The news around Washington D.C. has not been altogether bright. The Nationals didn’t make the playoffs this year. The federal government is closed. The museums are closed. Imposing concrete barriers block you from parking in any lots managed by the National Park Service. A woman suffering from postpartum depression leads the police on a chase from the White House to the Capitol Building, where she is killed in her car. Despite all of the bad news and gridlock elsewhere in the city, the solar home tour celebrated its 23rd year in the metropolitan Washington DC area this past weekend. And if you missed it, you missed one of the bright spots in Washington, D.C. Homeowners with solar panels and solar water heating systems graciously opened their homes to visitors just to show off their solar prowess. Some of the homeowners even fed us (and our kids, thank you very much!). Human psychology plays a role in the financing of these systems. When there were more incentives, there was more of a frenzy to buy solar panels. Now that many of the incentives are no longer around, the frenzy has quieted down, but the cost of the solar systems without the incentives is now much less than it was before because of the falling cost of the modules. As one homeowner told us, he originally bought his panels ten years ago at $7.00/watt. Now a better module can cost around a dollar a watt. But what is missing is that hook that you better get on the bandwagon today. There is one major incentive that will almost certainly disappear, and that is the federal income tax credit, which ends in 2016, but you still should have time to put in your solar water heater or solar energy system before the credit expires. With the craziness in Washington, D.C., you probably should think about getting your system up and running before the solar tour next year.
Posts Tagged ‘solar water heaters’
SolarTown is increasingly tapped to support our governmental agencies, both at the federal and local level. We welcome the opportunity to respond to the needs of government agencies, educational institutions and others as they become increasingly interested in solar energy. Government customers are increasingly looking to SolarTown for their solar energy product needs. SolarTown received its first contract from the General Services Administration (GSA) over a year ago. We are now getting more calls and look forward to serving the government. We are very pleased to report that last month, SolarTown received its second GSA contract, a Federal Supply Contract for building supplies. This new contract will allow us to offer even a larger breadth of solar energy products to the government.
If you have relied on SolarTown’s Community Center for access to important information about the solar energy industry, then you will love the new look that we now have at our Solar Community. We have added to our section on solar videos. And as before, if you are looking for videos on one particular product category such as those videos on solar water heaters, then you can sort to find just the solar videos on solar water heaters. If you have videos that you would like to share with us, we’ll review them and post those that we think will be of some interest to the SolarTown community. And that is just the beginning of our grand tour of our new solar community.
The Solar Decathlon is an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, in which students from around the world design, build and operate solar-powered and energy-efficient houses. The team with the house that best incorporates elements such as design excellence, affordability, customer appeal and maximum energy efficiency, wins the competition. The event is meant to educate both the public and the students involved in the project of energy and energy efficiency. The first day of the Solar Decathlon was rainy, which did not deter the visitors as they waited in line to visit each house and discover what made it so special. Fortunately, the rain did not dampen the spirits of the crowds and was no deterrent to this solar event.
We all mourn the loss of life in Haiti. The numbers are staggering. Possibly as many as 200,000 people died in the earthquake. And for the roughly 2 million who remain homeless, the challenges are just beginning. Rebuilding will take many years—and that is just to restore Haiti to the impoverished mess that it was before the earthquake. As assistance pours in, many opportunities arise to help people with basic needs by going solar. For those living without electricity in Haiti and elsewhere, solar can be a lifeline. Look at the broad range of solar products available on the market today and you will find what will be a lifeline not only to the earthquake victims in Haiti, but also to vast populations in the developing world.
Providing an unparalleled combination of easy-to-use online navigation with a wide-ranging list of solar products and educational articles, SolarTown.com makes it easy for consumers to find what they need to make an informed solar decision—and they’re celebrating the official opening of their Washington, DC office. SolarTown.com, which is now live and accepting online orders, is a fast-growing Internet resource for anyone wishing to produce their own renewable solar energy.
We just received from one of our manufacturers information that the draft solar tax rebate has forgotten solar hot air heating. As we get more information, we will post it, but in the meantime, you may want to write to your representatives to let them know about this oversight. Here is a draft letter circulating: “We are contracting you in reference to solar air heating and requesting that the federal solar tax rebate be expanded to include SRCC certified solar hot air heating to the federal listing of eligible tax incentives. Our new President has stated that he wants to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy yet one of the most cost-effective and efficient solar systems that can achieve his goal has been overlooked.”