Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of this bipartisan H.R. 3585, the Solar Technology Roadmap.
I want to thank Chairman Gordon and Congresswoman Giffords for their tireless work in shepherding this legislation to the floor.
In the 111th Congress, the House of Representatives has taken many important steps towards weaning our country off foreign oil and toward reducing the dangerous carbon emissions that create global warming. This bill would authorize $2 billion to new research partnerships and demonstration projects for solar energy technologies.
Yet, Mr. Chairman, while the United States has some of the best solar resources of any industrialized nation in the world and while America is currently a leader in solar technology development, other countries like Spain, Germany and China are devoting much more effort and attention to this field, putting the U.S. and its competitiveness within this industry in jeopardy. This is an important part of our country's clean energy future, and this legislation, which will spur the development of this renewable and efficient technology, is an important step in the right direction.
In my home State of New Jersey, our Governor has embarked on an ambitious and forward-looking energy strategy, and solar development is a top priority. It may surprise many of my colleagues to know that New Jersey is second only to California in the number of solar installations and capacity, and it is first in terms of the amount of solar installed per square mile.
Using innovative financing strategies, combined with a strong renewable portfolio standard, New Jersey recently reached the milestone of 100 megawatts of solar capacity generated from more than 4,300 solar projects Statewide. Considering that 7 years ago our State only had six installations, this achievement is especially impressive.
Great Falls of Paterson, New Jersey, my hometown, was once the source of power that helped build this Nation into an industrial power. Today, new solar panels are being installed at the Great Falls hydroelectric plant to make that building more energy efficient. New Jersey and its Governor have shown their commitment to solar energy development and reducing greenhouse gas admissions.