Solar and Smart Grid: Powering a Clean Energy Future

Occasionally, I get the chance to see some of the work underway in communities across the country that will help to propel the United States toward a thriving clean-energy economy. Yesterday was one of those days in the clean tech hub of Silicon Valley, California, where I toured Nanosolar, Cisco Systems, and SunPower - companies on the forefront of solar and smart-grid technology.

Nancy Sutley Visits Nanosolar

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chair Nancy Sutley and Nanosolar co-founder Brian Sager on the manufacturing floor at Nanosolar (photograph courtesy of Rafi Litmanovitz). July 6, 2010.

At Nanosolar, a San Jose solar production facility, I witnessed a company addressing the need for cost-efficient solar power through thin film solar cells and utility-scale solar panels. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and I saw the production of the solar panels from the manufacturing floor.

Later, we made our way to Cisco Systems, also in San Jose, to discuss some of the smart-grid technology that is advancing America’s transition to a more intelligent, strong, secure power system. My final stop of the morning was at SunPower, a solar technology company. I sat down with a group of local renewable-energy business leaders for a roundtable discussion about the challenges and opportunities we encounter as we build a clean energy future.

Thanks to the investments made through the Recovery Act and other measures, we are building on innovative work and increasing opportunities in the clean energy sector throughout the Nation. We must continue to unleash the ingenuity of this country’s entrepreneurs, create permanent private-sector jobs, and keep America strong, safe and prosperous in the 21st century.

Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

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