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Purchase a Skystream 3.7, get up to $4,000 in tax incentives

Southwest Windpower, a leading manufacturer of small scale wind turbines such as the SkyStream 3.7 grid tie wind power system played a huge role in the passage of the new legislation which offers a federal tax credit for qualified small scale wind turbines. The landmark legislation was part of the economic bailout bill passed in early October 2008 and is a major leap for small wind industry because this is the first federal incentive for small wind power systems since 1985. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for small scale wind will be available for wind generators installed through 2016 and will give the small scale wind power system owner up to $4,000 federal tax credit. Andy Kruse, founder of Southwest Windpower fought tirelessly in congress to make sure Small Scale Wind Power Systems were included in the extension of the renewable energy ITC. The result of the legislation’s success will provide thousands of new jobs and harbor an environment which would generate a 40% annual growth rate of the small scale wind industry. To you, the person who is considering a small scale wind turbine like the Skystream 3.7 the new tax credit reduces the total upfront cost of installing a small scale wind power system, making the technology more affordable for people in the USA. What do you think about this legislation? Will it entice you to produce your own clean...

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Basics of Renewable Energy Certificates

The solar or wind power system you install on your home or business generates two things. The obvious is electricity although it also produces something most consumers don’t know of, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) also know as “green tags.” For example, since the solar panels you install generate electricity that does not hurt the environment or human health, that benefit is an asset which are usually purchased by consumers because they want to be more “green” or by utilities as a result of regulatory requirements. One REC represents one megawatt-hour of renewable electricity. If your state does not offer rebates, you maybe still be able to earn income from your solar power system by selling the RECs your system generates. In 2007, a 2.5 kW solar electric system could earn about $140 per year in REC sales. Currently, REC pricing is unpredictable, although the value for RECs are expected to rise in the future, as legislation is passed to set a national cap on carbon emissions. In 2008, in the utility market RECs sold in a range of $20-$30. Check the map below to see if you live in a state that has a REC trading program in place. Want to learn more about green tags? Click on this...

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Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extended!

Woo Hoo! The Solar and Small Scale Wind Power tax credit has been extended for 8 years today! This is a major relief for the renewable energy industry because many people were worried that congress would not pass the tax credit and the industry would go into a downward spiral after December 31st, 2008. The house of representatives extended the renewable energy tax credits packaged together with the highly controversial bailout bill. The renewable energy provisions included: Extends for 8 years the tax credit for both residential and commercial installations. Eliminates the $2,000 cap for residential solar power installations, thus allowing home owners to realize a full 30% tax credit! Allows families who have hit the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) can still claim the renewable energy tax credit. Although a great day for America’s energy independence movement, the extension of the renewable energy tax credit will lead to millions of new “green” jobs over the next 8 years. I’m happy to hear that the tax credit was finally approved, its been kicked around in congress for over a year without any luck, it took this country a financial meltdown for it to pass because the senate on Tuesday stuck the renewable energy tax credit in the economic bailout bill. This is a double edge sword, its great to see green energy industry getting a boost, but at the expense of also bailing out wall street for the mistakes they have made, which is privatizing profits and socializing losses. Please...

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Suprise drops solar panel permitting fees

Across America, before you can install solar panels to heat your water or generate clean electricity most likely you will have to file a building permit with your city. The city of Surprise in the greater Phoenix took a bold move to encourage more homes and businesses to seize control of their own energy future. The city council voted unanimously on Thursday night t0 drop all fees related to procuring permits for residents who are installing solar panels to produce electricity or heat water. Typically the city charged 5 for a building permit to build your own power plant. “The mayor and council gave clear direction that solar is a key element in our sustainability commitment. This ordinance is a useful tool in encouraging more people to adopt solar by helping to lower the up front costs.,” said Community Development Director Jeff Mihelich. This is a great sign of the general acceptance of solar energy as a priority on the local level of government. I think more people are realizing that energy is becoming a limited resource and people understand the USA has occupied Iraq for energy reasons. The cities are doing their part to reduce the upfront costs of going solar. Even though the permits are just a small percentage of the total cost of a system every little counts when you remove the barriers to generate green energy. We hope every city across America removes this annoying barrier onto top of the already confusing process of going solar. It seems like renewable energy is going mainstream through local grassroots movement towards clean energy...

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Buying a Small Wind Electric System

Are you thinking about purchasing a small wind power system? Small wind energy systems are the fastest growing form of distributed power generation systems. Many people considering to power their homes or businesses are not familiar with a wind power system don’t even know the right questions to ask to make an educated decision. The California Energy Commission (CEC) has a free consumer’s guide called Buying A Small Wind Electric System which focuses on grid tie wind electric systems to ease the decision making process for many consumers shopping for wind turbines. I think the most important part of the guide is the zoning, tower height and permitting issues which is covered in the guide, many consumers get stuck in the permitting process I have encountered while helping people install their wind power systems. Another important tip the guide mentions is you have to talk to any neighbor 500 feet away from your property who maybe able to see your wind turbine to mitigate the risk of issues with neighbors after the wind power system has been...

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Disinformation: Solar panels ‘take 100 years to pay back installation costs’

I was reading an interesting article today in The Independent, a United Kingdom publication. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), “Solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs.” Rics published a new guide on energy efficiency, and stated that solar hot water or solar electric systems are unlikely to save a householder any money and solar energy is a poor investment overall for your pocketbook and the environment. In the case of Solar Hot Water to heat your household water, Rics estimated that the payback period on money saved on electricity and gas would have a payback period of more than 100 years and up to 208 years in their worst case. Rics estimated that Solar Electric Systems would break even in 50 to 100 years! Being a renewable energy professional, I’ve done and seen many of my co-workers do financial calculations and study put out by Rics is total disinformation! I have never seen payback periods that high with electric rates and gas prices shooting through the roof, actually the payback period on solar energy and wind power systems are breaking even much quicker rather then long as Rics claims. The study conducted by Rics is such a hit job for big energy, it’s not even funny how inaccurate their statements are, by spreading this type of propaganda it’s scaring potential consumers away from renewable energy. Rics did not factor any of the rebates and tax credits, they used old data for electric and gas rates and modeled the financial returns based on old solar energy technology, basically they ran the numbers in their favor for the study. So the real question is why are they afaird to publish a real story about the effectiveness of solar energy? What do they have to...

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