Sen. Cornyn, U.S. Under Secretary Of Energy Albright Host Solar Energy Roundtable With City Of Austin, Local Solar Businesses

Formally recognize Austin as one of the nation’s 25 Solar America Cities

AUSTIN—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, invited U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Clarence “Bud” Albright Jr. to visit Austin today to formally recognize the city as one of the nation’s 25 Solar America Cities. Austin was designated as such by the Department of Energy (DOE) because of the city’s efforts to accelerate the adoption of solar energy technologies for a cleaner, more secure energy future. Sen. Cornyn and Under Secretary Albright joined Austin Mayor Will Wynn and Austin Energy General Manager Roger Duncan in hosting a roundtable discussion with local solar energy businesses on federal and local efforts to promote solar energy.

“With the price of oil continuing to soar and strain the budgets of hard-working Americans, we need to give serious consideration to every feasible form of alternative energy to help make America more energy-independent. As our nation approaches a new juncture in the way we power our cars, homes and businesses, Austin is setting an impressive example for the rest of the state and nation on how to make the most of one of America’s most promising and plentiful resources—solar energy.

“At today’s energy roundtable, we had the opportunity to hear from Mayor Wynn and representatives from Austin Energy, along with several local solar energy businesses, on their efforts to boost the viability and availability of solar energy in Central Texas. I commend their hard work to expand renewable energy sources and make Austin one of the nation’s leading producers of solar energy.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Under Secretary Albright to do our part on the federal level to promote policies that expand our nation’s alternative energy markets, and drive new technology to help bring down energy prices for every Texas family and business.”

Sen. Cornyn is an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008, which among other initiatives, would extend incentives to encourage renewable energy including tax credits for wind power, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower. The bill includes a 30 percent business credit for the purchase of fuel cell power plants and solar energy property, and extends the credit for residential solar property and a one-year credit for energy efficiency improvements to existing homes.

"The City of Austin is a leader in harnessing solar energy. I am happy to be here today with Senator Cornyn and Mayor Wynn," U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Clarence "Bud" Albright Jr. said. "Today's energy reality requires us to diversify our energy supply and expand our domestic sources - solar energy is playing an increasingly important role in helping to meet our energy challenges."

Background on Solar America Cities:

Solar America Cities are chosen for their commitment to developing a sustainable solar infrastructure that encourages the adoption of solar energy by their residents and businesses. Austin and the other 24 Solar America Cities are taking a comprehensive, city-wide approach that lays the foundation for a viable solar market and provides a model for other cities to follow.

In addition to funding, DOE provides hands-on assistance from technical experts to help Solar America Cities integrate solar technologies into city facilities and energy planning.