Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A solar panel array at the Putney School in Vermont. (Photo: putneypics/flickr/cc)

On Eve of KXL Vote, GOP Senate Rejects Sanders' National Solar Expansion Plan

'If you're interested in reversing the dangers of climate change and creating jobs, I would urge you to support this amendment,' said Sanders

Deirdre Fulton

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would have spurred the purchase and installation of 10 million solar panel systems for homes and businesses nationwide over the next decade.

Sanders's amendment, which he said would have generated enough power to replace one-fifth of the nation’s coal-fired power plants, was attached to the Keystone XL legislation currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

With the backing of Vermont's largest power company, Green Mountain Power, the amendment called for a 15 percent rebate for the purchase of photovoltaic systems. The amendment got 40 votes. It needed 60 to pass. 

"The scientific community tells us very clearly if we're going to reverse climate change and the great dangers it poses for the planet we must move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy," Sanders said in a press release. "So if you're interested in reversing the dangers of climate change and creating jobs, I would urge you to support this amendment."

More amendments were expected to be debated on Thursday, followed by the final Senate vote on the bill to approve the pipeline. The U.S. House already passed its own Keystone XL legislation. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it gets to his desk. 

On Thursday, the SUN DAY Campaign—a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels—noted that renewable energy sources, namely solar and wind power, cumulatively provided more new electric generating capacity in 2014 than did natural gas.

And according to, the U.S. is on pace to complete its one millionth installation in 2015. This follows a 36 percent increase in solar PV installations in 2014.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Sanders Blasts 'Rigged Economy' as Chipmakers Cut Investments After Big Handout

"Intel announced it will be cutting back on plans to increase jobs by $4 billion while increasing dividends for its wealthy shareholders," the Vermont senator wrote on Twitter.

Jake Johnson ·

Argentine Unions Lead Mass Demonstrations for Higher Wages, Lower Prices

"We can't continue with this level of inflation where every day we keep losing parts of our salary," said one labor leader.

Kenny Stancil ·

Outrage as Israeli Forces Raid, Shutter Offices of Top Palestinian Rights Groups

"Israel continues to persecute Palestinian human rights and civil society groups with the clear aim of silencing any criticism against it."

Jake Johnson ·

Economists Fear Fed Minutes Show Central Bank Bent on 'Unleashing Mass Unemployment'

Continued interest rate hikes "risk a recession throwing millions out of work," a pair of experts warned.

Jake Johnson ·

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo