The death of the energy bill has left a lot of people pointing fingers at each other, and a lot of people wondering if we cannot now take action on climate change, then when—and by whom? A Washington Post article today identifies some very unhappy House Democrats who went out on limb last year to support the energy bill and combat climate change. They now understandably feel hung out to dry. I think that the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman best summarizes the events of the last few days: “Greed, aided by cowardice has triumphed.”
Archive for July, 2010
Ever since we created the SolarTown community, our customers have complained that the financial burden of going solar was simply too great for them to embark on the journey. Starting today, we are offering our customers some relief: a solar loan program with one year of no payments and no interest. If you are a DIYer, you now have this solar loan program as an option so that you have time to receive your economic incentives and you don’t have to go out and get a home loan or put the entire purchase on your credit card. If you are an installer who has in the past had to advance the cost of the equipment for your customers, you can now have your customer place an order for a solar energy system with SolarTown. You will of course still do the installation—but without having to come out of pocket for the solar energy equipment.
SolarTown met with Mr. Paul Brandus, a White House correspondent with a huge interest in green issues. Brandus is a strong advocate of renewable energy, relating a story on how he personally asked President Obama when solar panels would be installed on the White House, on three separate occasions. Although no solar modules have yet to grace the President’s residence, Brandus expressed his desire to see the 132 rooms of the White House heated by the rays of the sun and the power of the wind, calling the act a great symbolic value to the nation. Incorporating solar and other forms of alternative energy into the lives of Americans is still a major challenge. Interest in environmental-related topics is only illustrated when major catastrophes such as the BP oil spill occurs. After the disaster dies down, the interest responds accordingly. Brandus believes that it will take awhile for solar and renewable energy to fully assimilate into everyone’s lives.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are a creative and effective approach to financing solar energy systems. Many were looking for a solar financing solution and after a very limited experiment in Berkeley, PACE expanded like wild fire to 23 states. PACE may not be for everyone and there are other choices available, but we hope that legal clouds hanging over PACE are resolved. Legislation has been introduced in the House to save PACE. We hope that his efforts succeed. It is a program that can help a lot of people go solar.
Financing of solar energy systems has been a major concern to us at SolarTown since we launched this store and community. The average cost of a typical solar installation is north of $30,000. This amount is substantially reduced with the federal tax credit and some state or local rebates thrown in. But you have to wait months, sometimes many months, to take advantage of the incentives. There are currently alternatives available, but none very appealing. SolarTown has been working on a solution to financing of solar energy systems and we hope to be able to announce the program shortly.