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"Free electricity" from the Sun claim is exaggerated.

I’ve been seeing many news articles and blogs that claim once you buy solar panels you are getting “free electricity”, well it’s true the Sun emits free energy down to Earth everyday, but the equipment needed to harvest the “free energy” into electricity to power our lives or provide hot water for our homes requires a financial investment. In reality, until you break even on the solar power system you invested in what you have done in reality is pre-paid your energy expenses and hedged yourself from raising energy expenses. Solar Panels are very reliable because there are no moving parts, the systems can last over 30 years. So after you break even on your solar power investment then you can truly say that the sun is supplying you with free electricity. States that offer incentives and rebates combined with the increased federal tax credit next year for solar power systems, most systems will break even faster moving forward in 2009. Solar Power will become a more sought after investment. How do you feel about people making claims about solar panels giving you “free electricity”? Please...

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Surging demand for Nevada’s RenewableGenerations rebate program

The citizen’s of Nevada have spoken in support of NV Energy’s RenewableGenerations rebate programwhich gives homeowners, businesses, public buildings and schools a generous rebate for installing solar panels, wind power systems. Agriculture customers can also qualify for a hydroelectric rebate. Below is a quick overview of the rebates available for each technology. SolarGenerations Rebate Program: Residential: $2.30 per watt $11,500 maximum rebate Small Business: $2.30 per watt $69,000 maximum rebate Schools: $4.60 per Watt Public Buildings: $4.60 per watt WindGenerations Rebate Program: Residential, small business, agriculture: $2.50 per watt up to 10 kW $1.50 watt above 10 kW Schools and Public Buildings: $3.00/watt up to 10 kW $2.00/watt above 10 kW HydroGenerations Rebate Program: All agricultural, grid-connected customers: $2.50 per watt 962 citizens of Nevada filed an application for the rebate program, majority of the applicants are installing residential grid tie solar power systems. Cumulatively, Nevada is developing 9.3MW of solar, wind and hydroelectric projects, thanks to the rebate program. Regions of the USA in which states force the utilities to give rebates to their customers to install renewable energy power generation systems is where solar and wind power systems thrive. Currently, NV Energy’s SolarGenerations and HydroGenenrations program has closed, although they will start to take additional applications soon. The WindGenerations program is still open for applications. To date, NV Energy has paid its customers 7 million dollars Not located in Nevada? Don’t worry, there might be a rebate program in your neck of the woods, be sure to check out the DSIRE website to learn more about state and federal rebates to install solar panels and wind...

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LED – High efficiency light Bulbs save you money

Many people dream of eliminating their entire electric bill by using solar panels or putting up a wind turbine, although that dream is out of their reach because of the high upfront related with an energy hog’s electric consumption. When you are energy inefficient, eliminating your energy can be associated with a very high upfront cost. Although you have the power to reduce your consumption by looking into energy efficiency there are product out there such as EarthLED high efficiency light bulbs that can reduce your consumption significantly and save you lots of money on electricity costs. LED light bulbs are very reliable, many people don’t know that the average lifetime of a LED bulb is over 10 years! Imagine just the cost savings of not having to replace a bulb for the next 10 years. LED consume only a couple watts of electricity, therefore only cost a couple dollars in electricity costs to run the entire year and their are just as bright at traditional light bulbs. The case study above shows a building that replaced 1100 light bulbs with EarthLEDs, not only did the building actually lower the temperature in the building by a couple degrees, but the amazing aspect is that they are saving 450kWh a day! Based on the cost of electricity of 10 cents per kWh and comparing it to the total cost of 1,100 EarthLEDs the building would break even within 5 years on their investment. The calculation did not include the cost of changing light bulbs or factor in energy inflation and rebates received for high efficiency light bulbs, with those variables factored in we’re looking at a break even point lower than 5 years. Why not CFLs? Well, CFLs have a lower upfront cost, although they also include mercury with is a pollutant that is bad for the environment and CFL light bulbs are not as efficient as LEDs, plus you have to replace CFL light bulbs more often. Taking those points into consideration, the LED light bulb does make more environmental and economic sense. Lighting is typically 10% of the electrical demand of a building, by using LED lights to lower your consumption first in the future you would need to buy less solar panels or wind turbines to eliminate your electricity bill. It’s always more affordable to reduce energy consumption then produce your own. Solar Panels and LED lights make a very cost effective partnership. So what do you think about LED bulbs? looking forward to your...

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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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