Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate’s green job subcommittee, has introduced a bill that would encourage installation of 10 million rooftop solar energy systems and 200,000 solar hot water heating systems in the United States in the next 10 years. The bill, “10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Hot Water,” would authorize rebates covering up to half of a solar system’s cost. Homeowners, nonprofits, and state and local governments would be eligible.
Photo Courtesy Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator for Vermont.
The bill would also encourage development of distributed solar power, as opposed to centralized, power-plant energy. Distributed solar power is faster and cheaper to build and requires no transmission lines to funnel the energy from a centralized plant. Because distributed power requires more professional installations, this bill would also create more jobs than other solar projects. The program would cost about $2 or $3 billion a year and would create about 30,000 megawatts of renewable energy, the equivalent of 30 nuclear power plants. Sanders’ bill has been referred to committee, where it will be investigated and revised before being sent back for a general debate. Unfortunately, most bills never make it past this step. You can make a difference by letting your senator know you support this one.