforce remain unemployed, and thousands of jobs continue to be at risk. To help mitigate these ongoing pandemic-related impacts, the renewable sector is asking Congress to include common-sense emergency relief provisions like temporary refundability and a delay in the phasedown of renewable energy tax credits in the next round of COVID legislation.”

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

June 17, 2024
German renewable energy developer Juwi has completed the construction of a 223MW solar PV project in the US state of Colorado.
Sponsored
June 17, 2024
This year at SNEC, the booth of Quanwei Solar Technology (QW Solar) attracted many visitors to participate in its interactive experiments.
June 14, 2024
Ørsted has commissioned its Helena Energy Center in the US state of Texas, a 518MW co-located solar and wind project.
June 14, 2024
US renewable energy project developer Ameren Missouri has acquired a 150MW solar PV project in the state of Illinois.
Premium
June 14, 2024
PV Tech Premium looks at FERC's recent ruling on Order 1920 and how it will affect transmission planning in the future.
June 13, 2024
US solar technology company Swift Solar has secured US$27 million to develop its perovskite tandem solar cell manufacturing.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia