Press Releases

McAdams introduces bipartisan solar energy research and development bill

July 10, 2019

Congressman Ben McAdams, together with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), introduced the Solar Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 (H.R. 3597). The measure would reauthorize a Department of Energy program for research, development and demonstration of a range of solar energy technologies. The bill was advanced today in the Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“Moving rapidly to a clean energy economy requires stepped up investment in solar energy and other renewables. The United States can and should kick-start solar innovation by leading out on basic research and development that will lead to break-throughs in next-generation technology. Scientists cite the need for basic research to spur big leaps forward in renewable energy generation and distribution,” said McAdams.

McAdams said that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the renewable share of energy consumption in 2018-- which includes hydroelectricity, biomass, and other renewables such as wind and solar-- was 11.4%, slightly less than its 2017 share. The EIA reports that nearly half of the 4.3 gigawatts of utility-scale electric power sector solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions in 2019 are in three states: Texas, California, and North Carolina.

Utah Clean Energy Executive Director Sarah Wright said her organization, which is committed to leading and accelerating the clean energy transformation, supports more investment in research.

“Federal support for solar research and development will enable new innovations to capitalize on our nation’s abundant solar energy, which if unleashed, will play a central role in a healthy and affordable energy future.  We are grateful for Representative McAdams’ leadership in helping to seize the immense opportunities that solar offers to Utah and our nation,” Wright said.

McAdams said that many energy experts agree it will require far more public financing to scale up promising technologies from the lab to the marketplace. Advanced solar technologies show promise, but the United States lags far behind China when it comes to making investments in research.  Limited to existing technology, the percentage of power from solar could stagnate, failing to substantially displace fossil fuels and handicapping the transition to clean energy.

“The federal government has long funded the basic research that gives the private sector what it needs to perfect and deliver the technology that moves our country forward. This legislation continues to build on that proven success,” said McAdams.