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City aims to make solar power more affordable for residents

The city of Tucson in Arizona is trying to finance the upfront costs of solar power through long term interest loans paid back through property taxes. Similar to a successful program in Berkley, CA in which the city made residential solar power possible for its citizens. Unfortunately Arizona Law does not allow for these type of loans to be paid through property taxes and is causing a headache for the city council to push through. Councilman Steve Leal, stated he’s not giving up on Tucson’s version of a plan pioneered in Berkeley, Calif. Purchasing solar power is requires a large investment upfront for most people to eliminate their bill, even when half the cost is covered by rebates and tax credits. When the city steps in and helps the citizens it not only stimulates the local economy but helps the city become energy independent. Its great to see all the grassroots, local government supporting solar even though the federal government isn’t supporting solar power as much as they...

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Boston reducing trash pickups without the mess

I was walking through Boston today and I noticed special trash cans all over the city called the “big belly trash can”. The trash compactor powered by a solar panel holds 5 times as much trash as your typical trash can because it uses the power of the sun to compact the trash, thus reducing the amount of trips the trash trucks have to make to collect trash. This innovative and simple application of solar power has already saved the city of Boston significant amount of money on gas and has reduced green house gas emissions caused by multiple trash pickups. The big belly trash can is a great example of the savings even a small solar panel can deliver if applied with some thought. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said, “The solar trash receptacles have to go citywide. It will give us a more productive work force because you don’t have to pick them up every day.” the downside to most solar powered technology is the price, the big belly retails starting at $5,000 per unit depending on the model and the volume purchased. Although with gas prices hitting all time highs, the break even point of owning a Big Belly Trash is...

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What do women’s bras and solar panels have in common?

Leave it up to the the Japanese to introduce revolutionary products…not only is Japan a leading country in the number of solar panels installed on homes and businesses within its borders. A Japanese company taking Solar Panels to the next level, Lingerie maker Triumph International Japan Ltd. Introduced in Tokyo today a product thats going to sweep across the globe like wildfire…..its called the “Solar Power Bra” What a genius idea! Now a bra can serve more than its boring traditional purpose, this bra is ultra cool because it can charge your iPhone while your wearing it out in the sun. The bra which is “earth and human friendly” cannot be washed due to the sensitive electronics, and is also equipped with pads designed to hold beverages so that the usage of cans and plastic bottles can be reduced, the company said. The problem is, how often do you see girls wearing just a bra walking down the street? From a practical standpoint this product is pretty much useless, although its The real purpose is to bring more attention to the magic of solar energy and what it can for our energy and environmental problems the world is facing...

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Presidential hopeful McCain flip flops on Solar Power

When Senator McCain visited California in February 2008 for the California republican primaries he pretended to support solar energy by receiving his endorsement from Arnold Schwarzenegger at a solar power manufacturing company in Los Angeles. What a prefect place to fool Californians, since we’re so pro-solar down here. Well the California republican primaries are finished and Senator McCain is changing his tune! Today, McCain made it very clear that he does not support subsidies for solar power, although he did promote incentives for nuclear power (sounds a little like Bush to me). At an event hosted by REI, a major player in the outdoor and clothing industry, the CEO of the company explained to McCain what REI is doing to minimize their impact to climate change. McCain asked a straightforward question to the executives, “What do you want me to do?” The CEO of REI went on to explain that the company plans to install solar panels on their retail shops in Arizona, California and Oregon although there are no federal incentives to help with the costs. McCain’s response was shocking, he stated that he is skeptical of subsidies in general, although does support them for nuclear power and the oil & gas industry. He noted that the over-subsidization of the Solar Industry in the 1970s led to “some pretty shoddy material.” McCain said, “When government jumps in and distorts the market, then there’s unintended consequences as well as intended.” Then tell me why we give BILLIONS of dollars to big oil every year in subsidies? Is it because they are funding the McCain campaign? I seriously don’t understand this guy, hes from Arizona for Pete’s sake! There is an abundance of free energy falling from the sky everyday, and this guy is promoting nuclear power? Which is dangerous and could be used as a weapon in a terrorist attack! McCain needs to understand we need to follow the footsteps of the countries who have already established great energy polices and use renewable energy as a large part of their portfolio. Distributed energy is the future no matter if McCain is president or not, the people want solar power and solar power they shall...

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eBay goes solar!

Just like every major corporation that knows the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy, such as solar power is expiring the end of this year is rushing to get solar power installed on their business to take advantage of the generous federal tax credit coupled with the state rebates, really makes it a no brainier for corporations based in California. Google, another dot com company showed off their large solar power system last year and now it seems like EBay is now jumping onto the Bandwagon. SolarCity installed the 650 kilowatt solar power plant on Ebay’s north campus in San Jose, California. Ebay’s solar power installation is the largest commercial installation in San Jose. The solar power system will save EBay around 0,000 in electricity costs for just in the first year of operation. According to Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive officer, “While many companies talk about environmental responsibility, eBay is ‘walking the walk’ with a multi-faceted commitment to clean power and green building, Our managed solar installation will allow eBay and its employees to measure their collective, positive impact on the environment.” Sure, Mr. Rive…..eBay went solar to exclusively save the environment, it had NOTHING to do with the fact of the high return on investment and all the money the corporation will get back from the federal government and the state of California. I’m so positive when you went into your sales call with eBay executives that all you mentioned was how much the system would do for the environment, give me a break. Mr. Rive of SolarCity sold this solar power system to eBay purely on its financial return. I’m being EXTRA critical because when ever I see a press release about a large corporate solar power installation, I always see quotes from the executive management that the corporation did it for the environment and they never mention how good of an investment it is for their type of entity. The bottom line is that they are “greenwashing” the real reason why eBay purchased the solar power system. All consumer research in the solar power space has proved that consumers buy solar power only if it makes sense financially. Very few people or organizations just do it for the...

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Grid Alternatives donates solar power

There is a great group out there called Grid Alternatives based out of Northern California that raises money for a solar power installation for a low income residents of California. The group established an office out in Los Angeles area a few months ago and I have been informed that they have secured an installation for a low income family in El Monte, California….the installation will not make it easier for one family to lower their operating overhead, but the donated solar power system will give others the opportunity to get their hands dirty on a solar power installation. The great part of this service is that it trains and get the public excited about solar and hopefully some of the volunteer installers who get a chance to be part of the project end up relieving the industry with the lack of workforce problem. Grid Alternatives kills two birds with one stone by exposing solar and developing a qualified workforce for the industry. For more information:...

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