The act stated that it was henceforth the policy of the federal government to “pursue usurious and viable program of research and resource assessment of solar energy as a major source of energy for our national needs. ” The act’s scope embraced all energy y sources which are renewable by the sun Including solar thermal energy, photovoltaic energy, and energy derived from wind, sea thermal gradients, and photosynthesis. To achieve its goals, the act established two programs: the Solar Energy Coordination an d Management Project and the Solar Energy Research Institute.
The Solar Energy Coordination and Management Project consisted of SIX members, five of whom were drawn from other federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Power Commission, NASA, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Congress Intended that the project would coordinate national solar energy research, development. And demonstration projects, and would survey resources and technologies available for solar energy production.
This information was to be placed in a Solar Energy Information Data Bank and made available to those involved in solar energy development. Over the decade following the passage of the act in 1974, the united States government spent $4 billion on research in solar and other renewable energy technologies. During the same period, the government spent an additional $2 billion tax incentives to promote these alternatives. According to a U. S.
Department of Energy report issued in 1985, these efforts displaced petroleum worth an estimated $36 bill Despite the promise of solar energy In the sass and the fear of reliance on foreign petroleum, spending on renewable energy sources in the united States declined dramatically during the sass. Several factors combined during that decade to weak the federal government’s commitment to solar power, including the availability of inexpensive petroleum and the skeptical attitudes of the Reagan and Bush unconcerned about government spending.
To carry out the research and development initiatives of the Solar Energy Coordination and Management Project, the act also established the Solar Energy Research Institute located in Golden, Colorado. In 1991, the Solar Energy Research Institute was rename d the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and made a part of the national laboratory y system. The laboratory continues to conduct research in the production of solar energy and energy from other renewable sources. In addition, the laboratory studies applications of solar energy. For example, it has worked on a project using solar energy to detoxify soil contaminated with hazardous wastes.
Solar energy research regained a prominent place in U. S. Energy policy beginning in 2007. The Solar America Initiative (SAA), part of the Federal Advanced Energy Initiative, facilitates development of a new generation of photovoltaic technologies and seeks to make solar energy a cost effective option for residential and commercial electricity use by 2015. Omnibus energy bills from 2008 to 2010 included continued funding for solo energy research as well as tax credits for individuals and businesses who install solar water heaters and electricity generation systems.