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Friday, November 5, 2010

Solar Power – The Sun Queen's advice to President Obama

President Obama
The Sun Queen, Lynn Jurich of SunRun, exchanged quips and hints with President Obama at Obama's job summit in December 2009. 
She was one of the 135 of the nation’s top leaders in business, government labor, non-profits, and academia asked by Obama to attend the summit to bring new ideas, fresh perspectives, and specific recommendations to the table.
On Lynn's wish-list is the hope that over the next two years half of the electricity used by residences in the US (a $150 billion a year market) will be replaced by by more eco-friendly solar power.
This is the exchange when she met Obama:
Jurich says one of the perks of pioneering an alternative-energy option (besides, you know, saving the planet) is meeting with Barack Obama: “He said, ‘Impressive! You’re so young.’ And I said, ‘You are too, Mr. President.’
President Obama was interested in the possibility of solar power meeting two of his Administration's key objectives: the use of alternative energy supplies to replace existing sources, which increase global warming, and the creation of good jobs for Americans, in the US.
Solar power has the ability to do both those things.
The key for creating new jobs is that for every six solar installations, a green job is created:
The potential for residential solar to create jobs is astounding.  Rather than relying on machines like the coal industry does, solar relies on labor.  The numbers speak for themselves.  Currently, there are around 4,000 residential solar jobs in the U.S.  By 2010, this number will nearly reach 7,000.  By 2012, there will be over 20,000 jobs in the home solar industry.
Lynn also asked the administration for help to make certain parts of residential solar run more smoothly. Cities and counties have a revenue squeeze which means an increase in delays in getting permits to allow solar panels to be installed on rooftops because they don't have the necessary staff to keep up with demand:
By improving permitting, we could keep up with demand and create hundreds of high quality local jobs for engineers, construction workers, electricians and salespeople. One of my recommendations to President Obama was that he provide grants to staff up permitting offices and those extra jobs will follow.

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