WASHINGTON – To build upon the new solar technology jobs being created in Tennessee, Congressman Bart Gordon used his chairmanship of the House Science and Technology Committee to advance the Solar Technology Roadmap Act. The bipartisan bill overwhelmingly passed the full U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 310 to 106 today.
“If solar power isn’t the first thing you think of when I talk about Tennessee, I’ll forgive you,” Congressman Gordon said during his opening remarks about the Solar Roadmap bill on the House Floor today. “But over the last few years we’ve really seen first-hand the major potential that solar energy has to create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil in the process.”
The Solar Roadmap bill, H.R. 3585, would establish a comprehensive process to facilitate the research, development and demonstration of American solar technology in partnership with the private sector. The bill would also direct the Department of Energy to award grants to entrepreneurs, research agencies and academic laboratories that are leading the field in solar technology development and solar manufacturing.
“Solar technology is creating jobs throughout Tennessee and the rest of the country,” explained Gordon. “The short- and long-term roadmap that will be written as a result of this bill is modeled on the successful National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, which has been instrumental in creating thousands of jobs and helping the semiconductor technology industry advance rapidly over the past two decades.”
The Solar Roadmap bill would require the U.S. Secretary of Energy to appoint an 11-member Solar Technology Roadmap Committee to write, review and update a Solar Technology Roadmap. Moving forward, the roadmap will provide a path to make solar technology more dependable and widely available to American consumers.
“The solar technology plants in Clarksville and Cleveland, as well as Nissan’s electric car and battery plant in Smyrna, are going to be instrumental in making Tennessee a leader in the new clean energy industries that will help our country become more energy independent,” added Gordon. “This bill will help additional solar projects get off the ground and boost job growth in the process.”
The Solar Technology Roadmap Act has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a letter of support, the Chamber wrote, “Increased research, development, and demonstration of solar technology is crucial to America’s energy security needs, and H.R. 3585 would help move one step closer to that goal.”
The bill has also been endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Solar Energy Industries Association, BP, IBM, Intel and National Semiconductor. Having passed the House, the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.