Solar could supply more than 40% of the nation’s electricity by 2035 – up from 3% today – if Congress adopts policies like tax credits for renewable energy projects and component factories, according to a memo published on Tuesday by the Department of Energy.
The memo is part of a push by the White House to pump up solar as a jobs engine and pivotal pillar in the climate change agenda of President Joe Biden.
The sector is also taking center stage as officials plug the administration’s legislative priorities on the road, with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh touring a new First Solar Inc (FSLR.O) facility in Ohio on Tuesday that is expected to create about 500 jobs.
To propel solar to nearly half of U.S. generation, the industry needs to grow at three or four times its current rate, creating up to 1.5 million jobs, according to an unpublished analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory cited in the memo.
The study supports Biden’s argument that a transition away from fossil fuels can create millions of good-paying union jobs while countering climate change. He has a goal to shift the U.S. power sector away from fossil fuels by 2035.