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2009 marks increased discount for solar energy

image credit “SMA Solar Technology AG” Well, its 2009 and everyone is worried about the economy as we conclude last year. Although today, marks a highly anticipated day for customers considering to lower their energy bills in 2009. Late last year the congress extended and increased the federal tax credit for people who install solar panels to generate electricity or provide heat. Starting January 1st, 2009 homeowners in the USA can tax a full 30% tax credit off the final installed cost of a solar energy system. For people with a taxable income, the return on investment for solar energy systems subsidized through a 30% tax credit is going to make solar a very attractive investment. What do you think? Will the increased residential tax credit for the next 8 years encourage more people to use solar energy technologies on their...

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first Solar Feed-In Tariff in America?

image credit: SMA Solar Technology AG Gainesville, Florida is on the map because they’re doing something very revolutionary in terms of motivating it’s citizens to install solar panels. If the city can pull off their plans, it would be the first city in America that would offer a feed-in tariff for grid connected solar electric systems. The city approved a feed-in tariff of 32 cents per kWh (kilowatt hour) that would have to paid by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU). A feed-in tariff is different from a rebate because it allows solar electric system owners to earn a profit for the clean electricity generated versus just offset their electric bill. According to terms, GRU would sign a 20-year contract with home and businesses owners to buy the clean electricity generated. Feed-in tariffs is the primary reason solar power reached wide market acceptance in Germany, Japan and Spain. At a rate of 32 cents per kilowatt hour, the feed-i n tariff could provide a system owner a 3 – 5% rate of return, do you think that is enough? GRU currently gives a rebate to also to help bring down the upfront cost of going solar. The downside is that the ratepayers of GRU will see an increase in their electric bill of 42 cents per bill to fund the solar incentive program. Do you think that its fair to GRU’s ratepayers who have no intentions of going solar to face the rate increase? If this plan passes obviously the solar power market in Gainesville is going to see rapid deployment of solar electric systems. I think this is great and every utility across America should allow anyone that contributes to the electric grid to earn a profit, don’t you agree? The program is supposed to launch in March 2009, do you think the city will be able to execute on the plan and successfully offer the first feed-in tariff in...

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10 year solar installation warranty

We’ve talked about how solar panels that produce clean electricity are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty of 25 to 30 years. If you are deciding to retrofit your roof with a solar panels with the help of a solar installer, you should ask them to explain the terms of their 10 year installation warranty. Solar panel mounting systems are bolted into the structure of the roof which requires roof penetrations, depending on the quality of the solar installation the process of penetrating the roof can cause the integrity of the roof to be compromised. If your solar installer did a bad job, you could end up having a leaky roof, would that be horrible? Here in California, when a solar system is installed by a solar contractor, the installation itself has to be covered by a 10 year warranty. If anything goes wrong with your system, the contractor would be liable for 10 years to fix the problem without any cost to you. So if you are going to hire a solar contractor to install your solar electric system, make sure you review the terms of their 10 year installation warranty. Do you think a 10 year installation warranty is...

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top 5 tips to size a solar power system that fits your budget.

My day consists of helping many people size their solar power system to fit their budgets. If your considering a solar power system for your home or small business, I would consider the following 7 tips to help you size you solar power system: 1. Figure out what is the maximum you are willing to spend on a complete solar power system. Are you going to install yourself or hire a professional? The answer to this question will have an impact on your budget. 2. How much space do you have to install solar panels? If your in the northern hemisphere of the world, which includes the USA. Then the best location to point your panels is south. In the southern hemisphere of the world you would point your panels north to maximize on the peak sun. 3. How much of your electric bill do you want to offset using solar panels? Remember solar power systems are expandable so you can add more capacity in the future. 4. Investigate tax credits, rebates from utility companies, government incentives, and other incentives that you qualify for. call your utility company and ask if they have a solar power rebate program. If your in the USA, ask your tax consultant about the federal tax credit for renewable energy systems. 5. Popular ways to finance a solar power system include for your home are home equity loans, loans from your 401k, lines of credit, and unsecured credit. For small businesses, equipment leases and power purchasing agreements are popular. what do you think is the most difficult aspect of getting started with solar? Is it difficult to figure out how many solar panels you...

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There’s no free lunch, or is there?

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in conjunction with the Pima County Public Library in Marana, Arizona, a city near Tucson is offering a FREE workshop called “Solar Power 101” a community education series on Solar Energy. The workshop will discuss the potential for solar energy in the state of Arizona….Congresswoman Giffords, a member of the House Science and Technology Committee will kick off the workshop by speaking about extended and increased federal solar tax credits moving forward in 2009 and Arizona’s potential as a national leader in solar energy. The solar workshop will help people learn how they can work with their utilities to obtain rebates for installing a solar electric systems. Plans will be presented about new Green Building programs and they’ll cover topics such as financing and installing residential solar electric systems. If you’re in the area and are interested in learning about the basics of solar power, click on this link for more info and RSVP for the solar workshop. I think more cities and local governments should put together free educational workshops for its residents, because through my experience a lot of customers want to go solar, but there are so many questions and hurdles the process can be overwhelming, don’t you agree? Solar Energy workshops will increase adoption rate solar power technology but why aren’t more local governments around the nation offering free solar...

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lower gas prices does not mean cheaper electric rates

“The solar business must be slow since gas prices have plummeted.” many are asking me these days. Many people don’t realize the price of gas and your electric rates are not related. When was the last time your electric rates when down? In fact, electric rates hikes have been announced in the Southern California Edison territory. There are a lot of costs involved for your electric utilities to generate and deliver electricity to you, plus most electric utilities do not use oil for electricity generation. Prices of airplane tickets and groceries have not decreased even though gas prices much cheaper, have they? With solar technology evolving rapidly and raising electric rates announced, an investment in a solar electric system is getting better not...

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