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New Jersey Congressmen Push Federal Solar Energy Bill

A new bill modeled in part on successful solar energy programs in New Jersey and California was introduced in Congress last week with support from both of the Garden State’s Senators and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires.

The bill – which has the somewhat clunky title of the 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010 – would authorize rebates which, along with other incentives, would cover up to half the cost of the 10 million solar power roof systems and 200,000 water heating systems (which would provide, as the bill title says, 10 million gallons of water heated by solar). Like in New Jersey, nonprofit groups and state and local governments would also be eligible for the incentives.

Sires, who represents much of Jersey City in the 13th Congressional District, estimates that the bill could create 1.35 million direct and indirect jobs over the next decade.

“New Jersey has taken a leadership role in solar energy technology – we are second in the nation in producing solar energy and have the second highest number of solar installations,” Sires says in a statement. “As America faces challenges such as unemployment and rising energy costs, this legislation will create jobs, reduce electricity bills, and decrease harmful environmental pollutants.”

Sens. Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg are both co-sponsors of the Senate bill, which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last week.