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bring low cost solar power to the poor

Nicole Kuepper is on the path to solving the biggest barrier to going solar, cost. One of the primary reasons why solar cells require such a large upfront investment to get started is because of the intensive manufacturing process. The 23 year old scientist has found out a way to use simple household items to manufacturer solar cells on the fly using nail polish and an ink jet printer. Nicole’s technology uses the same theory of an ink jet printer to print solar cells that are not made from silicon onto a substrate which then can generate electricity. Currently the technology is in it’s infancy stages, although its great to see this type of development and innovative thinking in the solar power industry because its very much needed help solar power reach grid parity. What do you think about Nicole’s process of developing solar cells? In what other ways can the cost of solar panels be reduced for end...

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the scoop on energy efficiency mortgages

A new wave of energy efficiency mortgages are being introduced today by the FHA which allow you to borrow 5% more to upgrade a home you buy with energy efficiency products such as solar panels, LED bulbs, weatherization and other energy efficiency appliances. According to the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under pressure from the federal government to develop new mortgages which include more flexible underwriting guidelines to reward energy conscious borrowers and builders. Energy friendly loans would increase incomes of applicants by dollar for every dollar of projected energy savings from green energy upgrades and efficient design. For the program to work correctly, State governments need to provide professional training to licensed appraisers so they can value highly efficient buildings correctly. What do you think about the federal support for energy efficiency...

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U.S. Treasury Department releases info on tax grant

Traditionally when you install a solar electric system the federal government gives you a 30% tax credit, although the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 turned the 30% tax credit into a grant. A tax grant works similar to refundable credit in which the federal government will send you a check up to 30% of the final cost of a system if placed in service by 2010. If you have a new construction project that starts in 2009 or 2010 then you have till 2016 to have your solar panels placed in service. The type of properties that qualify for the 30% cash payment from the treasury is still undetermined, although we know for sure individuals do not qualify for the tax grant but only a tax credit, only business entities qualify to apply for the 30% cash payment for installing solar panels. The Treasury department released a guidance document to help you learn about the program before applications are...

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solar power as an investment

Edward Simburger, an electrical engineer and owner of a grid tie solar electric system on his home published a research paper called, “Residential Photovoltaics; An Investment Vehicle for Retiree’s II” which answers the question if solar power should be part of everyone’s investment portfolio. In his paper, Edward compares an investment in a solar electric system to financial indexes and concludes that in investment in photovoltaics provides a better return since it’s low risk and has built in inflation protection. Edward collected the data for the solar electric system from the system installed on his own home in California. As electric rates continue to increase the rate of return on a solar electric system also increases. With rebates, tax credits and other incentives given by local, state and federal governments, today solar power is a much safer investment than the stock market, wouldn’t you...

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progress energy increasing solar rebates

Progress Energy, a utility company based out of Raleigh, North Carolina which serves over 3 million customers in the the Carolinas and Florida is aggressively encouraging it’s customers to install solar panels through a solar rebate program. The program would offer .50 to a watt per watt installed for residential customers. For commercial customers Progress Energy promises to pay a premium per kWh (kilowatt-hour) contributed to the grid. Payments will be based on market prices although limited details have been disclosed by the company. With more utility companies offering rebates, federal tax credits at an all time high and the cost per watt for solar panels dropping like a rock, it creates the perfect storm for a great investment in a solar electric system this year. Would you...

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