AP: Interior Secretary sees bright future for solar

In an interview with The Associated Press on September 21, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed high hopes for the future of the solar industry.

Pointing to the multitude of successful solar projects, and further large-scale projects currently in the works around the country, Salazar said he thinks “the future of solar energy is bright.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (AP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In reference to critics of government subsidies for renewable energy, Salazar said “they are accepting a second-place or third-place role for the United States. That’s not what the president is about and it’s not what the Department of Interior is about.”

Salazar added a word of caution. “It’s not going to be a perfect path where every project proposed is going to be built toward completion,” he said, referring to Solyndra’s failure last month. That failure brought the solar industry into the national spotlight, drawing attention from lawmakers.

While Salazar and other members of the Obama administration are coming out in support of solar energy subsidies, the Department of Energy appears to be distancing itself from the industry. The DOE rejected SolarCity’s loan guarantee for a project greatly beneficial to the military community in particular – despite concurrently approving non-solar renewable loan guarantees.

And while Energy Secretary Steven Chu also recently said that the advance of solar energy must continue despite setbacks, this verbal support does not appear to be appeasing legislators critical of solar subsidies.

Read the full AP interview here.

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