Vice President Joe Biden wows crowd at SPI

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Vice President Joe Biden praised the U.S. solar industry in a powerful speech at last week’s Solar Power International trade show in Anaheim, California.

Speaking to a crowd of several thousand at the Anaheim Convention Center on Sept. 16, Biden said since he and President Barack Obama took office and put the solar investment tax credit (ITC) in place from 2008 through 2016, solar power had increased 20-fold, grown jobs 86% to 174,000 and expected to reach 210,000 jobs by the end of 2015.

Click to see Vice President’s speech at SPI 2015

The vice president also announced a $120 million competitive grant program to further support solar energy development and use.

“Just imagine how much more we can do. How many jobs, imagine how many fewer cases of premature death, heart attack, childhood asthma, imagine the net savings to consumers and taxpayers,” Biden exclaimed. “Folks, because of you, we are on the cusp of something huge here.”

The new grant program is aimed at scaling up clean energy in 24 states across the country, targeting greater access to solar energy in rural and low-income neighborhoods and supporting efforts to reduce solar costs.

The United States solar industry continues to grow dramatically, surpassing 20 GW of total operational solar PV capacity during the second quarter of this year. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Q2 2015 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed 1,393 MW of PV last quarter, signaling both annual and quarterly growth.

Last year, the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy and solar represented 40% of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the first half of 2015. Since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50%, according to the White House.

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