Solar Towns All Over America

OK, the residential solar market did not exactly explode in 2009 as many had hoped in 2008 when the price of oil was approaching $150 a barrel. The world economic crisis, lack of financing, cheap oil, constrained governmental budgets all contributed to a less than lackluster year as measured by the expectations that were set in a rosier time a year earlier. Nevertheless, there are some bright spots and probably the brightest of them all is that as prices for solar panels have come down, and the landscape for economic incentives has stabilized, the solar industry has hit mainstream and more importantly, Main Street.

Cities and towns all over America are examining their carbon footprint and coming up with ideas of how to promote renewable energy in general and solar energy in particular. Solar energy is no longer the domain of some raving lunatics way off the grid. A major impediment has been financing of these solar energy systems, but creative solutions are being developed.

I like the idea of solar rooftops because it shows an individual commitment to renewable energy.  It is well and good for consumers to leave it to the utilities to utilize solar energy, but that is for all of us homeowners a bit of a copout. Yes, I admit that I am one of those without a solar panel or solar collector on my roof. We have a great southern exposure on our roof that is perfectly shaded by two 70-year old maple and hickory trees. I am convinced that I should not be deterred. There are some exciting new solar technologies that may work produce even in low light conditions.

There are those who are deterred by the aesthetics of solar photovoltaic panels on their roof. I think that the Solar Decathlon showed some dynamic designs for solar homes that would convince even the staunchest opponent.

We are now coming into the holiday season, and so of course many of you are not apt to plunk down $20,000 for some solar panels.  We understand, but wanted you to know that when you are thinking to buy a green gift for your family or friends, there are some terrific solar gifts that will brighten the holidays.  We have come up with a list of some of our favorite solar gifts to fit every budget. Take a look at them in our learning article entitled Solar Gift Ideas: Gifts that Keep on Giving. You will find some of our solar gift suggestions for charging your cell phone or laptop, or if you want to start with a solar garden, why not buy some of our solar lights. And some folks love the solar oven, which you can take camping or on a picnic. There are ways to start on your solar journey besides placing a solar array on your roof. This holiday season is a good time to start.

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