Our friends in Washington at the Solar Energy Industries Association (www.seia.org) just shared some great news. President Obama’s federal budget for 2011 was released yesterday, and it includes $302.4 million for the solar energy program at the Department of Energy (DOE). This is a 22% increase from last year’s funding level. In addition, DOE’s Building Technologies budget includes another $7.2 million for solar heating and cooling, also an increase over last year’s budget. Obama’s budget request also includes additional funding for the solar manufacturing tax credit, to the tune of $5 billion (more than double the current funding level).
The proposed funding increase for solar related programs is a victory to savor, particularly given that Obama’s team suggested spending cuts to almost all other aspects of the budget. In an attempt to bring down the federal deficit the President’s budget includes a freeze on the overall level of “discretionary spending” apart from national security spending and the mandatory spending for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Click here for news on Obama’s plan to trim the deficit.
The President’s budget still needs to be approved by Congress, and like always SEIA will take the lead on advocating for the strongest funding levels possible for solar.
Below is a breakdown provided by SEIA on the budget: Total program request: $302.4 million, increased from $225 in current budget:
- $152 million for PV, increased from $128.5 million
- $98.2 million for CSP (Including $50 million for new demonstration program), increased from $49.7 million
- $30.7 million for systems integration, increased from $23.3 million
- $21.5 million for market transformation, decreased from $23.5 million
DOE Solar Program Highlights:
- Advanced PV manufacturing
- Reliability (of components) to extend life of PV system
- Thermal storage research to make CSP cost-competitive as baseload power
- New Concentrating Solar Power demonstration program to show that technologies can scale up, provide operational data needed by finance community to invest in a project.
DOE Building Technologies Program:
- $7.3 million for solar heating and cooling
- Continued support for renewable generators, reliability
- New $6.4 million for “permitting, siting and analysis” to educate states, regional grid operators, federal agencies and help assist in modernizing the electric grid.
- $5 billion for the previously mentioned Advanced Energy Manufacturing tax credit.
FY2011 Department of the Interior Budget Highlights:
- Total of $73 million investment in renewable energy.