Since President Obama took office, we have made significant advances in clean energy. Last year alone was record-breaking for new installations, and the amount of solar power installed in the United States has increased around eleven fold. Just this past week, the U.S. Army announced plans to start development on a historic solar array at Fort Huachuca in Arizona – the biggest Defense Department solar array on a military installation to date, and HUD is increasing solar on multifamily housing.
And for good reason. Solar is a smart investment. The average cost of solar panels has dropped by more than 60%, and the cost for a solar photovoltaic electric system has declined by about 50%. The numbers tell an important story: There has never been a time when solar is more affordable and more available to so many Americans. Solar is not just a prospect; it’s a reality.
And it’s a reality that means new jobs. Solar jobs are growing faster than in any other sector in the United States – by more than 20% each year. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar, supporting Americans with jobs that can’t be outsourced – 143,000 of them and counting.
Behind these successes are the community leaders, innovators, educators, and organizers who are making it happen. Today, we are recognizing ten Champions of Change for Solar, local leaders from across the country who are stepping up to create jobs and economic opportunity in solar power and driving policy changes at the local level to advance solar deployment in the United States.
And to build on our progress, we are also announcing a new effort designed to spur solar deployment in the public and private sectors. President Obama is committed to making 2014 a year of action. In that spirit, we are calling on leaders across sectors to make commitments to support solar deployment and job creation. You can read about our effort on this fact sheet.
As we seek to advance our energy portfolio, solar will be an increasingly important building block in our path toward a clean energy future. And it’s ours for the taking.