The Energy Department offered an ambitious new plan for combating climate change Wednesday that’s squarely focused on the use of solar power. The department unveiled a plan to have 45 percent of the country’s electricity come from solar power by 2050, a sharp increase from the four percent fueled by the sun last year. To do that, the department hopes to double the number of solar panels used each year for the next four years, then repeat that cycle by 2030. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told The New York Times that the administration plans to use the Clean Electricity Payment Program to incentivize utility companies to expand their use of solar energy, along with legislative action by Congress. It comes as those companies have fought against the use of rooftop solar panels, which they feel rob them of control, and lawmakers continue to doubt the need to combat climate change.
But that fight will be necessary, according to Bernadette Del Chiaro, the executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association. “In essence the D.O.E. is saying America needs a ton more solar, not less, and we need it today, not tomorrow,” she told the Times. “That simple call to action should guide every policymaking decision from city councils to legislatures and regulatory agencies across the country.”