SEMI calls for new "Green Bank" to be established

They say that, unlike the Department of Energy’s existing loan guarantee program, the bank would assist in the financing of qualified renewable energy projects in the form of loans and financial assistance.??

They have also urged U.S. legislators to implement a strong national renewable energy standard (RES), in order to help drive the market for increased deployment of solar PV.??

An additional request to remove the cap on the advanced energy manufacturing tax credit (MTC), which provided $2.3 billion in tax credits for building renewable energy/energy efficiency manufacturing capacity in America, was also put on the table.??

Commenting on the forum, Bettina Weiss, senior director of the SEMI PV Group, said: “Several members joined me and other SEMI PV Group staff for an education mission to Capitol Hill in support of US renewable energy legislation, as part of our annual Washington Forum.??

“A number of factors made this year’s energy outreach to the US Congress especially more urgent and more compelling. With the oil leak crisis in the Gulf of Mexico reaching catastrophic proportions, legislators were especially open to solar policy positions conveyed by our group of technology and business leaders."

She continued: "And, with a stubborn recession influencing upcoming elections, the economic and employment benefits of sound, renewable energy policies struck a surprising chord with many legislators.”

As part of the Washington Forum activities, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) was presented with the industry’s 2010 North American Government Leadership Award, which recognizes policymakers in the United States who have demonstrated outstanding leadership on issues and policies that support U.S. microelectronics and photovoltaic manufacturing.

Mr Bingaman is the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the Senate Finance Committee. He spearheaded energy legislation that was passed by committee last June, which includes provisions for a renewable energy standard and the creation of the Green Bank.

The Washington Forum is held annually to press decision makers to support policies promoting a strong high tech industry in the United States. It is a "critical tool" to present SEMI PV Group’s member companies’ policy interests directly with Members of Congress and Administration officials.

After a day of training and briefing meetings with SEMI lobbyists and staff, meetings are arranged in congressional offices and with key agencies to advocate and explain critical policies that benefit solar PV.

This year, 20 face-to-face meetings were held with Members of Congress, their senior staff and relevant officials within the federal agencies.