The Ten Million Solar Roof Initiative proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in 2010 could get a much-needed push from Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu’s recent SunShot initiative. Sen. Sanders’ legislation aims to put solar panels and water heaters on 10 million American roofs by 2020 but the initiative has been stalled in Congress since July. The SunShot program aims to drastically drive down the cost of solar energy which would cut the price of ten million solar roofs to just a fraction of the cost, making the initiative more attractive to budget-wary politicians.
The Ten Million Solar Roof Initiative has been stalled in Congress since July of 2010 due to a huge lack of support, and senators had written it off until the SunShot initiative was announced. “These are two parallel but distinct programs. They could play together very well because — to the extent that the SunShot initiative is successful — it will lower the [financial] incentives that are required per project for the Ten Million Solar Roof Act,” Shayle Kann, managing director of solar research at GTM Research, told SolveClimate News.
The SunShot initiative was announced on February 4th, and it focuses on reducing the total installed cost of solar electricity to $1 per watt by 2020 — a 75% drop from today’s rates — which would make solar power cost competitive with conventional emission-laden power sources. The 10 Million Solar Roof initiative has already been approved by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I look forward to working with the Obama administration to incorporate elements of the new solar initiative into the Ten Million Solar Roofs Act to make the legislation even stronger,” Sanders said in a press release on February 4th, “we have an opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and make America the world leader in solar energy.”