Yesterday I mentioned the upcoming SHINE (Solar High-Impact National Energy) initiative. It’s been released, and it’s a doozy. I was planning to write a big long post about it, and then I remembered: That’s why God invented hyperlinks. So go, immediately, and read Joel Makower’s quick roundup of the initiative, its details and its effects. Then go read the summary on Clean Edge. Then, if you’re ambitious, read the report itself (PDF). This is a big deal — Joel, along with Clean Edge and the Solar Catalyst Group, have been working on it for over a year.

Here are the three prongs of the initiative:

  • Solar Utilization National Underwriting Plan (SUNUP): a federal block-grant program, providing matching funds to states to implement innovative and cost-effective solar installation programs;
  • U.S. Rooftop Initiative for Solar Energy (U.S. RISE): an aggressive, long-term federal commitment to purchase solar systems for government facilities and operations; and
  • American Solar Advancement Prize (ASAP): a high-stakes, high-reward competition to develop and deploy new technologies and systems that could dramatically accelerate the reduction in solar’s costs within a decade.

The next time someone tells you solar "isn’t ready," send them this document. The SHINE plan would require 5 cents out of every tax dollar already invested in nuclear, coal, and natural gas. The investment would pay itself back in saved energy costs in 10 years, so it would be revenue neutral. By 2025, it would push the cost of solar PV down to 80 cents per installed watt, cost-competitive with coal and natural gas — oh yeah, and completely clean.

Seriously, go read about it. It’s a nice little picture of what positive government action would look like. Remember positive government action?