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U.S. Report : Solar energy may power 40% of America by 2035

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As per a new federal report, solar energy has the potential to supply up to 40% of the nation’s electricity within 15 years — a 10-fold increase over current solar output, but that would require massive changes in U.S. policy and billions of dollars in federal investment to modernize the nation’s electric grid.

The report by the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says the United States would need to quadruple its annual solar capacity — and continue to increase it year by year — as it shifts to a renewable-dominant grid in order to address the existential threat posed by climate change

Climate experts have warned the government that hurricanes like Ida are likely to increase making even the most secure cities of the country vulnerable to disasters as clean and green energy- such as solar power – is now of paramount importance for environmental sustenance.

The report released Wednesday, officials said, is “designed to guide and inspire the next decade of solar innovation by helping us answer questions like: How fast does solar need to increase capacity and to what level?” said Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Energy Department’s solar energy technologies office.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement that the study “illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process.”

The disaster caused by Ida has given Biden an opening to push Congress to approve his plan to spend $1 trillion to fortify infrastructure nationwide, including electrical grids, water and sewer systems, to better defend against extreme weather. The legislation has cleared the Senate and awaits a House vote.

The U.S. installed a record 15 gigawatts of solar generating capacity in 2020, and solar now represents just over 3% of the current electricity supply, the Energy Department said.

The report assumes that clean-energy policies currently being debated in Congress will drive a 95% reduction from 2005 levels in the grid’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2035, and a 100% reduction by 2050.

To achieve 40% solar power by 2035, the U.S. must install an average of 30 gigawatts of solar capacity per year between now and 2025 — double its current rate — and 60 gigawatts per year from 2025 to 2030, the report said.

Those goals far exceed what even the solar industry has been pushing for as the Biden administration and Congress debate climate and clean-energy legislation.

The Solar Energy Industries Association has urged a framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030. The solar group sent a letter to Congress Wednesday from nearly 750 companies spelling out recommended policy changes. “We believe with those policies and a determined private sector, the Biden administration’s goals are definitely achievable,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, the group’s president & CEO.

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