You Can Help Make Solar Energy Accessible

Solar energy is likely the largest, single answer to this nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. With enough solar energy, U.S. citizens can ignore the threat of Peak Oil, the more visible threat of oil embargoes from Mideast countries, the rising cost of fossil fuels and the air pollution that is making large cities virtually uninhabitable.

Getting to that goal isn’t easy. There are a lot of solar incentives out there, from utility companies sponsoring solar installation to local, state and federal governments offering funding or tax rebates to homeowners installing a photo-voltaic (PV) system. Unfortunately, these incentives are all over the board, vary from state to state and even region to region depending on the utility, are rarely publicly advertised to make homeowners aware of their existence, and change from one year to the next depending on the whims of Congress.

Most homeowners, when presented with the 10,000 hoops required to get some kind of incentive package, shrug their shoulders and walk away. Life is complicated enough. If president-elect Barack Obama truly wants to meet his eco-friendly energy goals – five million “green collar” jobs, negative oil imports in by 2018, and 10 percent of energy coming from renewable sources like solar – he will first need to translate this mishmash of incentives into a cohesive, comprehensive and comprehensible national policy.

What if, for example, instead of searching DSIRE’s (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) map for your state, then searching the more than 100 entries for a program that matches your qualifications and expectations, you could simply rely on the fact that state, regional and utility incentives all offered a specific program?

Better yet, what if an agency of the federal government, like the U.S. Department of Energy, took over all incentives and offered a flat rebate not subject to change every time Congress was in session? Can you imagine the numbers of individuals who – currently stymied by a maze of regulations and stipulations – would flock to install solar energy panels? I can, and it would give the solar energy industry a boost not seen since Henry Ford first introduced an affordable automobile.

You can make this happen by writing your representative and demanding a uniform, timeless, renewable energy incentive program. Better yet, join a social networking site and start your own petition, or contact renewable energy advocate sites (the American Solar Energy Society is a good start) and ask them to start a petition asking Obama and his transition team to develop such a program.

The future of solar energy is you, and tomorrow is already here.

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