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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 25, 1998
                            June 25, 1998

One year after President Clinton launched the Million Solar Roofs Initiative -- with a goal of placing solar energy systems on 1 million U.S. roofs by 2010 -- a new private-sector partnership will provide homeowners with low-cost loans to help meet that goal. The Administration is calling on Congress to help encourage other voluntary efforts to meet the challenge of global warming by approving the President's proposed tax and research incentives for energy efficiency, solar energy and other clean energy sources.

Million Solar Roofs. In June 1997, President Clinton set a goal of placing solar energy systems on 1 million roofs across the country by 2010. Just a year later, the Department of Energy already has received commitments for over half a million solar roofs. Today, spurred by the President's initiative, the General Motors Acceptance Corporation and the Solar Energy Industries Association are announcing a new partnership to provide long-term, low-cost financing for solar energy systems. This breakthrough removes a significant barrier to the installation of solar energy systems in new and existing homes. Meeting the goal of 1 million solar roofs will help:

Reduce carbon emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 850,000 cars;
Create approximately 70,000 high-tech jobs; and Increase domestic production of solar technologies, helping reduce production prices and keeping the U.S. solar energy industry competitive in the $1.5 billion solar global market.

Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change. Global climate change is one of our greatest environmental challenges. The world's leading scientists tell us the problem is real and the threats it poses -- such as increasingly frequent and severe storms and droughts, potential increases in respiratory and infectious diseases and rising sea levels -- are too serious to ignore.

In October 1997, President Clinton outlined an environmentally and economically sound plan for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. One element of the President's plan is a vigorous program of tax cuts and research and development aimed at improving energy efficiency and spurring the use of renewable energy sources, including solar. The package amounts to $6.3 billion over 5 years -- $3.6 billion in tax cuts and $2.7 billion in new investment.

The tax incentive package includes a 15% tax credit (with a $2,000 limit) for rooftop solar equipment and tax credits for consumers who purchase highly efficient vehicles, new homes or energy-efficient building equipment for homes and offices. In addition, the package includes a credit for investments in combined heat and power systems and extends a current tax credit for the production of electricity from wind and biomass.

The investment package includes research and development spending in the major carbon-emitting sectors of the economy -- buildings, transportation, and industry. Among projects to be expanded is the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a government-industry effort to develop highly-efficient cars, and the Partnership for Advancing Technologies in Housing. Substantial funds will also be invested in research partnerships for key renewable energy technologies.