Obama Shows Solar Support in State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON — In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama praised the nation’s efforts to create clean, renewable energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way,” Obama said. “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes we did.”

The president has long been a supporter of solar energy and has indentified solar energy as a vital tool in increasing U.S. renewable energy, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In 2010, the Obama administration also placed rooftop solar panels on the White House. With 930 MW installed in Q3 2013, the U.S. solar market increased 20 percent more than the previous quarter. It was also the second-largest quarter for residential solar installations, according to GTM Research.

“It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too,” Obama said. “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar — every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

Solar advocates were encouraged by the president’s positive recognition of the solar industry and his hopes for the future.

“We are extremely pleased that the president of the United States acknowledged the strength of the American solar industry and that the White House highlighted our new jobs data showing that 143,000 Americans now work in the solar industry,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director and president of The Solar Foundation, in a statement. “As our new National Solar Jobs Census 2013 report shows, the U.S. solar industry grew nearly 20 percent last year. The president is right to point to solar as a bright spot in our nation’s economic recovery, and we are looking forward to a strong 2014 as well.”

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