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.”
Posts Tagged ‘solar economic incentives’
New Jersey has been a leader in solar, but because of tough economic times, the Governor has thrown solar under the bus. The New Jersey governor has diverted some $400 million in clean energy programs to balance the state’s budget. This financing of course puts the solar installer at risk if there are delays in receiving the rebates. What happens when the rebates are in jeopardy? Two words spring to mind: panic and chaos—which is exactly what is happening in New Jersey today. New Jersey has temporarily suspended the solar rebate program and has announced that it will not take any further applications until September. If you are a small installer paying your labor and equipment with the expectation that you will receive the rebates in a timely manner, this announcement must have produced uncertainty at best and panic at worst. This move seems to be pound wise and penny foolish as no doubt the solar installers will have to lay off some of their workers and wait until the rebates become available in September—just as the economy is beginning to recover.
The solar industry applauded when the 30% federal tax credit was extended to 2016 and the legislation lifted the cap. The reason of course is that for all intents and purposes, the solar industry is just emerging and needs substantial support, and the stability in the incentives provides this support. But now one important part of this program, known as the treasury grant program, has been placed in jeopardy. Four senators released a letter in which they urged the Obama Administration to suspend this program until the legislation could be amended to allow only for clean energy projects “that preserve and create jobs in the United States.” You can read the full text of the letter here. The abrupt fits and starts of incentive programs, and not just this federal program, only serve to stall the march to solar.
The march to solar energy is on – and the United States has a lot to do to catch up with some other countries that are leading the way. Although there are those would like to think that the desire to reduce one’s carbon footprint is sufficient to convince Americans to go solar, the experience in other countries shows that only cold hard cash, and not the sun’s rays, will convince consumers to leave their fossil fuel lives behind. This opinion piece discusses various government incentive programs available to consumers in the United States who are contemplating placing solar panels on their roofs.