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Solar Boston Program Press Event

April 9, 2008 - 10:50am


Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Secretary Bodman

Thank you, Mayor Menino.  And thank you for the leadership you've provided to expand the availability and use of renewable energy - and solar, in particular - throughout this city.

It's a thrill to be here at Fenway Park [- especially after such a terrific home opener yesterday].  I've been a Red Sox fan for about four decades now and I want to thank Tom Werner and the Red Sox organization for hosting this event and for the big step toward clean, sustainable energy use that you're making today.

On a personal level, I couldn't be more pleased to be back in Boston.  Though I was born in Chicago, I lived here for nearly 40 years.  I came for graduate school at MIT and then decided to stay for a few decades before I had the blazing insight to move to Washington!

I raised my family in this state.  I built my career here.  And my wife Diane and I still get back as often as we can.

And so, as Energy Secretary, I'm especially proud that my hometown is helping our nation to address two of the most pressing challenges we face: improving our energy security and combating global climate change.

Your work at the city and state level is complementing our federal efforts. Through the President's Advanced Energy Initiative, we've put in place a series of policies to help break our dependence on fossil fuels, increase our energy efficiency, and harness the tremendous power of renewable energy.

And solar is a key component of our national strategy.  Our goal is to make solar photovoltaic-based electricity cost-competitive nationwide by 2015 - and sooner in some states.

At the Energy Department, we're pursuing a two-pronged approach to reducing the cost of solar power.

First, we're funding aggressive and innovative R&D programs - many in partnership with industry, including Massachusetts-based companies like Konarka, GreenRay and Solasta, as well as university partners like MIT.

At the same time, we're working to integrate new technologies into the marketplace - and into the grid - efficiently and quickly.  One way we're doing that is through the Solar America Cities program.

Last June I announced the selection of the inaugural 13 Solar America Cities - including Boston.  Since that time, Boston has emerged as a powerful leader.

Last month, I announced the selection of the final 12 new Solar America Cities and they will certainly benefit from the impressive path forged by cities like Boston.

This city's approach to solar deployment and integration is both thorough and straightforward.  I was pleased to learn - though not surprised - that Boston was the first major U.S. city to implement green-building requirements for commercial buildings.

And I understand that you've also completed city-wide mapping of potential sites for solar installations and are planning a major bulk procurement of solar energy for municipal buildings.

I congratulate all of the Solar Boston partners on your progress so far, and I look forward to the results of the initiatives you're announcing today.  Boston's comprehensive strategy is an excellent example of the type of municipal planning that can lead to significant private sector investment.

The goal of the Solar America Cities program is for cities to truly integrate solar energy into their planning processes and into the daily life of the people who live and work here.

I think it's fair to say that nothing typifies "life in Boston" more than Fenway Park.  So, the installation of a solar hot water system here is a great way to demonstrate the benefits of solar power.  And I hope that Boston's residents follow Fenway's example and consider these systems for their own homes and businesses.

In fact, installing a solar water heating system on a home is one of the most cost-effective ways to personally combat global climate change.  Water heating can account for 15 to 20 percent of a typical New England home's energy use, and a solar water heating system can cut that in half.

The State of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, your utilities and organizations like the Red Sox are helping our nation to harness the power of solar energy and to demonstrate that when we join together we can hasten the day when clean, sustainable, renewable energy powers our lives.

And with that, it's my pleasure to make this official by presenting the Mayor with Boston's "Solar America City" sign . . .

Thank you.

Location: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

Media contact(s): Andy Beck, (202) 586-4940