The goal of incorporating solar energy into the DNC is to highlight the importance of solar energy and its potential to help meet the nation's energy needs while addressing concerns about the environment and global warming. The solar installation is part of the DNCÂ’s commitment to build the most environmentally sustainable Democratic Convention in history.
The solar system, which is housed in the Pepsi Center parking lot, demonstrates to the public a typical photovoltaic (PV) system that can power approximately three-to-four American homes. The energy produced by the installation will be put back into the local power grid to help offset some of the power used throughout the DNC.
"Thanks to the dedication and collaboration of AeonSolar, Evergreen Solar, PV Powered, IBEW, Turner Construction and the DNCC, we have been able to provide clean, renewable solar power to the Pepsi Center and raise awareness on renewable sources of energy to those attending the Democratic National Convention,Â” said Andrea Robinson, Director of Sustainability & Greening, Democratic National Convention Committee.
AeonSolar, a commercial and residential solar installer, oversaw the system design and installation. The panels for the installation were supplied by Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar, a manufacturer of STRING RIBBON solar panels. Evergreen uses proprietary technology that requires significantly less silicon resulting in the smallest carbon footprint of any solar panel. The projectÂ’s grid-tied inverter is provided by PV Powered, a leading U.S. manufacturer focused on dramatically improving the reliability and installability of solar inverters.
All of the companies working with the solar project are U.S.-based and currently involved in helping solve the nationÂ’s dependence on foreign energy sources and increasing the use of renewable energy nationwide.
Solar energy can be used in all 50 states from Massachusetts to California. States like Colorado are leading the way in renewable energy consumption. In 2004, a bill was passed that required 10 percent of the stateÂ’s energy to come from renewable sources, specifically solar. That goal has since doubled.
Bringing solar power to the DNC occurs as national legislative debate continues in the House of Representatives and the Senate over federal tax incentives for solar installations. The federal tax incentive program law was originally passed in 2005 and became effective in 2006, spurring growth of both commercial and residential solar energy systems. This incentive expires at the end of 2008.
Â“WeÂ’re thrilled to be involved with the Democratic Party on its biggest stage,Â” said Dr. Terry Bailey, Evergreen SolarÂ’s senior vice president of marketing and sales. Â“There is tremendous legislative support in both parties and both chambers for renewable energy, and weÂ’re hopeful that federal legislators see the benefits in extending the investment tax credit for renewable energy beyond 2008.Â”
Â“There is great importance in being part of the Democratic convention to showcase the practical use of solar energy to our nationÂ’s leaders and also for the Democratic Party to set an example for clean and responsible energy use,Â” said Rob Ashmore, president of AeonSolar.
Â“It is an honor for the team at PV Powered to be working side-by-side with leading U.S. manufacturers and installation partners from the solar power industry,Â” said Gregg Patterson, CEO of PV Powered. Â“Highlighting solar power at the Democratic National Convention will hopefully put the critically important federal tax incentive back into the public debate.Â”