In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to make 2014 a year of action. And today, we announced new ways we’re taking action to advance clean energy and create opportunity for hardworking Americans. The Obama Administration has made historic investments in the research, development, and deployment of clean energy. And these investments are paying off; solar power provides a strong example.
Since President Obama took office, U.S. solar generation has grown more than ten-fold. Since 2011 alone, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped by more than 50 percent. And last year, about one quarter of new power generation capacity came from solar.
We know that solar is winning in America: It’s good for our environment, our economy, and our energy security. But it’s not alone. Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and cheapest tools we have for combating climate change while expanding opportunity. That’s why the Obama Administration has developed efficiency measures, such as new appliance standards, that will cut carbon pollution and save consumers billions on their utility bills in the next two decades. The Energy Department has partnered with 190 organizations through the Better Buildings Challenge to advance energy efficiency over the next 10 years – and they are making tremendous progress. And fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks mean we are – and will continue to be – less reliant on foreign oil.
But there’s more we can do. That’s why today we announced new executive actions to cut energy waste, create jobs, and reduce carbon pollution. These initiatives will help build a skilled solar workforce, provide innovative financing for deploying solar, improve appliance efficiency, strengthen building codes, and drive investment in energy upgrades to federal buildings. You can read more about our announcements on this fact sheet.
We’re making great progress. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we asked leaders from every sector to build on the momentum that’s driving solar deployment and efficiency investments throughout the country – and make a commitment to do more.
Today, more than 300 organizations have partnered with us and committed to deploy clean energy and cut energy waste. Our partners span every corner of the United States – from a vegetable farm in California to a rural electric co-op in Kentucky, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to a homebuilder in Texas. Together they show us that no matter where you live in America, cleaner, more efficient power is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable for you and your family.
All in all, these commitments represent more than 850 megawatts of solar that will be deployed – enough to power nearly 130,000 homes. And with more businesses, rural cooperatives, and homeowners choosing solar, prices will keep going down, manufacturers will keep innovating, and more jobs will be created.
That’s what we heard from folks all across the solar supply chain who joined us for the April White House Solar Summit – from installers like Evergreen Energy Solutions and Everyday Energy to suppliers like Soligent – they all recognize the economic opportunity of clean energy and see solar demand as a job creator.
In the coming weeks, our efforts to deploy clean energy, cut carbon pollution, and fight climate change will take new aim. And we will continue to work with our partners – from every sector and every corner of America – to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan and advance this country toward a cleaner energy future.
We know that we can address climate change in a way that creates jobs and grows the economy. As we deploy solar power, we spur innovation. As we cut our energy waste, we create jobs. And as a result, cleaner efficient forms of energy are powering more of this nation every day.
That’s what today is about. That’s what President Obama’s year of action means. We’re acting now because we need to. The opportunity couldn’t be bigger.
Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.