At GetSolar, while each of our individual interests diverge, we share a common belief that solar energy makes sense. That is, we believe solar PV is a viable means of producing electricity for individual homeowners, as well as for companies and other collective interests. We believe that solar can be a good investment and can make sense even when most large-value projects are being put on hold.
In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick has been a proponent of renewable energies from the beginning of his term, and a new press release from the governor's office shows he's still committed. What he proposes is moving towards building codes that mandate the use of at least some solar power for buildings greater than 50,000 square feet (big box stores and malls, not that there's been much construction of either, lately). Patrick is also pushing a voluntary building code that municipalities could vote in for stricter energy conservation guidelines; this code should be available to municipalities in the state sometime next year. These measures are amorphous right now: the high efficiency building code is completely optional and the press release doesn't offer any details about how solar for big construction projects will be incentivized more than it is already.
The news out of Washington is that the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has changed its leadership, from Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA).
In recent weeks, a number of state governments have announced plans to cut back the per-watt rebate offered to residents who purchase a solar energy system. In October, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) announced a downward revision ranging between $1.00 and $1.80 per watt, depending on system size. Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest investor-owned utility and biggest provider of solar energy rebates, recently reduced the amount paid to solar owners in exchange for solar on-site renewable energy credits (SO-RECs). The level was cut by a dollar, from $2.50 to $1.50 per watt. The rebate, which stands apart from the SO-REC payment, will remain at $2.00 per watt, meaning that Colorado homeowners can expect to receive about $3.50 per watt of installed DC solar power. Not bad at all, but a far cry from the $4.50 ($2.00/watt rebate + $2.50/watt SO-REC payment) that was available up 'til now. (Details are outlined in a recent letter (PDF) from Robin Kittel, Director of Regulatory Administration at Xcel.)
Recently, two states have taken greater steps towards energy independence by taking stronger action than has been federally mandated. Most states already have programs in place, and some states offer quite strong incentives for residential and commercial entities to adopt renewable energy technologies (Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona...). It's good to see these two, previously among the more laggardly states, joining rank.
How well does my state government support renewable energy?
At 11:00pm, EST, November 4, Barack Obama was officially declared the presumptive 44th President of the United States of America. Congratulations, Senator Obama! There's no way of knowing what the four years of his term will bring to the nation, or the world, or really even to the solar industry: but during his campaign, the Senator made some bold statements about his intended support for renewable energy, and "a planet in peril" was referenced during his acceptance speech last night. So let's take a look at the history of solar legislation in this country so we can understand more fully what Obama's promises really mean.
This is just a friendly reminder from the team at GetSolar.com that today is Tuesday, November 4, Election Day. Get out there and vote! If you're not sure where your polling station is, check out Google's nifty new service to figure out where it is, and how to get there.
In order to make an educated purchase of a solar electric system, you need to understand all the elements. People often come to us thinking that net metering is the primary incentive for going solar. While that's not true, net metering is a big piece of the picture. Learn more about the truth behind net metering by reading the full article on GetSolar.com.