Bring solar home
Solar power, a long promoted antidote to the looming perfect storm of energy, environmental and economic crises, has been getting a drubbing in the press recently. Since Solyndra shuttered its doors in early September, many critics have asked whether the government should be “picking winners” through programs like low-interest loans to manufacturers of solar panels like Solyndra, and whether solar energy will (ever) be a source of green jobs. Whether they are manufactured by companies in the US, Europe or China, solar panels will be a part of America’s future energy diet. That is because the technology is a cost-effective and renewable energy source, capable of delivering direct savings to every household.
If every home in the US had a medium sized solar photovoltaic (solar pv) system on its roof Americans could save over $140 billion annually in electricity costs. And for each home powered by solar energy, the annual reduction in carbon emissions would be equal to taking 1.5 cars off the road per home. Bringing solar to millions of homes would mean a jobs boost too, especially to the companies distributing and installing solar equipment.
These panels are a viable and convenient option for homeowners around the country because they are capable of generating enough electricity to cover a home’s entire electricity needs. They are also dependable; through a program called Net Metering, available in most states, a home’s pv system hooks into the electricity grid and the owner gets a credit on his/her utility bill for the amount of electricity the system generates.
So the real question is how we can make solar power a reality for millions of Americans. Community purchasing of solar, an innovative approach that mobilizes whole neighborhoods to go solar and cuts homeowner’s costs in the process, could bring the needed spark.