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Celebrate clean energy on SolarDay 2011

Saturday's events aim to raise awareness of the benefits of solar power

On Saturday, millions of people in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will join the solar power movement to push for energy reform and raise awareness of solar power’s benefits. SolarDay 2010 was the largest solar awareness program in U.S. history, and 2011 promises to be even bigger.

America is falling behind in the clean energy race: China invests an estimated $12 billion per month in clean tech, while clean energy initiatives in America are under attack in New York and elsewhere. Yet the global market for efficient and renewable energy technologies will likely reach $2 trillion by 2020.

America had only 6 percent of the solar world market in 2008 despite engineering the first solar cells. The Recovery Act of 2009 appropriated $7 billion for clean energy reform, but this is only the beginning. It’s time to start pursuing innovative energy alternatives with oil prices high and climate change making extreme weather events increasingly common.

Solar power could help jump-start America’s movement toward a clean energy economy, a stable climate, and secure energy sources. Clean energy industries such as solar can provide jobs and attract investors to power the American economy. Steadily falling prices mean that solar power could be cheaper than fossil fuels in five years. Solar photovoltaics are easy to install, energy efficient, and could even positively affect our national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Given solar power’s potential, SolarDay 2011 has been able to get big names on board for this Saturday. Sponsors include the UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, the American Sustainable Business Council, and the Earth Institute of Columbia University. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has pledged her support for SolarDay, as has Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif.

Check out the SolarDay.com for details about events, information about solar power and sustainable energy, and how to plan your SolarDay 2011. Keep in mind, though, that the list of events included in the website is incomplete. Anyone can hold a SolarDay 2011 event, so check local listings, organizations, and city and state governments to see if there is an event in your area.

Event highlights include the 14th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy &Energy Efficiency EXPO and forum in Washington, D.C., as well as a solar power fair in New Orleans featuring various environmental nonprofits and solar contractors.

And if you can’t find any events in your area take a look at Solar Day’s media partners to keep informed about solar power and America’s clean energy future.

This article was published by the Center for American Progress.

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