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President Obama, Sen. Reid, First Solar CEO Jim Hughes at Clean Energy Summit

Posted 27 August 2015 4:38 AM by First Solar

This past Monday, First Solar CEO Jim Hughes helped kick off the first panel discussion at the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0: Powering Progress The Clean Energy Summit was keynoted by President Barack Obama and was held in Las Vegas, Nevada and began with opening remarks by summit host and solar proponent, Senator Harry Reid.

Jim Hughes

“The U.S. uses 20 times as much solar power today as we did in 2008,” said Obama about the year he was first elected president. He also talked about his Clean Power Plan and how renewable energy is creating an increasing amount of clean energy and jobs for Americans. Obama’s full remarks begin at 29:30 of the Closing Session video .

The summit brought together clean energy advocates, business leaders, public officials and bipartisan decision makers to explore solutions for the advancement of the clean energy economy through innovation, investment and strengthened collaboration.

In his remarks, Hughes thanked Reid for his role as a tireless champion of renewable energy in congress. Like Obama, Hughes also talked about the growth of solar since 2008, the year of the first National Clean Energy Summit. He noted that the largest solar PV project in the country at that time was a 14MW plant at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. He credited the growth of solar in Nevada and elsewhere for producing “tremendous economies of scale, helping to drive down the cost of solar, making it an affordable and competitive source of energy.”

“Earlier this year, we commissioned two 500MW projects in California and have two 250MW projects under construction here in Nevada,” said Hughes. “In 2008, the price of utility-scale solar PV was at $150 per megawatt-hour. This year, NV Energy submitted a First Solar contract to the Public Utilities Commission for a levelized price in the $40s.” Hughes’ full remarks begin at 17:28 of the Opening Session video.

The panel Hughes introduced, titled “ Energy in the American Life ,” included Bill Ritter, former Governor of Colorado; Nancy Pfund, DBL Investors; Geisha Williams, Pacific Gas & Electric Company; and Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles; with Neera Tanden, Center for American Progress as the panel moderator.